Friday, March 13, 2009

Sports: Cultures Revealed

Forty thousand people scream all around you. Curses fly; tempers flair; any sort of item not tied down becomes a reasonable excuse for a projectile. For two hours it is perfectly acceptable to belittle someone based on personal preference, clothing colour, and individual expression. I'm told that in some European nations, physical violence is also understood and rationalize due to these things as well.

If you want to see a people at their – I stress to say best, but perhaps most-revealing – you need to see them watching sports. Cricket in India, hockey in Canada, football in Europe and South America, baseball in America. It is here, at these events, that tempers fly, grown men cry, and passion explodes.

For the last week Toronto has been host to the World Baseball Classic. For five days the Roger's Centre (or Skydome – as it will always be known to me) was home to four world class teams: Venezuela, Canada, Italy, and America. For five days the four teams battled each other in a double elimination tournament. For five days spectators came out to support their home teams, and cultures were revealed.

The game with the biggest draw was Canada vs. America, for obvious reasons. The stadium was packed, though still not filled, and it seemed that there was a lot of support for both teams. However, it was the second game – held only three hours later – that erupted into a cacophony of songs, percussion, and dance.

Italy vs. Venezuela was baseball like I'd never seen it before. Though there were only twelve thousand in attendance, you'd never have known from the acoustic resonance. Yes there was only a third of the crowd, but each person seemed to be on their feet, shimmying, and screaming, and twirling all assortment of sound makers. An impromptu dance party broke out down in the field level stands.

These were people possessed by sport. And though the game would reveal itself to draw on by the forth inning, the party continued. Never have I seen so many purple faces outside of a Queen's University Engineering Frosh Week.

People, who otherwise come across as rational and understanding can turn monsters over one play. Riots can break out over one ruling; over one game.

Whether you like sports or not, there is something to be appreciated in any stadium around the world. Be it professional or A level, the excitement and cultural diversity persists. There is always something to be gained, even if you weren't looking for it in the first place.

Some will never like sports, until they are experienced live. Then all the swelling, passion, anger, and joy can – like an unseen current – rapidly pull one far far away.

1 comment:

  1. Doing the wave at a baseball game in Cuba was one of the coolest things ever. They so love their baseball!



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