As a follow-up to yesterday’s entry about kids abroad, I thought I should say a few things about foreign sports. First, as an element of local culture, sporting events shouldn’t be missed. Whether it’s dragon boat racing, or goat grabs, or camel races, these are the events that show the local populace as it really is. In Latin America, don’t miss hearing “G-o-o-o-o-o-o-l” live in the stadium. If there’s a bullfight happening locally, see it, regardless of your stance on cruelty to animals. But as I hinted yesterday, don’t expect folks back home to care enough to listen or to look at pictures for more than a minute. You do it for YOU.
Now, as for becoming a diehard fan of local teams, that’s up to you. It’s something that’s hard to give up. I call it comparable to ceasing to root for the Cowboys and going nuts for the Redskins. If you become a fan of a Japanese Big League baseball team, or a European Cup soccer team, be prepared to suffer info withdrawal when you return home. The Internet has made it possible to follow the teams of any sport anywhere on a daily basis, but the American news says NOTHING about world sports unless the stars are scandalous or married to international babes, or both.
Conversely, if you’re a big sports fan when you leave your homeland for overseas, good luck trying to watch or listen to the contests live. I once joined a rabid bunch of fans for a truly great Super Bowl, at 4 a.m., but we all paid for it the next day at work. Have you done anything crazy because you were far from the team you loved?
Favorite foreign sports motto: This one comes from the fans of the New Zealand All-Black, the national rugby team. “I root for two teams only–the All-Black, and anybody playing Australia.”