Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The Question, Part II

The sports of former British colonies, however, get really interesting.  Let’s start with India.  I guess officially, their national sport is Field hockey.  Weird.  Anyway, they definitely don’t like soccer that much, so I would have to point out that another sport they are very famous for playing is Cricket.  The Brits invented it, and it must have been coming to popularity around the time that they were colonizing India.  The thing about Britain, though, is that while they are part of Europe, they are also kind of a separate part, and that means a kind of independent thinking.  They were the first to create their own church, and they are just geographically separate.  They prefer the pound to the Euro and so on.  Therefore, it is not surprising that many of their former colonies have taken a big shine to a sport other than soccer.
That goes for the USA and baseball slash football.  The main reason for the U.S. not taking on soccer as one of its favorite sports is that it took on baseball and football first.  About the time England was starting to go crazy for soccer, the U.S. was completely ignoring it because we were still bitter about the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812 (or the Second Revolutionary War, as some have called it).  The game of baseball was probably taken in part from sports like rounders, which made its way across the pond before such unfortunate encounters.  But the origins of baseball being so obscure, you can pretty much dub baseball a truly “American” sport.  And even in this country, especially after the Monroe Doctrine, American came to refer to all the Americas.  And though it didn’t catch on as quickly in the more southern Latin American countries (soccer being fully ingrained), countries like Venezuela, the Dominican Republic and Cuba have become baseball hotbeds (much more so than soccer).
Football was an interesting development because the rules we play by today are more or less derived from some Canadians who invented the sport.  There was a rugby-like sport that Americans played for a while, and though we would never admit it, football was probably derived at least in part from soccer.  The question of why football developed quickly in America and not soccer, we have to ask how they are different.  Is it our differing notions of space and how it is taken over?  Do Americans see space as something to be gained one play at a time, after each side has developed a strategy for how they are going to dominate?  Do Europeans see taking over space as something that is more ad-libbed, decided upon in the heat of the moment?  Or perhaps with the Puritanical beginnings of America, we preferred to have as many rules as possible, while in Europe, with all the political revolution that was going on at the time, preferred a game with very few rules, one more of the common man.  We may never really know.  It is no surprise, though, that a country which despises Britain as much as the Irish, has taken a liking to a group of sports which are definitely not soccer.

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