After the Covid hiatus, international sports are back, and I’m enjoying them even more after numerous cancellations this past year resulting from the global pandemic. I’m aware now, more than ever, how much I love being connected to the rest of the world through sports.
Along with millions worldwide, I watched Italy win the European soccer championship and Argentina win the South America soccer championship. In just a few days, more than 200 countries will be represented in Tokyo for the Summer Olympics as much of the world watches and cheers on.
Since sports inspire us all over the world and are passionately talked about, actively participated in, and enthusiastically watched, they provide a fun way to experience other cultures.
Here are 3 ways sports can bring people and cultures together:
- Participate in a sport or team in your city. Ask friends where you can join an early morning basketball game at the local school, a Saturday hiking or walking club, or a Sunday afternoon soccer league. Regularly playing sports in the local community can introduce you to new friends, develop community, and help you understand your neighborhood in a fresh way.
- Follow a local or national sports team. Large cities often have professional basketball, baseball, or soccer teams. Cheering for a local team in person or watching a game on television at a local café or restaurant is a great way to meet fans from your neighborhood and integrate into the life of your city or country. Buying a jersey of the national team (or your local team) and wearing it on game day is an easy and fun way to identify with a country and start a conversation.
- Learn a sport that may be new to you but is part of your country’s way of life. Cricket in India, rugby in New Zealand, or badminton in Indonesia are not just sports but transformative experiences in these countries! Learning the rules, terms, and basic strategies will help you connect with colleagues and friends.
Participating in sports is a fun and easy way to enjoy other cultures.
How will you connect with or experience other cultures through sports this summer?
About the Author: Scott is the IDEAS Director of Project Operations for Asia and IDEAS Crisis Response Team Leader. Enjoy other posts by Scott, such as How Love Thrives through Pandemic: Global Impact of IDEAS Projects.