This life lesson relates to my previous blog #63 Attend a European Soccer Match.
This adventure, to watch Newcastle play, was eye-opening. Nothing serious happened with the fans during the game, but Craig and Jon’s stories about previous games had shocked me.
In Canada, hockey is everything, and we are a very passionate nation. If we don’t win the gold medal at the Olympics, the whole country goes into depression for the next month. Fighting is also commonplace in the sport, though it is confined to the ice surface. Players fight all the time in hockey, but it is incredibly rare for the passion among fans to cause them to fight. This is what sets hockey fans and European football fans apart in my opinion.
This led me to think about the passion among sports for different countries around the world. American football is so popular in the USA that they have a day of the week dedicated to it – Sunday. In some parts of the States, the only other thing that contends with football is Jesus.
The passion that the USA has for football is intense and they share that passion with the world. Whether you watch American football or not, you know about the Super Bowl. Also, the Super Bowl ring is one of the most recognisable rings in the world. Their passion for football has securely fixed it into popular culture.
Living in New Zealand, I learned the kiwis’ love for rugby. Rugby is to New Zealand what hockey is to Canada – pure passion and the drive to win. The All Blacks always field a strong team and are often favourites at the Rugby Championship. When the All Blacks are playing in the Rugby Championship, the whole nation is glued to the TV, no matter where they are playing or what time the game is played.
One of the sporting events that also taught me a valuable lesson was when I went to my first bullfight in Pamplona. The story to this bucket item will be featured in the following months, so stay tuned. As you will read in the story, I did not particularly enjoy this experience and it is not a sport that I can relate to, coming from North America.
However, the passion that these fans have for bullfighting rivals all others that I have come across in my travels. I sat next to a father and son, and it appeared that the father was teaching his son about how bullfighting is part of their culture. The father was excited to teach, and the son was excited to learn. The passion on their faces was obvious.
The fans were ruthless towards the matador. When he performed well, they hailed him like a king. And when he performed poorly, they let him know that he was the scum of the earth. The whole event was an emotional rollercoaster. The one thing that was obvious was the passion that the fans had for the event itself. Anything less than perfection from the matador was considered to be damaging to their cultural values.
I hope that my future travels allow me to continue to broaden my horizons and experience the passion among sports fans from different countries around the world.
What sport are you most passionate about? Let me know in the comments below.
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Dave has been on a mission, since 2010, to cross off the 100 items on his bucket list. The stories of his adventures are complimented by life lessons learned along the way and his travel tips are unique to his experiences.