Sports-Cultural Comparison

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| | |Sports | |Cultural Comparison | | | |Lisa Bowling

Today, as Americans, we are surrounded by an increasing number of very different cultures, and along with that we are surrounded by numerous cultural differences. These differences between our culture and the cultures surrounding us deal with every aspect of life, from clothing to food to music, even our recreational activities, like sports. In our American culture we are flooded by mainstream sports such as basketball, football, and of course baseball, our “national pastime”. With the huge amount of coverage those main sports receive, Americans are sometimes unaware of what other cultures have to offer. Whether they are being played, watched, read about, or dreamed about, sports are everywhere, as are the cultural differences within them. A brief look at five different sports will reveal just a few of these differences, ranging from variations in rules to sports that are beginning to gain popularity to sports that are almost completely unknown in the United States, as well as show the effects that differences have on our own culture.

First we will introduce you to the sport of Korfball, which was founded in Holland by an Amsterdam teacher, Nico Broekhuijsen in 1903. Nico once attended a physical education workshop in Sweden. He observed a game called ringball with men and women playing together. He liked the coeducational part of the game, so he rewrote the game, refined the rules and changed the ring goal to a basket. This basket is called de korf, which is Dutch, thus the name of the game. He wanted to have all his students be involved in a game, regardless of their gender. It is one of the few sports that involve men and women on the team. As a demonstration sport, it was introduced to the 1920 Olympics in Antwerp, and then again in 1928 in Amsterdam. In 1933, the International Korfball Federation was founded in Belgium, but it wasn’t until 1985 that the sport was recognized by the International Olympic Committee and also the World Games. Every four years the International Korfball Federation now holds the Korfball World Championships. Out of all the teams competing for the chance to have the championship, only two teams get to compete. Korfball is gaining popularity by many countries like Canada, Australia, England, Germany, Belgium, and South Africa. The object of the game is to shoot the ball with two hands through a cylindrical shaped basket. It is similar to basketball, yet a little harder considering the basket is twelve feet high, attached to a single wooden post, and located in the middle of the attack zone. This differs from basketball, where the baskets are only ten feet high and are located on each end of the court. The court is about 44 yards by 99 yards that is marked by white tape. As stated before the baskets are approximately twelve feet high and are placed eleven yards from the end line. The ball itself resembles a soccer ball and is a tad bit smaller than a basketball (whether it is for men or women). Its circumference is 27 inches, unlike the basketball that is 30 inches for men and 29 inches for women. Since Korfball is a team sport, individual excellence is critical importance, but is only when it is passed through team work. The team consists of four men and four women. Typically the women would defend the women and the men would defend the men. Korfball players catch,...
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