Competitive Sports, the Big Stick Ideology, and Nationalism

The main reason I don’t like competitive sports, especially football (what is called “soccer” here), is because it seems to bring out the very worst in some “human beings” (I use these terms with some reluctance, however.)  I have just seen this expressed by someone in Facebook:

“E pluribus beat um.”  I express this sentiment with letters big enough for King George to read without his spectacles. (I borrowed that line from Thomas Jefferson.)  To my British friends and UK supporters (and you know who you are), take your soccer team and go home … we Americans are planning to beat you today/tonight”.

Notice he says “soccer team”, when the whole world knows that the World Cup going on now is about FOOTBALL!

This only aggravates the impression that many have of the US being power hungry.  Why do they call themselves “Americans”?  I am also American, born in Buenos Aires, Argentina.  To my knowledge, it is still part of America.  We do not call them Americans but “estadounidenses”, the correct term for those born in the United States!  If you think about this, actually, the country is too large, and every state has its own laws.  It should be divided into FIVE countries: East, Midwest, West, South, and Texas…

Besides, as one article states, “In nearly every country in the world the most popular sport with the greatest and most popular star athletes is football.  Every country, that is, except for these here United States.  For whatever reason it has never taken on the same fervor here that is so prevalent across the globe. I don’t know what the exact reason is for this”.

I can answer this question with a theory I read many years ago. It may sound strange, but it may be true.  In football there are very few goals, and quite often the final score is 0-0.  US people cannot accept such low scores.  US football and other sports played here have many more points for each goal. If anyone doubts this, let me tell you a true story. When I first came to this country, someone who didn’t know much about Argentina asked me may questions.  One was about our flag, so I described it.  I still remember his reaction: ”You have only three stripes in your flag”?  See?  In the US the best is mostly the biggest – maybe because of  “the big stick ideology”????

Let me take this one step further.  We all know about the World Series, right?  How can it be “WORLD” if it only involves the states in the US?  Was there ever another country involved in this?  No.  The logical conclusion is that “World” is equivalent to “US.”

Whatever, I hope I have expressed my thoughts clearly.  And I don’t want to start a discussion that would bring out the worst in people.  Nationalism is wrong when it is carried to extremes, such as the example that starts this blog.

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About martisima

After over 50 years of teaching literature to undergraduate and graduate students, I feel I have earned my retirement (it happened when I was 72, five years ago). I do miss the classroom, however, but not the meetings and all other requirements of the profession. I love teaching, and wish I could still do it. But now I read for pleasure, and watch films, and listen to all kinds of music (no TV, though). I love to travel, and hope I can resume doing it soon. I need to get over my health issues caused by thyroid surgery three years ago!
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5 Responses to Competitive Sports, the Big Stick Ideology, and Nationalism

  1. martisima says:

    And, as a friend just added, here they prefer quantity to quality (specifically referring to scores in games, but it can be applied to many other things).

  2. Interesting, and what a funny comment about the flag! You may be on to something here.

  3. martisima says:

    At the time I didn’t think it was funny. I just could not believe he was serious — but he was! Pitying me for being so poor… I am on to lots of things here. You know me.

  4. Sv2 says:

    The World Series was originally sponsored by a newspaper called “The World.” It could just as easily have been the Gazette Series.

    • martisima says:

      Thanks for this information, Susan! Good to know about it, and it now makes sense. However, the way it is used has the connotation of “world” in that sense, not referring to a newspaper. You know more about this, living in England, than I do!

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