I find ‘sport’ fascinating. Born and raised in Canada, I see fans who are very passionate about Ice Hockey on a regular basis. When I was traveling, I saw several examples of countries that take pride in a national sport. India was absolutely in love with Cricket (which I find astounding from a British cultural standpoint and how kids with nearly no possessions still find a way to get a cricket bat and a tennis ball.) In Ireland, it felt like everyone was talking about Hurling, and in New Zealand, images of the All-Blacks seemed to be everywhere. The Rugby World Cup started this past week in New Zealand and Canada beat Tonga to start pool play, I’m not sure they will win another match.
What I find most interesting about sports, specifically spectator sports, is how attached a fan base can connect to the team that represents their city or their country. These men (and occasionally women) are modern day gladiators who compete on our behalf. The greatest of these athletes may get showered with Fame and Wealth. There are many who are admired as heroes even though they don’t actually do anything that could be considered heroic (unless you count exceptional hand-eye coordination and thousands of hours of repetition to be worthy of teenagers treating these men as idols.)
That said, the video that ESPN put together for their ‘sports century’ is so fantastically well done that the music used to accompany the clips and the emotions on display in the video taps into what feels like some primal place and really connects me to a shared (primarily North American) experience.
Yes the video is over 10 years old, but the champions will always be remembered as champions (well, most of them anyway).