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Pastimes & Other Sports

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Nationalism and sport are often intertwined, as sports provide a venue for symbolic competition between nations; sports competition often reflects national conflict, and in fact has often been a tool of diplomacy. The involvement of political goals in sport is seen by some as contrary to the fundamental ethos of sport being carried on for its own sake, for the enjoyment of its participants, but this involvement has been true throughout the history of sport.

The Olympic Games are the premier stage for nationalist competition, and its history reflects the history of political conflict since its inception at the end of the 19th century. The 1936 Summer Olympics held in Berlin was an illustration, maybe best acknowledged in hindsight, where an ideology was developing which used the event to strengthen its spread through propaganda. The boycott by the United States and politically aligned nations of the 1980 Summer Olympics and the Soviet Union of the 1984 Summer Olympics were part of the Cold War conflict.

In the history of Ireland, Gaelic sports were clearly carried on with nationalistic overtones: for example, last century a person could have been banned from playing Gaelic football, hurley, or other sport, if the person was seen to have played Soccer, or other game which was seen to be of British origin.

In the context of soccer, flag-waving nationalism - even chauvinistic, anti-foreigner, flag-waving nationalism - is acceptable in Britain. Soccer is the man-on-the-street's game in Europe, and the politicians, academics, and high-end journalists who would normally shun exhibitionist patriotism support their national teams as a means of proving they are really men-in-the street themselves.

Be the Ringer

A few pointers to improve your game—whatever it is.
Hockey
Going top shelf looks cool, but if you want to score, keep that shot where most NHL goals go—right along the ice. Start with the puck on the heel of the stick, not the toe, and sweep it forward. Keep your follow-through low and the puck will follow.
Golf
Don’t golf the way you dance: Less is more. Rely on the big muscles in your legs and shoulders by keeping your wrists and hands firm, not flexible. Now shorten the back swing, Tiger. Take what feels like a three-quarter backswing; it’s more than enough.
Basketball
Pistol Pete Maravich’s father made him dribble a basketball out the window of a moving car with his left hand. The point: Players who can handle the ball with both hands force defenders to respect both sides. Start with the crossover dribble, right to left, then work your way up to a left-only dribble. Soon you’ll have the lay-up, Shaq.
Baseball
You swing your hardest and barely manage to pop out to second? Stop swinging with only your arms. Start with your knees bent, your butt down, and your bat cocked. Now step toward the ball, open your hips toward the pitcher, and then swing your arms around like you’re cracking a whip.

It seems a peculiarly British tendency to identify the events of 60 years ago with present-day Germany and, most particularly, with football. The Second World War is a serious affair in Germany, as it is associated with the Holocaust and defeat. It is not thought to be good behaviour to combine football and the war - it's not an issue you are supposed to make jokes about.

Britain hasn't done as well as the Germans and there's a kind of harking back to the 'glorious past' rather than looking at the present situation. Over the decades, the link between soccer and enmity with Germany has become part of the English sense of identity. And although England famously beat West Germany in 1966, a German team has all too often seemed to stand in England's way at major tournaments.

The soccer teams of Honduras and El Salvador engaged in a three-game elimination match as a preliminary to the World Cup, in the middle of rising tensions, in June 1969. There was unrest already during the first game, in Tegucigalpa, but the situation almost went out of control during the second match, on 27 June, in San Salvador -€" eventually causing uninformed observers to conclude that the following war was caused by resentments over soccer, and correspondingly calling it a "Soccer (or Football) War". An attempt by the Honduran government to disarm own population swiftly degenerated into hunt for Salvadorans in the border areas.

On 24 June, the Salvadoran government mobilized the military, and two days later declared the state of emergency. In reaction, on 27 June 1969, Honduras broke diplomatic relations with El Salvador. Like so many other conflicts in this part of the world, the 1969 War between Honduras and El Salvador produced foremost immense losses and damage on both sides. Up to 2.000 people -€" mainly Salvadoran and Honduran civilians -€" were killed or badly injured, and the economies of both countries suffered terribly, as the trade had been disrupted and the mutual border closed. Depending on sources, between 60,000 and 130,000 Salvadorans should have been forcibly expelled or had fled from Honduras, producing massive economic disruption in both countries.

A National Pastime is a sport or game that is consider to be a culturally intrinsic part of a country or nation. The term national pastime is mainly used in North American English. In British English the term national sport is used. Although there are normally no official parameters towards defining what is a National Pastime, there are some general things most sports or games that are National Pastimes have in common, including:

Role Models

Guy's we're supposed to hate-but don't.
Marv Albert:
Even in a pink teddy and singing "Cabaret," Marv's the best play-by-play man of all time.
Darryl Strawberry:
The Straw excelled between the white lines, outside the white lines and bent over the white lines, but there's never been a prettier swing.
John Daly:
His 12 steps start at the barstool and end at the urinal. "I like drinking. It's in my blood."
Charles Barkley:
His one regret after throwing a 5'2" weakling through a barroom window: "I regret we were on the first floor."- Alex Straus
  1. The rules and objectives of the sport or game are known in fairly great detail in the country or nation.
  2. The game or sport is widely played or watched in the country or nation.
  3. The game or sport has a long history of popularity or extreme current popularity in the country or nation.

In some countries, sport or game can become the official national pastime by mandate of the government, such as with Canada and lacrosse in 1859. In other countries, where the sport or game has such a long history, such as with baseball in the United States or sumo wrestling in Japan, the sport or game is often considered a de facto "official" national pastime.

In Canada, Lacrosse is the official summer sport and ice hockey is the official winter sport, but hockey is by far the sport most closely followed, and most closely linked to national pride. Designating lacrosse as an official sport is more of a nod to history than a reflection of the present-day situation: sports like baseball, Canadian football (but probably also American football), soccer, golf, tennis are all much more popular. Canada is also the world's dominant force in the sport of curling.

Winning isn't everything; it's the only thing is a well-known quote in sport, originating in the United States. The quote exemplifies a form of unfettered competitiveness that has permeated American sport and carried over into the general culture. Its assertion about the importance of winning has been touted as a basic tenet of the American sports creed and, at the same time, singled out as encapsulating what is wrong with competitive sport.

This credo has served as counterpoint to the well known sentiment by sports journalist Grantland Rice that, it's "not that you won or lost but how you played the game," and to the Modern Olympic creed expressed by its founder Pierre de Coubertin: "The most important thing ... is not winning but taking part (in the Games)."

The quote is most widely attributed to former Green Bay Packers (NFL) coach Vince Lombardi; however, he did not coin the phrase. Lombardi is on record using the quote as early as 1959 in his opening talk on the first day of the Packers' training camp. The quote captured the American public's attention during Lombardi's highly successful reign as coach of the Packers in the 1960s. Over time, the quote took on a life of its own. The words graced the walls of locker rooms, ignited pre-game pep talks, and echoed from the rafters of banquet halls.

In response to growing criticism surrounding the credo, Lombardi eventually came to regret the "winning is the only thing" statement and offered a repudiation, implying that what he meant to say was, "Winning is not everything - but making the effort to win is." Those sympathetic to Lombardi engaged in a revisionist effort to downplay his use of the original quote. However, contemporaneous sources including first-hand accounts by his players and various journalists have documented Lombardi's repeated use of the "winning is the only thing" version.

The quote most likely was coined by former Vanderbilt and UCLA football coach Henry "Red" Sanders, who is credited by his players with first employing the slogan in the 1930s while coaching prep school football in Georgia. The quote is directly attributed to Sanders by the late Fred Russell, long-time Nashville Banner sports columnist, as well as by Hollywood screenwriter Mel Shavelson (who appropriated the quote for the 1953 film Trouble Along the Way in which John Wayne plays a small-college football coach). The quote also appeared in a 1955 Sports Illustrated article on Sanders.

Sanders, who was known for droll "one-liners," probably meant the quote as a nonsensical witticism. However, it was transformed into the tag line for the strident Lombardian ethic which became part of the Culture war of the 1960s, and continues to influence a certain breed of athletic coach.



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