international sporting rivalries

9 International Sporting Rivalries to get Pulses Racing

The Chicago-based writer Sydney J. Harris once explained the difference between patriotism and nationalism as being the difference between being proud of what you country has done, and being proud of your country no matter what it does. As a mindset (and, indeed, as a world view), the latter description sounds a difficult person to be stuck chatting to at a party. In sport, though, all rules of polite society go out of the window, and virtually every fan of an international event – team or individual – can become a jingoistic nationalist while spectating.

And, aside from those silly flags people insist on attaching to their wing mirrors during football World Cups, why not? Many sporting events bring to the fore rivalries which diplomacy otherwise keeps under wraps, and (usually) harmlessly enough. Many of the great rivalries between sporting nations are indicative of historical, cultural or political differences, and while geographical proximity is usually the root of rivalries between domestic teams (English football is the home of local derbies, what with Arsenal and Spurs playing in nearby parts of north London, and Liverpool and Everton’s grounds virtually opposite one another), when global politics is added into the mix, international meetings can come down to more than simple petty one-upmanship: it becomes matter of national pride. Or embarrassment.

Strong rivalries add to the excitement of sports and, as a fan, there can be nothing more satisfying than gaining success over your most hated betes noires. Presented here nine of the fiercest and deepest-rooted international sporting rivalries. Read more

let it fly

Ladies Professional Golf Association Helps Players Learn New Languages

In 2008, the Ladies Professional Golf Association proposed penalties for players who were unable or unwilling to speak English on tour.  The proposal was not well-received, to put it mildly, and the resulting furor eventually led Commissioner Carolyn Bivens to resign.

The idea came about largely because players from South Korea were so reluctant to speak English. As it turns out, they were simply embarrassed and self-conscious about their English skills, especially after one of the South Korean women was called out in a Canadian newspaper for calling Sponge Bob Squarepants “Spongie Bob.”

Now, according to the New York Times, the LPGA has taken a different approach, offering players the option of gaining foreign language skills via a partnership with a company called Language Training Center. Company representatives accompany the players on tour and offer one-on-one coaching. Read more

The Language of Golf

Golf is a terrific sport and great way to meet interesting people. To help you get out there and start playing I’ve prepared a quick A to Z of some of the language you’ll hear on the course.

Action: Backspin on ball causing it to stop dead or spin backwards.

Albatross: 3 under par on one hole.

Approach shot: Hitting the ball to the green.

Birdie: 1 under par on one hole.

Bogey: 1 over par on one hole.

Divot:    The piece of turf that flies out when a shot is hit on the fairway.

Dogleg:  A hole where the fairway turns to the right of left.

Double Bogey: 2 over par on one hole. Read more