08 September 2012

Identity Through Sports

Posted by Happy Homemaker UK

Displayed during the Summer Olympics

A local taxi driver recently mentioned
the county of Middlesex disappeared in 1965
when divided among counties Surrey, Hertfordshire, and Greater London

And then he said, 
I guess it would be like one of your American states
becoming part of another one

That idea blew my mind
Two US states combining as one?

Chalkboard Map for sale via Etsy

Each US state has its own laws and even driver's license tests,
their own flag, motto, and state flower
I love all the different state licence plates seen on the highways

In most schools, months are dedicated to study the history of their state

Even stronger still
each state has its own 'patriotism', if you will

Now I'm not a huge sports fan,
but really, sports is a huge community unifier
whether you rally behind 
the state's university or professional team

The most popular spectator sports in the US
are American football, basketball, and baseball

Customized print by Shawn St Peter

And in a way, America is on a bit of a sports island as
we rarely play other countries in these sports
for few share our enthusiasm

So we compete against each other within our American borders
and have friendly rivalries with other states

On the sports page,
this makes us look inwardly
not globally

In contrast, 
by sharing an interest in more globally popular sports
England's sports page has more of an international scope
increasing their worldwide connection

A UK reporter recently said they feel a kinship (and rivalry) with Australia
because they share enthusiasm for similar sports,
including rugby and cricket

Furthermore, most countries have a bond 
over the love of soccer/football and play against each other

English (or British) patriotism peeks its head
during the Olympics, FIFA World Cup,
Rugby World Cup, and The Ashes
to name a few

To my knowledge,
English counties don't have their own sport teams (except for cricket)
so they cheer their favorite football team (often not local)
and their national teams

As a result, you never hear a 'Rah, Rah Surrey!' as you would in the US
partly due to not having a county team to get behind

So could Oklahoma become a part of Texas one day?
(with their huge college football rivalry)

or better yet,
Texas become a part of Oklahoma?!
( now I'm being cheeky )

No, that just wouldn't fly :)

Women's Olympic Road Race

I must say
the Olympics is one of the few times most Americans 
watch athletes from other countries compete
And they love it!


louise said...

Last time I looked Middlesex is still there ;-) Years ago they merged Rutland into Leicestershire - outrageous! Thankfully the tiny, and very beautiful, county of Rutland was eventually reinstated.

Vintage Sheet Addict said...

Hi Laura, thanks for visiting my little blog! This post amused me! I've just read through some of your posts and I love your observations on our Britishways! Love your Norway holiday, it always looks so lovely, I would love to go one day! Also thanks for the advice! Ada :)

Sandra said...

I love that flowery bicycle shot!
I've never understood cricket or rugby, though I did like going to watch the lads play the latter when I was young and single! More for the lads than the sport! LOL!
Have a great weekend!

Happy Homemaker UK said...

Hi Louise, thank you for your comment. Hmmm, I'm not sure what you mean - I don't show it on my maps. Could you explain? Thx!

Happy Homemaker UK said...

Maybe it is now a borough and not a county?...

Happy Homemaker UK said...

Ha! I feel the same about lacrosse :)

My Garden Diaries said...

Love that bike! It feels like it should be rolling through the 1960's at Woodstock! Hopefully we will expand and become more global on the sports stage! It's just good to be connected to others in general...and what better way then through a friendly game of lacrosse! Speaking of which I am so excited that in my midwestern town sports such as lacrosse and cricket are gaining in speed in popularity in the local high schools! Cheers!

TexWisGirl said...

ha ha! you ARE stretching it with the texas blending into oklahoma. ha ha ha!

likeschocolate said...

I am not sure you can compare England and the states given the sizes; however, recently here in Georgia we have had new cities pop up and boundaries changed on counties. This has to do with taxes. Germany has many city teams which are big rivals, but still has a national team for the big games.

RachelM said...

this reminds me of my husband's college roommate... when they were in college, in seattle, he always thought that western washington and western oregon should merge into one state called "cascadia," and the eastern sides of the states should combine into their own state. i don't know if this is a theory held by more people than just him, but it was good fun to get him rolling on his "cascadia" kicks! :)
interesting post!

Pet said...

Aren't you feeling a bit home sick this time? :-)

Happy Homemaker UK said...

With the NFL American football starting tonight, we look forward to sounds of home & of autumn on the TV :) I have to say I no longer feel homesick as we've been gone so long and have no house to return to. Interesting comment though - you've made me reflect ;)

Happy Homemaker UK said...

No state has a bigger identity than Texas :) And I mean that in the nicest of ways :)

Jody and Stan said...

Beautiful blog. New Follower!


Gillian said...

I really enjoyed this post. My husband loves American Football, baseball and ice hockey (as well as cricket, football, cycling...) and I find myself drawn in sometimes too. American sports are inward looking, but when you have a country as huge and diverse as the US, with such strong state identities, maybe you don't need to look elsewhere!

Gillian x

Meg said...

Ooh I really enjoyed this post. So true! I never really dwelled on the idea of how different US states are...I'm a born and bred California girl, everywhere else is SO different! I'm looking forward to reading your posts as a follower :)


the cuby poet said...

This made me feel and think about Cornwall and realise that Cornwall is just so special, after all with sea on three sides and The river Tamar on the other it is nearly an island.

Cornwall's identity is secure.
flag - in my blog
saint - St. Piran
motto - One and all in Cornish Onen hag oll
anthem - Trelawny, Song of the Western men
sport- rugby union
county rugby team - Cornish Pirates
its own language
I could go on and on and on and on but at the danger of getting boring I will stop now.

Great post.

Happy Homemaker UK said...

You are right - I do think Cornwall is the exception to the rule. Every time I visit, it holds such a special energy about it. I've been twice, but didn't get to see everything on my list - I hope we return again soon. Thanks for your comment :) I hadn't thought of it as an island... Interesting perspective

Happy Homemaker UK said...

I love that! I wonder how states would be divided differently if they were drawn today...

Life in Transition said...

Oh, I laughed SO MUCH at the idea of someone shouting 'Rah Rah Surrey!' Raised as a Hampshire girl, the idea also has me bristling with indignation :-) My father's Cornish - he would completely agree with the above comment (my mother's from Surrey...)

Iota said...

You've confused me now, because I thought my sister lived in Middlesex. That's the address I write to, anyway.

I'd like to see the American President who tried to merge states together! I'm thinking he'd be a one-term President.

Iota said...

Postscript: I have sometimes wondered, though, if California should be split in two. Northern and Southern California seem like two different places - from what I know of them, which isn't all that much.