I do believe that sporting events have the ability to connect us to the soul of people and their culture. Moments shared through sport can convey personal passion, and an outlet for suppressed emotion, at times fanatical. Major sporting events have been known to alter the course of history. Sport can be inspirational, crossing political and racial barriers, influencing social change.
I always associated sport with an excess of testosterone…a boys only pursuit, but then I attended my first Rugby World Cup. It was Australia, Sydney 2003 finals, England versus Australia, well the rest is history, but for me I witnessed true sports fans with passionate respect for the game and each other. Prior to the game, we were invited to lunch in a stunning restaurant at Circular Quay, two little yellow and green attired Australians in a sea of white and red English fans, the camaraderie and humorous banter was heartwarming, even though we did eventually lose!
Go into any pub in any country and you will instantly make new friends, bonding and learning about the local sport. In fact, sport is your conversational gateway, an immediate connection. Europeans in particular, are very closely tied to the identity of their local teams, these fans are really fanatical about winning and don’t like it when they lose!
In Asia they can be just as fixated with sport. During the World Cup Soccer, a period when billions of sleepless fans around the globe are obsessed with who will claim the cup, the streets of Singapore pulsate with fans, glued together in the adhesive heat, watching the shifting flickering screen, so many different nationalities, unified in an amazing display of camaraderie, and the love of the game.
Noisier, but just as much fun, is the Singapore F1, the first in the world to have night races. The excitement of our Formula 1 heroes racing along the familiar streets of downtown Singapore, fuelled by the adrenalin of the crowds and the smell of burning rubber in the heat of the night…magic!
I was at a Jazz concert in Noosa, Australia sharing a table with a group of men and women who worked for the Meat Board of Australia. The men were great fans of the Hong Kong Rugby 7’s, which without fail, they attended annually, sans wives. We all got to talking about the event and how much fun it was to attend. I suddenly noticed how quiet the women were and how sheepish the men had become. Apparently they had convinced the women that it was a men-only event and that surely they would much prefer staying at home with the kids. After our little chat I guarantee the women will be accompanying the men to Hong Kong for the next 7’s. The conversation went something like this…where in the world can you go for a larruping good time, watch rugby, reunite with friends, and fellow fans from all around the world, in an atmosphere of one big dress-up party? The Hong Kong7’s, where music, cross-dressing and rugby go so beautifully together!
Get ahead of the game, here are some sporting events not to miss!
The Olympic Games… “Bringing the world together” Two weeks of intense sporting competition featuring a myriad of countries, some never heard of before, competing in a plethora of sporting events…some never heard of before!
World Cup Soccer…featuring ferocious rivalry, extreme passion, and heartbreaking losses.
The U.S Super bowl, all the razzamatazz of the pre-game parties amid an electrically fired up atmosphere of American football.
Wimbledon…The smell of freshly cut grass and the taste of strawberries and cream, rub shoulders with the rich and famous in the hospitality tents whist watching some astounding tennis.
Test Cricket…the elite and historical home of cricket… Lord’s, I like the idea of a game of cricket, so civilized when we all stop for tea and sandwiches, so different to the Cricket World Cup, with daylong events and excruciatingly long matches. Perhaps you would rather join the biannual celebrated rivalry of the Ashes, where you can catch the Barmy Army in a stirring rendition of the “Lion Sleeps tonight”. Does that urn really contain a burnt cricket bail?
If it’s golf, then you must attend The Masters Golf tournament, held in Augusta G.A. winners are grinners in their legendary green jackets.
Even if you don’t enjoy sailing, who wouldn’t want to be a part of an iconic Australian summer? Held on Boxing Day, the Blue Water Classic, Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race, attracts crowds of onlookers enjoying the summer sunshine, sailing, and gourmet picnics.
Travel and sport make a well-rounded person, even if you do end up cross-dressing, singing rousing club theme songs, or doing a conga line around the football stadium, it’s all good clean fun.
Travel and sport, have you a story to tell?