You see it all the time (at least if you play or watch sports you do). Nowadays, you see people from India wearing NFL hats, people from America wearing soccer jerseys with the names Messi or Henri, and people from France wearing basketball caps. How has this amazing internationalization of sports fanaticism occurred? The answer, I tell you, is globalization, or the integration of facets of life from different cultures into comprehensive proclivities.
Before-hand, at the advent of modern sports, these sports were popular only in the nations they were created in. Basketball, football, and baseball were only popular in the US, soccer was only popular in international Spanish nations, and cricket was only popular in Britain. However, as time passed by and globalization mechanisms increased, the sports popularities increased. Cricket expanded to Australia and India, as well as many other Middle-Eastern countries. Basketball has spread to almost all countries around the world. In fact, with the new popularity of basketball all over the world, many NBA teams recruit from outside of the US now. Look at Yao Ming: this guy is one of the most dominant big men in the game, and he isn’t from an American city, he’s from China. Look at the big-man sharpshooter Dirk Nowitski—from Germany. Hakeem the dream Olajuan—Nigeria. The list goes on and on.
Also, while America is still at the top of the basketball, other teams have reached the top of the basketball world. Teams like Germany, Lithuania, and even Argentina, who won the Olympic basketball tournament in 2004. The days of the “Dream Team” are long gone.
Globalization has also occurred extensively in soccer: actually, it has probably had the most widespread globalization. Soccer has the most popularity out of any sport worldwide, as evidenced by the different international leagues, the recruitment of international players, and the World Cup for soccer that is held every four years.
In baseball, Japan has gained ground and has become a baseball power.
Tennis has also been globalized. Currently there is a tennis player on the professional circuit from every nation of the world, except Afghanistan. This truly shows the widespread popularity of tennis. Every year, there is the Davis Cup, which is like a World Cup for tennis that takes place every year. Now, foreign players win majors more than the hometown favorites. The last player to win Wimbledon, the British major, was Fred Perry, and he did it 76 years ago.
The same with golf. You may think that Tiger Woods is the only dominant golfer out there, but this simply isn’t the case anymore. There are so many great golfers from all around the world now.
Last but not least is football. This sport has long been called America’s Game. The cheerleaders, the tailgating, the game itself; If you like football, you must be an American right? WRONG. It is true that American football hasn’t globalized as fast as many of the other sports out there, it is well on its way in the right direction. Real-time example: right now the New England Patriots have traveled to Old England to play a football game. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers also made the long journey to play. It’s part of the NFL’s promise to have increased international participation. And the commissioner of the league says that soon there will be more international games played.
You see what I mean? Whereas beforehand there was no diversification of sports internationally, now the globalization of sports has caused more sports to be popular worldwide. And it’s not going to stop; there is an increasing amount of communication mechanisms out there right now. There’s email, there’s the internet, and there will continue to be an increase in international communication. I gotta go: I’m watching the Vikings game while watching a cricket test match online (I guess I kind of proved my point right there, didn’t I?).
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