On Thursday, my husband and I went to Lakeland, Florida to spend some time with his cousin and on Friday we went to a spring training baseball game between the Detroit Tigers and the Atlanta Braves. We had decided to take a little break from our packing up of our home in preparation for our move to Ecuador.
While enjoying the game, I got to thinking about some of the differences between sports in the U.S.A. and sports in Ecuador. When someone mentions football, here in the states we think of muscular men donned in helmets, pads, which makes them look even bulkier and running down the field carrying the ball in hand towards a goal post. In Ecuador, football, which we refer to as soccer here, is played kicking a ball down the field and hitting it with heads and feet and no hand contact is allowed. Top that with no helmets or protective equipment of any kind and you have a very energetic game where bruises, bloody noses or scraped knees may be the norm. In U.S. football referees throw down a flag to denote penalties while in Ecuador they hold up a red or yellow card. Seems more civilized to me where throwing down a flag is like throwing down a glove and demanding satisfaction.
People there seem to genuinely enjoy the sport and are not restrained by a lot of restrictive rules and regulations that complicate how the game is played. In U.S. football, it seems they have a rule for everything including just how much the ball must be inflated, while in soccer, its more of a competitive sport and you don’t see the coaches or players shunning the other team when the game is over. In good sportsmen conduct, they shake hands with the opposing team and congratulate them on a game well-played. While in the U.S., that scene is rarely played out, instead you see players ignoring the extended hand or worse yet, not paying respect to the Nation’s flag or National Anthem when it is played. You do not see that kind of disrespect played out in any other country around the world.
Yes, sports are big money items no matter where you go, however, it seems that here in the U.S.A. money is more important than good sportsmanship or giving it your best. Whatever happened to the old saying of “it’s not whether you win or lose but how you play the game that’s important?”
At the spring training games, at least in Florida, they have 50/50 drawings where people donate money to win half of what is collected. The money goes towards the Girls and Boy’s Club and the charity de jour of the day. Yesterday’s game raised $10,510 dollars and the game the day before raised over $11,000. There was a lot of entertainment both on and off the field and a good time was had by all. I had never seen a spring training baseball game before and was amazed that they had a 50/50 drawing, plus other spontaneous games and prizes to keep the fans entertained and interactive with the players. It was wonderful. Wish other sports did that kind of thing and concentrated more on being positive role models for young fans than the kind of impressions they are making now where money is king, unacceptable behavior, like doing drugs, beating up on women and illegal conduct is now the norm.
Did not mean for this to be a commentary on social norms in sports, but just thoughts on differences I noticed. Yesterday was a wonderful spring day, with plenty of sunshine and cool breezes and a good time was hand by all. Oh, and the Detroit Tigers beat the Atlanta Braves 3-2 in a 10-inning game. A very enjoyable day with family. Until next time I leave with a few pictures of yesterday’s Detroit Tigers Baseball game.
Terri at the Drake’s Nest