Pronunciation: \ə-ˌmer-ə-ˈkä-nə, -ˌmər-, -ˌme-rə-, -ˈka-nə\
Function: noun plural
1: Materials concerning or characteristic of America, its civilization, or its culture ; broadly : things typical of America
2: American culture
In this series, I’d like to explore various aspect of life in North America. Each topic will be illustrated by a black and white picture.
Sports. Think of it as a religion. Or at the very least, a national pastime.
Followers speak a weird language: home run, end zone, touchdown, powerplay, and mostly “scooooooore”. Their Gods? MLB (Major League Baseball), NFL (National Football League), NBA (National Baseball Association) and NHL (National Hockey League). Big days of worship include Superbowl Sunday, March Madness, the Stanley Cup or the World Series. Drink beer, eats hot dogs and cheer, cheer and sing along. You are in for a “unique moment in sport history” as ESPN would say.
Americans are unique when it comes to sport. They love it passionately and the country can stop to watch a game. Some worldwide popular sports are almost unknown in the U.S.A (think soccer) while on the other side, the world ignores, let’s say, American Football.
Sports is part of the popular culture. Many English idioms are derived from sport terms: “cover all the bases” ; “hit or miss”; “caught off base”; … “It ain’t over till it’s over!” Kids collect sports cards, families gather to watch a game, many register for fantasy baseball/ hockey/ football online…
Sports can also be a medium through which issues are addressed: gender equity, efforts to combat discrimination… Some athletes used their celebrity to shed light on society’s ills and to promote goodwill among the various communities in the country.
It’s also all about the money: with television network paying millions of dollars for the rights to broadcast sporting events; with players signing huge contracts, with extravagantly expensive commercials, big bucks play the game as well. Sports is also a big source of revenue for schools and university because college sports are followed with a fervor equaling that felt for professional sports!
Nevertheless, sports remains a great unity factor in North America. And after all… it’s fun to watch!
Picture: Teeshirts for sale at Alexandria Bay (NY), 2008