GET YOUR HEAD IN THE GAME

Sports Time! Discover Ten National Sports From Around The World!


Published on April 27, 2024


Credit: Jannes Glas

Who doesn’t love sports? Well, many don’t, if indoor kids in gym classes are to be believed. And while demanding coaches might turn them into an anxiety-filled activity, sports can be a truly wonderful and rewarding experience that anyone can enjoy. They are a great way to exercise, make friends, and, on some occasions, a great source of national pride.

Cheering for your nation’s team is one of the few things that almost every citizen can agree on. However, there’s another way in which sports can make you feel proud of your country: through their very own unique national sports. We have gathered ten official and unofficial sports from all around the world that bring both joy and a sense of national identity to their respective countries. Enjoy!

1

Pato - Argentina

Credit: Rafael Hoyos Weht

Argentina is known as one of the leading countries in the sport of polo. In case you are not familiar with it, polo is a sport not dissimilar to hockey, with the main difference being that is it played on horseback. However, even though they have made their name in the world of polo, Argentina’s official national sport is another entirely different horseback game called " pato ".

Pato is a versatile sport that combines elements of basketball and polo, on which two teams on horseback compete to grab a ball and throw it through the opposing team’s goal, a hoop located on top of a poll. The sport is named after the Spanish word for "duck" since early versions of pato used a live duck instead of a ball. In 1953, this game first developed by gauchos (Argentinean cowboys)was recognized as Argentina’s national sport.

2

Capoeira - Brazil

Credit: Nigel SB Photography

Capoeira is truly hard to define: it is both an art form, a martial art, a game, and a cultural product that fills Brazilians with pride for their country. Capoeira is, after all, Brazil’s national sport, and this might be the best way to encapsulate this physical activity that seamlessly combines elements of dancing, music, acrobatics, and even spirituality.

For something as popular as Capoeira is, it is curious that its origins are still unknown . However, the first recorded mention comes from 1789. While originally conceived as a form of self-defense, Capoeira has branched into many areas: Its traditional instruments and dance moves have influenced many prominent Brazilian musicians throughout the decades, while several Capoeira combat moves are now commonly used in MMA and other fighting sports.

3

Taekwondo - South Korea

Credit: Uriel Soberanes

While "Daniel-san" and his crane kick might have made every '80s American kid want to learn karate, there are plenty of other self-defense arts that are worth our attention, and taekwondo is definitively one of them. Not only for its engaging training and health benefits but also because it might help us feel closer to South Korean culture since taekwondo is this nation’s official national martial art.

The word "taekwondo" loosely translates to "the way of kicking and punching", and it was developed between the 40s and 50s by Korean martial artists proficient in other disciplines like karate and kung fu. Practitioners of taekwondo adhere to what is known as " the Five Tenets of Taekwondo ", which are Courtesy, Integrity, Perseverance, Self-control, and Indomitable spirit.

4

Gaelic Games - Ireland

Credit: Adrian Payne

This entry is the first to refer to a series of sports rather than only an individual one, and that is because Ireland has created a remarkable and truly unique number of national pastimes. These various sports are collectively known under the name "Gaelic games", and have long surpassed the borders of the "Emerald Isle" and are now enjoyed all around the world.

Among the most popular Gaelic games, we can find Gaelic football, hurling, Gaelic handball, and rounders. Gaelic football and hurling share similar elements: they both involve pushing a ball onto the opposing team’s goal, whether it is carrying by hand, kicking, or bouncing. Gaelic handball involves two players bouncing a small rubber ball against a wall, while rounders could be described as a combination of cricket and baseball. Curiously, before becoming "rounders", this game was first known as "base-ball".

5

Ice Hockey & Lacrosse - Canada

Credit: Taylor Friehl

You might be surprised to learn that our "Big Neighbor to the North" has not only one but two official national sports . One of them is fairly obvious: ice hockey has been synonymous with Canada for decades now. However, ice hockey is only Canada’s winter national sport, and it shares the title with its summer counterpart, the sport of lacrosse.

The debate of which sport should be Canada’s national representative was discussed for almost three decades . For years, Canadians believed that lacrosse was the country’s official national sport until in 1964, some members of the Canadian parliament revealed that no law proclaiming this had ever been enacted. It wasn’t until 1994 that a resolution from the House of Commons declared lacrosse to be Canada’s summer national sport, and ice hockey its winter national sport.

6

Volleyball - Nepal

Credit: Paulo Henrique Macedo Dias

Did you know that volleyball was created in Massachusetts by a YMCA teacher ? William G. Morgan combined elements of baseball, handball, and tennis and, in 1895, he created a new indoor sport called Mintonette. Luckily, the name didn’t stick, and it eventually evolved into the volleyball we know and love.

Even though traditional games like dandi biyo and kabbadi were considered Nepal’s unofficial national games, volleyball became the country's national sport. Female volleyball is extremely popular in Nepal, and it is played in all 77 districts of this country.

7

Table Tennis - China

Credit: Lisa Keffer

Many consider table tennis as little more than a recreational activity, an indoor game to play on a rainy afternoon. And while definitively fun, table tennis is a full-fledged, adrenaline-fueled sport , as anyone who has seen a professional game can attest. And if there’s one country synonymous with this sport and with promoting remarkable table tennis players, it is China.

Although it was an already incredibly popular sport in the 1950s, table tennis became a staple of Chinese culture in the '60s and '70s. Since table tennis became an Olympic sport in 1988, China has produced a multitude of international superstars, amassing a massive number of gold medals in the process.

8

Sumo - Japan

Credit: Alessio Roversi

Just like Capoeira , Sumo is not just a martial art : Japanese people view it as an art form that combines tradition, history, and spirituality. The first recorded mention of sumo comes from the year 712, and it describes the fight between two gods to claim ownership over the Japanese islands. It is heavily ingrained into Japanese culture, and it showcases this nation’s proud history and identity.

To this day, sumo wrestlers adhere not only to a strict training regime but also to an entire lifestyle heavily influenced by tradition and rituals. Most wrestlers live in training stables known as heya , on which aspects of their daily lives like their meals or their clothes are rigorously dictated. Accordingly, top-tier sumo wrestlers, known as yokozuna, are extremely popular athletes and revered as the very best of this beloved sport.

9

Golf - Scotland

Credit: Ryan caven

While the exact and ancient origins of golf are still debated, we can all thank Scotland for creating the modern-day version of this iconic sport. After all, it seems only natural that a country filled with such gorgeous hills and breathtaking landscapes should be the birthplace of a sport that involves walking around lush greenery.

The first recorded mention of golf comes from a ban on the game enacted by English King James II in 1457 since he felt that it distracted his subjects from learning more useful sports like archery. His grandson, King James IV, took a liking to the sport and lifted the ban in 1502.

10

Baseball - United States

Credit: Eduardo Balderas

While the United States doesn’t have any official national sports, most Americans believe that baseball is the de facto national representative. It is one of the oldest sports played in the country, and its history is intrinsically connected to the history of America.

While the first mention of baseball in American history comes from 1752, it wasn’t until the 19th century that this sport would start gaining popularity. In 1858, the first all-star games were played in New York City, in what many believe to be the very first professional exhibitions of the sport still known to this day as "America’s favorite pastime."


VALENTINE’S VAULT

10 Legendary Tales Of Love From Fact And Fiction


Published on April 27, 2024


Credit: Laura Ockel

Love is the greatest adventure, weaving human lives together through the ages. An unending stream of timeless tales of love inundate our history and our mythologies, captivating us with their beauty and enduring power.

From real-life romances to fictional epics, these 10 legendary love stories continue to inspire and enchant us with their universal allure.

1

Romeo and Juliet

Credit: Simone Baldo

The tale of Romeo and Juliet, as penned by William Shakespeare, remains one of the most iconic love stories ever told. Set in Verona, Italy, the young lovers’ forbidden romance unfolds amidst a bitter feud between their families, the Montagues and Capulets. Their untimely deaths ultimately unite the warring households but serve as a poignant reminder of the power of love and the consequences of hate.

2

Cleopatra and Mark Antony

Credit: Europeana

A love story so epic that Shakespeare couldn’t resist making it into a play, the legendary romance between Cleopatra, the Queen of Egypt, and Mark Antony, a Roman general, has fascinated historians and poets alike. Their powerful union challenged the might of Rome, and their love endured until their tragic end when the Roman emperor Octavian defeated their combined forces in Alexandria.

3

Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy

Credit: Ann Fossa

The two main characters from Jane Austen’s classic novel "Pride and Prejudice" navigate misunderstandings and societal expectations on their journey to love. Austen’s genius captivates readers and hearts with a timeless love story that is also a tale of personal growth and overcoming prejudices amidst the conservative 19th-century England.

4

Shah Jahan and Mumtaz Mahal

Credit: Jovyn Chamb

Behind the ivory white walls of the Taj Mahal, there is a love story so great that, almost four hundred years later, it continues to inspire poets and lovers everywhere in the world. The majestic structure was commissioned by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan as a mausoleum for his beloved wife, Mumtaz Mahal, following her death during childbirth. The Taj Mahal, a "poem in stone," is now a place of pilgrimage for travelers and devoted lovers.

5

Lancelot and Guinevere

Credit: Ricardo Cruz

A story of forbidden love, betrayal, and tragedy within the mythical court of Camelot, the legend of Lancelot and Guinevere continues to captivate audiences to this day. Queen Guinevere was the wife of King Arthur, and Lancelot was one of his bravest and most trusted knights, but despite their loyalty to their king, they could not help but fall madly in love with each other. Their passionate but tragic love led to the downfall of Camelot and the Knights of the Round Table.

6

Bonnie and Clyde

Credit: Wade Lambert

The infamous duo of bank robbers Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow captured the public’s imagination during the Great Depression with their crime spree across the United States. Bound by love and a shared thirst for freedom, Bonnie and Clyde’s exploits made them folk heroes to some and public enemies to others. Their tumultuous romance ended in a hail of bullets, but they are remembered as a timeless symbol of rebellious love.

7

Tristan and Isolde

Credit: S N Pattenden

With roots in Celtic mythology and medieval romance, the tragic love story of Tristan and Isolde has inspired countless artistic interpretations. Tristan was a Cornish knight tasked with escorting Isolde from Ireland to marry her uncle, the King Mark of Cornwall. However, during their journey, they unintentionally consume a love potion, which leads them to become deeply enraptured with each other. Their forbidden affair is marked by passion and, ultimately, heartbreak.

8

Napoleon and Josephine

Credit: Nicolas HIPPERT

The tumultuous love affair between Napoleon Bonaparte and Josephine de Beauharnais captivated Europe during the early 19th century. In the midst of political turmoil and the pressures of war, their bond endured. And even after their marriage was annulled due to her inability to bear Napoleon an heir, he still declared, "Josephine, my destiny is linked to yours."

9

Jack and Rose

Credit: K. Mitch Hodge

James Cameron's epic film "Titanic" brought to life the fictional romance between Jack Dawson, a poor young artist, and Rose DeWitt Bukater, a wealthy young woman, aboard the ill-fated RMS Titanic. Their ardent but short-lived romance defied social barriers and allowed spectators to grasp the profound tragedy of the sinking. Through their passionate connection, we are reminded of the terrible human cost of the disaster.

10

Odysseus and Penelope

Credit: Vidar Nordli-Mathisen

In Homer's ancient epic, after attaining victory in the Trojan War, the cunning hero Odysseus embarks on the long and perilous journey back home to his faithful wife, Penelope. Facing dozens of obstacles and temptations along the way, Odysseus remains steadfast in his love for Penelope and his homeland. Meanwhile, Penelope does not give up hope that her husband, whom most believe to be dead, will return home.

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