IDEA #33. Attend a sporting event that comes from a culture other than your own—cricket, bocce, Irish football
This may not be quite so easy to do if you reside in an area that does not have a large immigrant or expatriate population, but it may even be possible to find cable television or internet broadcasts that provide not only a view of the sport but also explanatory play-by-play (unless the broadcast is in a language unknown to the viewer).
In areas that do have significant numbers of residents representing other cultures, there may be flourishing leagues and clubs devoted to homeland sports. Caribbean and South Asian expatriates may gather to play cricket regularly in a public park, or bocce may be one of the activities offered at Italian-American associations or other cultural groups who play variations of this ancient lawn-bowling game. (Bocce’s world regulatory body, headquartered in Rome, goes by a Latin name: Collegium Cosmicum ad Buxeas—surely a unique attribute in the world of sport.) Cultural festivals may also involve sports—the various “Highland Games” events around the country include several unusual events involving feats of strength and timing. Although they are not exactly “cultural,” lumberjack festivals also feature uncommon sports, some involving chainsaws. All of these activities give the thoughtful spectator an opportunity not only to marvel at the range of human ability to test ourselves but also to speculate on the nature of cultural difference and why certain kinds of activities appeal to certain people.
For many years ABC television’s bygone Wide World of Sports introduced viewers to sporting events of the sort we didn’t see every day. Fortunately our increasingly diverse society and the proliferation of ethnically focused cable television channels can fill the void left by the cancellation of that show.