Sports and the Unification of Diverse Cultures

Sports can bring all sorts of people together from different cultural backgrounds, as well as from separate communities. This was noticeable when the Iraq soccer team won the Asian Cup. The Iraqi people showed their love and devotion to their country by joining each other in the streets to celebrate with one another. The Iraq team was very diverse, mixed with Sunnis, Shi’ites, and Kurds under the management of a Brazilian coach. According to Fuji, “Nation-states are heavily involved in the use of sports for unifying diverse cultures and communities within its borders…”(Fuji, 2007). The divide amongst the people of Iraq was forgotten with the help of sports. They were able to connect with one another through their country’s victory. Sports have a special ability to be able to bring people with different beliefs together.

Sports have not only brought different cultures together but have also brought together different types of people. Fuji stated that, “…sports serve as a double-edged sword – like the example of Jackie Robinson breaking the racial barrier in baseball, sports can both divide and unify, flatten or exacerbate differences.”(Fuji, 2007). Sports are able to unite people that normally would have never had the chance to be with one another. They are all able to share a common similarity, which is their love and devotion for supporting their country.  Along with unity, “…the successes and failures of individual athletes in competition are social projections of regional and national pride and can help integrate diverse societies through an imagined community generated by athletes and teams that physically represent the nation.”(Fuji, 2007). Sports do not allow people to be separated; rather, they bring people together so they are able to interact with each other as well as with different groups of people.

Source: http://savageminds.org/2007/08/07/sports-and-identity/

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