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Sports & US College Culture
5 min read
Every Saturday, College towns across the USA are proudly draped in their University's colours. There is a buzz in the air, and a sea of fans adorning their College team colours ascend the stadiums. [caption id="attachment_5494" align="aligncenter" width="576" caption="source : espn.go.com"][/caption] Sports are important part of the culture of the United States, with the four most popular team sports being American Football, Baseball, Basketball & Ice Hockey - although other sports including Soccer are becoming more popular in the States. Sports are particularly associated with education in the U.S, with most High Schools and Universities having their own teams. College Sports competitions play an important role in the American sporting culture, because in many cases - college athletics are more popular than professional sports! [caption id="attachment_5493" align="aligncenter" width="466" caption="source : travelwisconsin.com"][/caption] We caught up with our own Client Services Manager, Nicole Montoya (an American living in the UK) about her views on the differences between 'team pride' in the US and in the UK. "I love living in Scotland, but I have noticed that there are definite cultural differences between the attitudes towards sports in the U.S to the U.K. Growing up in the USA, we were always encouraged to get 'pumped up' for games, singing cheesy songs like "How bad do you want it?" and chanting as a team "1,2,3 - Spiders!" (or whatever your team is called). At high school in the US, and in some colleges, the school cheerleaders will often hold a rally on Game days. They will run around campus shouting "Come to the Quad!" and when a crowd has formed, they will perform cheer routines and give out free candy or T-shirts to promote game attendance! It's all about school spirit, and that has a lot to do with team spirit in US colleges and schools. You identify yourself by being a 'Bearcat' or a 'Spider' or whatever your team is called, and it's all about wearing the team colours to show your team pride and to support your college. In the UK and outside the US, it is quite different. In the US, College sports are more popular than professional team sports - so there isn't the same spirit as you will see in the States. I play women's soccer in Glasgow now, and there's no screams of "This is our turf!" - it's more like "we should have a home advantage because we'll have more supporters". There's no 'Cheering Out' after training, or getting 'pumped up' to the same extent in the UK, as you will expect in the U.S." According to the NCAA website, Division I Universities had an average game attendance over 46,000 in 2011! South Carolina University senior Chris Kelly said to USA Today : "You don't see school pride displayed more than on a Saturday in Fall. The entire student body is decked out in school colours, everyone is physically in the same place and we're all cheering for the same result!" Our Sports Consultants who have all been to the played their sports in the US had this to say: Andy McNab : "When there is a big game in the US, the whole state cares about it and is supporting the college team! It's not unusual to see stadiums packed out with 60,000 - 120,000 fans and it is crazy to see that season tickets can go on sale for $3000, without parking! I have seen students out Tailgaiting at 8am when there's a 3pm kick-off - it's a whole different event out there!" [caption id="attachment_5489" align="aligncenter" width="590" caption="source : bestcollegetailgate.com"][/caption] John Crawley : "It's amazing that you can be sitting with your classmate one day, and the next day he's playing Basketball to 50,000 fans in a professional arena. Soccer facilities are amazing and the soccer players are treated like professionals, but the Basketball and American Football stars are treated like celebrities!" [caption id="attachment_5490" align="aligncenter" width="710" caption="source : collegehoopsvideo.com"][/caption] Gavin Galloway: "I played professional soccer in the US, rather than at college level - and the most I played to was 47,000 players! At games in the US, the atmosphere can be crazy, but there's always a 'family atmosphere' with all the hotdogs and popcorn and cheering!" [caption id="attachment_5491" align="aligncenter" width="600" caption="source : travel.nationalgeographic.com"][/caption] Liam McGrath: "In my first year at the University of Memphis, our team qualified for our conference finals and we got to travel to Tampa, Florida for the game. It was amazing to me, that so many of our fans made the 8 hour trip - about 1500 Memphis fans were amongst the 3,500 crowd that day!" [caption id="attachment_5492" align="aligncenter" width="680" caption="source : gotigersgo.com"][/caption] So, the differences are clear. The UK attitude towards sport does not compare to the positive College team spirit you will find in the USA ....What's your views?