Barbados is full of sports enthusiast! The primary sports are much different than what I am accustom to in the US. For instance:*
- We have basketball, Bajans play netball
- Netball is a ball sport played by two teams of seven players. Games are played on a rectangular court with raised goal rings at each end. The object is to score goals from within a defined area, by throwing a ball into a ring attached to a 3.05 metres (10 feet) high post.
- We have baseball, Bajans play cricket
- Cricket is a bat and ball game played between two teams of eleven players on a cricket field, at the centre of which is a rectangular 22-yard-long pitch with a wicket (a set of three wooden stumps) sited at each end. One team, designated the batting team, attempts to score as many runs as possible, whilst their opponents field. Each phase of play is called an inning. After either ten batsmen have been dismissed or a fixed number of overs have been completed, the inning ends and the two teams then swap roles. The winning team is the one that scores the most runs.
- The game of cricket mainly revolves around batsmen. Crowds love the batsmen, especially when they wallop the ball all over the ground. Batsmen are the ones who whip up hysteria in the crowd, everybody loves them, they are the Don Juan’s of the game.
- We have tennis, Bajans play road tennis
- Originating in Barbados in the 1930s, road tennis is played on the streets and on courts. It is a sport open to all. It requires no sport attire; bare feet are fine. There is nominal equipment: an 8 inch net, a tennis ball (bald is fine) and wooden paddles.
- (click to see road tennis clip) -> Road Tennis clip .
- We have football, Bajans play football
- The same name but a completely different game.
Last weekend I asked one of Sandra’s cousin Jason, if he was excited about the big game coming up, he said an enthusiastic “Yes!” His team Manchester United had just played to a nil nil match and would be facing Tittenbaum next week. Then he realized that I was talking about “American Football”, the Super Bowl. We had a conversation about why Americans are the only people in the world that call football “soccer”. In fact, he said “American football is more like rugby than anything else, only rugby players don’t wear all that padding.”
Although most Americans think their sports are the most watched, nothing can be further from the truth! There were over 1,000,000 viewers watching the best Super Bowl game in history when the New England Patriots with Tom Brady and Bill Belichick won their 5th championship ring! That does not compare to the over 1,000,000,000 viewers that watch World Cup Football (soccer)!
The past few weeks children from all over the island were competing in athletic events mostly track and field. The events were live both on radio and local television. The final results were also reported in the paper and evening news. These competitions are called the inter-house championships and are a way to help determine which primary and secondary students possess the raw talent that can be developed into CARICOM or even Olympic champions.
*For a more thorough explanation of cricket, netball and road tennis, please consult wickepedia or other online sources.