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Sporting relations

A few weeks ago, Little Portugal turned into an ongoing street party in honor of Portugal's successes in the European Cup. Yesterday, Little Portugal turned into an impromptu street party in honor of Brazil's win of the Copa America. People of both Brazilian and Portugese descent live in Little Portugal, but the sporting endorsements went further than geographic and linguistic coincidence. There was a large amount of overlap in terms of both people and venues for both tournaments.

Brazil and Portugal share a closer colonial relationship than many countries do. Although Portugal's early colonizing successes gave it a strong foothold in the Indian Ocean, within a century it had lost most of its possessions there to the Spanish. By the height of the colonial era, Portugal's worldwide holdings dwarfed compared to Spain, France, and England. Brazil and Portugal share a more unusual political bond as well: at one point, the capital of Portugal was moved to Brazil. I do not know if many people in Portugal itself celebrated Brazil's win yeserday. But is the sporting support of each others' teams more pronounced for Brazil and Portugal than it is for most country pairs, colonial or otherwise?

I know that there are legions of Manchester United fans in Japan and India, but I don't know if those same fans tuned in to cheer on England in the European Cup. Certainly, I don't think that fanship works both ways as strongly as it does the one. I've rarely heard a Brit talk about sports in which Japanese or Indian teams were specifically competing. In Eurovision (not a sport, I know), partisan voting is frequently along linguistic and geographic lines, when the strength of a given song doesn't pull a voting nation in any other more specific direction.

Is the support for each others' teams in LIttle Portugal a product of the fact that both groups are expats in Canada, or is there a deeper tradition and relationship of support for each others' teams in international competition? Do other countries share this kind of comraderie?


( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 26th, 2004 12:23 pm (UTC)
The only 'mainstream' sports that India competes in at the top level, of international competition are field hockey and, especially, cricket. It's hard to talk about cricket and not talk about the teams from the subcontinent (Pakistan and Sri Lanka are also major cricket nation) and cricketon the internet exists in large part to service the Indian diaspora.
Jul. 28th, 2004 06:30 am (UTC)
I've never heard Brits cheer on the Indian cricket team though - talk about it, absolutely. Is there a big fan section there for it?
Jul. 28th, 2004 12:35 pm (UTC)
It rather depends on who you regard as a Brit. The Indian team never lacks for support when it plays in England.
Jul. 27th, 2004 10:50 am (UTC)
I suspect you are talking about my neighbourhood :) I live near College and Montrose. Great area, but sometimes the football madness really takes off. It was not as manic as it was a few years ago, but sometimes I can still hear the roar of the crowd from blocks away. It was quite a surprise for Josh to see so many flags and hoopla. In the USA I suspect it is frowned upon a lot more - the melting pot idea.
Jul. 28th, 2004 06:29 am (UTC)
Re: college?
I am indeed talking about your neighborhood. Some of the flags are extraordinarily large - they take up multiple buildings!

I think that neither Josh nor I came from cities with large sports-crazy immigrant populations. Back home in my state in particular, we have the sorts of large immigrant populations that don't have major teams to rally around. I'd guess that LA, Miami, and New York have large neighborhoods which go sports-crazy when the right team is playing.
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )