S. Worthen (owlfish) wrote,
S. Worthen

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?

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