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I know what you mean - its only a game but somehow it becomes so much more than that. I guess it is a hobby - something apart from family, work, etc to focus on or obsess over so other things can be forgotten for a bit. I'm not big on following sports but do like to watch the world cup rugby and football. I'm hoping England will do it this year but somehow don't think they will pull it. Argentina did really well yesterday so you never know. Really, I'm hoping Brazil won't cos they got it the last time.

I'm Australian. Need I say more? Soooooo sports obsessed. Day 2 of a 5 day test. Pfttt.. I set the alarm and stay up all night for Wimbledon. And the Cricket. And the Rugby (League and Union). And swimming if it's overseas. And...well you know..I'm Australian!

Sports has its advantages... Just at the crucial moment is the best time ever to quietly mutter something about "going to the shops in your car with your credit card see you later byyeeee!" And all they say is: "that's nice have fun love you please get out of the way you're blocking the view!"

It's wonderful! :D

But seriously now, I enjoy watching the occasional game of Rugby and cricket. Not really a soccer fan (thanks to over zealous ex-boyfriend) but I will watch when I think the underdog team should win if I have nothing better to do. I enjoy Cricket Pro20 and ODI's. Tests are too dragged out for me.

My fav sport is Rowing. Not canoeing - Rowing... I compete in this sport, and so it's my favourite to follow as well. Our SA Rowers are doing well (Male and Female) (and the guys are pretty cute too - Don & Ramon for president! drool)

I also enjoy watching Swimming - and men's diving... I don't care what they are actually doing - but they have incredible bodies... (drool)

I love tennis- and do miss (and feel horrible saying so) the days prekid when I had the time to watch.
American football, baseball, basketball players are so embarrassing- I hate to think the rest of the world thinks *we* are like *that*.

Oh, and whitewater kayaking.

Canada + Hockey. It goes without saying. I am assuming there isn't alot of hockey in SA? My dad put me on a team when I was 10, I was the first girl in our county (not country - county) to play on a boys team. Alot of Canadians hate the fact that we are known for hockey but I love it.

The occasional tennis match is one thing, but mostly I find televised sports the most boring thing on planet Earth. I know that's weird and people will strike me off their list for saying it, but there it is. I struggled once to find a metaphor for how bored I am by those things, and I finally found it: I would rather read a year-old newspaper from a city I've never been to, than watch a game on TV.

But for those of you who enjoy such, great. I'm glad they have them for you. "For people who like that sort of thing, that's the sort of thing they like," to quote Miss Jean Brodie in her prime.

You summed it up, Melissa. Australia is MAD for sport. Even the politicians are involved with it. We have an exhibition cricket team picked by the Prime Minister.

Ugh. Yeah. America is sports-obsessed. Whenever I hear "sports obsessed" I remember when I was 14 and my friend R. and her ENTIRE family plus a sleepover guest died in a fire on Christmas Eve. The papers for that week were all about the Patriots (American football team in the New England area) and the mentions of the family that had died were consigned to the bottom of the front page at best. Autistic toddler twins, a little elementary school girl, a twelve year old, a thirteen year old overnight guest, and both parents. In a fire. ON CHRISTMAS EVE, and the papers were all about the stupid football team.

*growlhiss*

Sorry, I'm with the men. I'm living back in the UK after years and years in Australia, and I love the fact that everything here has stopped for the World Cup, and I don't have to get up at 2am to watch it any more. I even moved a meeting at work the other day because the football kicked half an hour before the end of the meeting (well, really, what fool set that meeting up), and no one thought it was remotely odd. And work is actually streaming all the games live onto our desktops, and no one said a word when half the office left early on Thursday (England match kicked off at 5pm).

Oh, and I also use 'we', as in 'we' left it very late against Trinidad & Tobago, and 'we' didn't do that well against Paraguay. And I think 'we' might struggle against Sweden if we let Michael Owen play again.

I'll stop now. The next game starts in 15 minutes.....

It's because we live in a male-dominated world. If women ran the world - we wouldn't tolerate wars and we'd do everything in our power to stop them. Every single person on the planet would have a MANDATORY nap after lunch. I know when my kids get tired they fight. Let's stop it before it starts.

If women ran the world, we wouldn't let stories about sports teams supercede stories about how to improve a relationship with a pill in-law, understand the dynamics of friends who haven't returned our phone calls, or, the importance of writing a thankyou note - or sympathy card - promptly. I work for an international corporation and was really disappointed the other day when I received the newsletter and didn't see a single woman officer in the entire corporation. Not one. And, I know there are women in my organization a lot more capable than ANY of the men. But, that's what happens when we live in a male-dominated world. (So, yes, maybe that's where some of my frustration is coming from. I'm really not a crazy feminist.)

I like sports and the camaraderie. As an example - the Olympics are fantastic and probably build relations between other parts of the world more effectively than the United Nations. But - when you start getting in to professional sports, especially in the US ... and you see the men "stars" of basketball, football and baseball players making MILLIONS of dollars a year for playing a GAME ... while teachers, firefighters and policeman are making less than $40K a year - that's horrendous. THAT wouldn't happen if women ran the world.

I think Italy is going all the way in the World Cup.

Okay, so, I'm from the States. One particular state - North Carolina. Here in Chapel Hill, NC, there is one sport that rules the roost (although ice hockey is currently the big headline) -- BASKETBALL. We're basketball crazy around here (myself included.) The University of North Carolina is here in Chapel Hill, and Duke University is about eight miles up to the road, in Durham.

They don't get along. The rivalry between the two is so heated, students have been known to riot following match-ups between the two. I'm a Carolina fan and quite guilty of the "We" mentality.

It's all about the basketball around here...

Oh I just remembered that the last people to win world cup football was Greece - the time before was Brazil. Londinmisfit - why do you think Michael Owen has so much influence. Wasn't it amazing how England goofed up so many goals in the last game - then when Mr hype i.e Wayne Rooney came on it seemed to make all their heads suddenly straighten out. Funny how they had about 23 or so attempts at a goal and only two went in. Anyway, usually I'm not interested in football but I used to live in London (now Germany) and watch Sky - so I know all about Sven and his affairs - oh I mean his players.

as a rabid baseball and american football fan, i have to say it is NOT just a game, and frankly, those of us who are rabid sports fans react (on a far smaller scale of course) to "it's just a game" the same way IF women react to "why don't you just adopt?" i'm not saying it's the same in terms of importance, but it's the same in that we hear it all the time, people think they're just asking making a reasonable point, and there's no possible way we're going to get them to relate to our experience.

for a true sports fan, though, it's not just a game. it's a parable for life. it's a morality play. it's about regional--or in the case of the World Cup--national pride. i am often amazed, knowing how violent and up and arms people from boston and new york get over sports rivalry, how there aren't more deaths when countries like iran and israel play one another.

anyway, please don't patronize those who are passionate about sports with "it's just a game." it's not just a game to them / us any more than a painting is just a picture to those who are passionate about art or mount everest is just a rock to those who are passionate about the outdoors.

oh, and as for "It's because we live in a male-dominated world. If women ran the world..." that's nonsense. most of the passionate, knowledgeable, rabid, fanatical "we"-saying baseball fans i know are female. there is no inborn gender-based tendency to be athletic / sports-loving or not. it's just only been relatively recently that people have lightened up in their attitudes about this. but many persist--associating a passion and knowledge about sports with maleness and an ignorance or scorn for them as feminine. which is pretty much why people assume i'm a lesbian when i wear my sox hat and jersey. or at least a "tomboy." because it's totally not possible to be a heterosexual female and like sports. no, i must be some kind of "other."

sorry, i guess this all seems irrational. it's only sports, after all, so i'm probably not getting my point across anyway.

I'm in Canada. Hockey is our sport of choice. I love hockey. I watch hockey, my husband watches hockey, we are currently in the midst of a gut wrenching, edge of our seats playoff series.....so ya, hockey.

Is our country as sports obsessed? Well, I come from Canada so on the whole we are more of a laid back group, however when it comes to hockey it seems we as a country can go quite mad. I am actually about to post some pictures on my blog of a man who brought a tv to the forest while he was camping so that he wouldn't miss the hockey playoffs.

My FIL who is German is very much the man that will curse the foolish teams decisions and should his team lose (paraguay) he will spend hours telling us how they could have won if they had just ditch John and kept Marko. I suppose it is better than talking long term investments with him though so I'll take the mildly amusing throbbing vien over his temple over him sitting there telling us how badly we have erred in our stock choices.

We are HUGE baseball fans here. I grew up going to Houston Astros games, and no matter where I have lived or how they have played, I'm always at the TV when a game is on or running to buy tickets when something big is happening. My boys love baseball, too, and it is awesome to sit with my 6.5 year old and talk sports. He loves the fact that his mom can talk pitchers with him or knows the stats to certain players. And really, collegiate sports are more to my liking these days, too. I don't get into basketball except in March/April when we have the Collegiate finals...LOVE THAT! And, I adore college football (Texas Longhorns!)!

We've also quite recently found out how much we love minor league baseball - we have a team about 20 minutes away. It is fun to be in a ballpark watching some guys play their dreams and hearts out while holding down a job at the lumberyard during the day. True dedicaiton.

I will say that I pretty much like all sports - I love soccer, hockey, and found a passion about curling during the Olympics - oh my!

Would I call in and comment on something? I have before. But, it was a praise, a congratulations, a kudos! Voicing your frustrations with coaching or whatever over a radio is a waste of time to me, especially if your point is to get the coach to actually listen to you. Hate to tell you there, but you have a better chance of going pro yourself than a coach hearing and heeding your advice on the radio!

As for the previous argument, "it is a men's world", I see your point, but I don't necessarily agree with it. While my whole family loves baseball and other sports, my husband wasn't that big of a fan until he met me! I'm the ESPN hog here!

Here's hoping my 'Stros make it back to the Series this year!

England entirely depends on what is happening. The whole country became obsessed with rugby a few years back when we actually won the world cup - we never win anything.

This year we are obsessed with the football - because of the world cup.

Every summer we have a huge thing of tennis - for whilst wimbledon is on, but as soon as we lose we give up.

and then we have cricket every summer too - until we lose!! (England really isnt very good at many sports, apart from the paraolympics, but they dont get much coverage)

Our media is terrible. They get all behind the sports, until we lose or get kicked out. Then all they do is slag off the players and the coach. I also hate the fact that so much is played on their home lives - we have glamour models saying who they slept with every week, and I swear I would recognise some footballers kids before my mates!

Have to agree with the other 2 Aussies, this place is sports obsessed!! I like to very occasionally watch the tennis, cricket and my team in the Australian Rules Football- but you can turn the television on at any time of the day or night and I'll guarantee there will be some kind of sports happening. (that's on one of the 5 free-to-air stations. My Dad subscribes to cable so he can watch sport allllllll day and night!)
We got home from the movies last night and I flicked the tv on only to see the SAME AFL game on 2 stations! WTF?!

The obsession of choice here in Canada is (ice)hockey.

I had never been to a game until meeting my husband who had season tickets. I only went a few times and then had to start turning him down for game night dates, as the only thing I could concentrate on through most of the game was my guilt at not being on the ice scoring goals with the team! You see, I'm something of a competitive sort (track & field, volleyball, and speedskating in my sportier days) and could never just sit and watch anyone play -- I had to be out there myself.

Kim - Greece won the european championships last timenotthe world cup. Oh and Michael Owen is such a concen because he isn't fully 'match fit' and sven appearstobe trying to play him up front alone which may be fine against T&T but if he tries that against sweden they have absolutly no chance. But then again if england beat sweden they have Germany in the next round and they will want to avoid that. JMO tho.

Im in Scotland so we are a big football (soccer)/rugby nation. Any team to win the world cup that isn't England please.

BASEBALL has the sexiest uniforms -- quaint and old-fashioned, yet they really show off the guys` thighs and butts. Plus, there`s lots of down time during which to drink, and talk to one`s friends. It`s most fun of all to cheer for teams that never win.

(And they play it in Japan, too -- good for me!)

I'm an American, but I don't get American sports either. The more people get riled up about it, the more it turns me off.

I thank God each and every day that my husband is not into sports. That, and the fact that we have separate sinks in the bathroom, has saved our marriage.

I'm American, and I LOVE college football. There is nothing so intense, heart-pounding, and just plain exciting than a good football game. I don't give a damn about professional football- those guys are paid way too much and are too good to provide much excitement for me. I love love love it. In the South, football is king.

That said, I would love to learn more about soccer. I like watching the World Cup but it's hard for me to enjoy fully since I don't know the rules.

Canada = hockey. No problem.

Edmonton Oilers took the Stanley Cup final to a game seven tonight and I am pumped!

I love baseball too, but the nearest MLB team is about 14 hours from my home.

So, Hockey it is.

Though I am enjoying the World Cup Soccer. I love listening to the commentators. They are so much more eloquent than North American sports commentators.

I'll have to chime in with the other Canadians here, eh? Hockey it is. Rather obsessed at the moment, simply because (like Tracey said above me) the Oilers have a chance at winning the Stanley Cup. I know where I'll be on Monday - parked on the sofa. Likely with beer. :)

Although, I do like a good game of rugby. Now, there's a sport. No padding, lots of fighting. Survival of the fittest at its best.

Oh and lacrosse is okay...kind of like hockey without ice and skates. Can be a brutal sport.

Snarky remarks about US football from a fan of a game in which the players wear the uniform of the ice cream man? Hmm.

I love sports. It might have to do with having five brothers, sort of a "if you can't beat em, join em" idea. My husband and I watch the NFL season together and it is great. I love to be in a group of men and start talking about offensive line play or cover two defenses. Most guys, the ones that aren't completely backwards, like it. Not in a "gee, isn't that cute" way, but in a "cool!" way.

I'm loving the World Cup and the Stanley Cup right now. Yay for sports!

Tertia, the World Cup is in SA next time, so you better get ready!

From the states here... We're obviously obsessed with sports. My Darling Asshole of a hubby is a complete armchair quarterback for the NFL. And baseball gets him more worked up than a new nightie. Personally I don't care either way who or what with sports, unless I use it to my advantage... "Honey, 1st baseline tickets, dugout level..." That translates to woman-ese "At least 5 hours of free time... Please take the tickets and leave!" ;-)

I do have to admit liking the NZ All Blacks Rugby team... They are brutal.

NZ = Rugby in winter (isnt it the stupidest game ever?) and Cricket in the summer (much cooler). I was forced to watch the All Blacks play Ireland last night and luckily we won, as there were lots of old men in the room yelling at the big screens, like thats going to make a difference. Me I love the olympics, and the commonwealth games. I'm a huge fan of sailing, i love the Americas cup and will record and watch every race, i also love the volvo ocean race :)

I'm Australian, we are sport MAD :)

AFL football, rugby league, cricket, soccer, golf.

My husband is the coach of the local cricket team. He trains and plays for NINE months of the year. I hate it. The actual sport itself I love, and yep, I've pulled all nighters to watch us thrash the Poms in the Ashes (ahem...)

We are getting up at 2am this morning to watch the Australia-Brazil match in the World Cup. Husband then intends to stay up to watch the golf and then go to work.

Swimming trials (yep, trials, not even finals) are prime time viewing here. Six sailors lost their lives in the Sydney-Hobart yacht race several years ago and the newsreaders read the death toll and them told us who was winning the race in the same sentence.

It's insane, and I wouldn't have it any other way.

As the other Aussies have said - yes, we are indeed sports mad. We even have had sports stars voted as Australian of the Year. Boxing Day is all about the Test in my family - very primeval - men inside watching cricket and women outside bitching about men watching cricket (but occasionally walking past and pretending not to be interested).

I grew up around car racing but my dh is into rugby (both codes), English football (diehard ManU supporter - we have satellite TV so he can get up at some godforsaken hour to watch it), baseball, and cricket. I quite like Wimbledon, swimming and a bit of football - not AFL though. Don't "get" American football at all nor ice hockey (but my cousins play real hockey so I watch that when they are playing).

Well, must get to bed so I can get up again at 2am for the Australia-Brazil match...

HOCKEY!!! I live in Edmonton Alberta Canada and we are one game away from the Stanley Cup!!!

In the US Baseball, Football and Basketball players are paid millions of dollars a year salary. The really good ones are guaranteed that salary regardless of whether or not they can play. That makes it a business, not a game. It also makes it more important to people to be entertained by sports than to help the less fortunate or even feed their own families. The tickets to these games are astronomically expensive. I guess it's human nature to live our own athletic dreams vicariously through the professionals. What else could explain what fuels that fire?

Hi Tertia,
I am Tess's sister,(Tess who is married to MC). I live in EdmoNton, and we are going to win the Stanley Cup on Monday, so my vote is for HOCKEY, HOCKEY , HOCKEY!!!
GO OILERS.

One thing I don't understand about sports here in America is why we're not more into soccer. From this side of the sea, it seems like the rest of the world is crazy about it, but it doesn't really fly here, except in school.

What you don't seem to understand is that Rugby is not merely a game....and player selection is an extremely important thing and most fans believe they could do a better job than the selectors. I know I could :)

Aruba is fairly sports obsessed, but when the Worldcup hits everything just stops. Streets are deserted, phones don't get picked up, and offices are empty.

Most people support the Netherlands, but Brazil, Germany and Portugal also enjoy support here. I don't care who gets into the final, as long as Brazil doesn't win.

Hey, Dallas, I'm from Chapel Hill, too! And yes, it definitely is all about the basketball. On the other hand, I'm a swimmer and triathlete, so I follow those two sports pretty rabidly as well, especially during Olympic years. But my hometown is Jacksonville, Florida, and my dad is the video director for the Jaguars (our NFL -- American football -- team), and so they are definitely the team closest to my heart. :)

FOOTBALL!! I am from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, otherwise known as "A drinking town with a football problem." Especially with our team, the Steelers, winning this years Super Bowl, football is IT in this city. We have other sports teams, but they all suck at the mo, so it's all about football. Personally, Im not into sports (and neither is dh), but I do like to keep track of the Steelers, and I will watch the January-and-later games b/c that means they are winning.

Here the Great White North, aka Canada, it's hockey in the winter (except for the Stanley Cup playoffs which take the sport to the 20th of June....) and baseball in the summer. I live in Victoria, and the sport of choice for the averaqe family is soccer, but that's because our soccer season runs from September to April, the rest of the country starts theirs in April... Have also watched some pretty good curling, a game imported from Scotland, not as easy as it looks.

Are we sports obsessed in this house? OH YEAH WE ARE. I'm a HUGE baseball fan. Boston Red Sox. There is no other activity I like better than watching baseball, especially post season. I am amazed I haven't yet had a heart attack watching the post season play. I love going to games.

I'm also a soccer fan. I watch the World Cup with my son pretty obsessively. Like, did you see a game today? We watched two. I think the game the USA played this weekend was a robbery. That ref should have been tarred and feathered. Plus, France was TOTALLY robbed of a goal today when that idjit ref called the second goal out even though it was OBVIOUSLY in by at least a foot. I was ticked. TICKED, I'll tell you!

So, ummmm, yeah, we're sports fans here at Chez Scream at the TV. Big sports fans.

I think Brazil will win too, but I'm hoping against hope that England will. I like Brazil, but I'm a long time England fan, even though I find D Beckham a bit over the top annoying.

Hey, Dallas and Jess! I'm from NC too - but I'm a Duke fan. When you're born here, it's like they stamp you at birth with a particular shade of blue. Yes, I'm totally obsessed with college basketball. My town's schools always closed during the first day of the conference tournament because everyone would have stayed home to watch, anyway. I love it, and I'm already well into brainwashing my kids. :)

I am from New Zealand and I would say the entire country is rugby mad. Rugby, not league although a lot of people do follow league.

Cricket is OK, except we are rather bad, though when we play Australia we seem to pick up our game and will *sometimes* provide a bit of competition. I used to play cricket at school so will happily sit down and watch a one-dayer.

Apart from that, netball is big here, not that it is a *man's* sport as such, but now that we have beaten Aus a few times, the profile has been raised and is very popular, to the point that the semi-finals of the national league are broadcast live on a friday night.

I agree with you about American football, they look ridiculous with their shoulder pads. I'd love to see them come up against our All Blacks. Or the Springboks, or Wallabies. I will watch most games with them in too, just love the game. Hard to pick who I want to win between them, I have had a lovely Aussie ex and an arrogant SA (Afrikaans) ex.... though tend to think the SA men are better looking. Bobby Skinstad is just beautiful.

Sounding in late on this post, but I just read it!

I am an American and we are sports-obsessed, of course--most people seem to really love football and the 'american pasttime,' baseball, also basketball. And somehow Nascar is also big.

In our household we love sports but have a definite hierarchy. Professional sports are decidedly at rockbottom. First on my list: college basketball. I'm a blue devil--Duke fan! (for those Carolina fans out there...) I absolutely love basketball, played it as a child, my husband played it, he coaches little league--we love it. Close second: soccer. My family is soccer-obsessed, all of my cousins played on the collegiate level and continue to play now. We're talking getting up in the middle of the night to drink coffee and watch the world cup! Soccer is great. Third on my list is tennis, which I adore to watch and play. My husband loves college football but I am not such a football fan--it bores me, the games are so long (i play soduku and take naps on the sofa during football games). We are both runners so we love foot races....love swimming....and the Olympics in general.

Neither of us are keen on baseball; I find it even more boring than football, but I know that people absolutely love it. My sister in law is English and cannot figure out what the fuss is about with football--but her father was a professional "footballer" (soccer) in England. I guess it just depends on what your 'national sport' is!

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