Nationalism, sports and politics

Since I started taking notice of this blogging phenomenon one thing has really stood out: there seem to be an awful lots of American right-wing bloggers who seem to completely support their president. This seems strange to me. I’m sure we have a very small group of people in Australia who worship out Prime Minister, but I believe that the vast majority, even those who agree with many of his policies, would not publically state that they fanatically support him. In Howard’s own parlance, it is “UnAustralian” to trust politicians.

My mind then did some random connecting and concluded that Australians are far more likely to fanatically support a sports team captain (witness the national debate over Steve Waugh’s captaincy of the cricket team) than a politician.

A hypothesis forming…

Australia is a very strong participant in a number of international team sports (eg cricket, rugby, hockey and someday, maybe, soccer) and Australians strongly identify with their national teams.

The US generally seems to prefer homegrown or very regional sports that have less widespread geographical appeal (eg gridiron, baseball, ice hockey (Canada & Russia) and basketball). Okay, basketball is a very international sport, but the big starts would rather slug it out in the local competition than compete internationally. With the exception of womens soccer, when the US does compete strongly in international sports it is in individual sports such as tennis and gold.

When Australians want to strut dominantly in the world, we do it on the sports field. Many nations (especially New Zealand and England) hate us for this. Fair enough. Maybe the US does it politically and militarily.

I don’t know. Just a over-generalised hypothesis that I am not in the mood to explore further. Back to work!

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