Football – from a street competition to a popular stadium sport

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Football – from a street competition to a popular stadium sport

Everyone around the world knows what football is. Due to its simple rules and minimal equipment, it is one of the most popular and widespread sports on the planet. But just how did football come to be? In the spirit of the upcoming 2014 World Championships, tiSpotlight will provide you with a look at the birth of football. The origins of football stretch far back into the past and are not only situated in Europe. Games similar to football were played ages ago in China, Japan and the pre-Columbian cultures of Central America, home to a long tradition of ball sports. In Europe, traces of games similar to football can be found in Greece and Italy, among other places. Yet England is considered the home country of football. Unlike modern football, in those days, the game was much less organised and played without fixed rules. Thus, it was often rough and violent. Even the early form of modern football, which was played in medieval England, did not have set rules.  At that time, entire villages participated in a single game, with the goal of getting the ball into the opponent’s town gate. The playing field was situated between the participating villages – no matter how far away they were from each other. Thus, it was possible for a playing field to stretch over several kilometres. There was no limit to the number of players, and often the whole village, including its roads, squares and fields, were included. During the game, everything was allowed, which meant that they often became out-and-out competitions between the villages or towns. Due to the high frequency of injuries among participants and the general degeneration of the games, football was repeatedly prohibited throughout the years. By 1840, football had largely become a forgotten sport among townspeople, due to these prohibitions. At around the same time, however, on another level, there was a new breakthrough in football: The sport was included in the class schedule of elite private schools. The idea behind this move initially was to promote discipline, order and solidarity as well as to impart new values. Football continued to be disorganised and included fairly random rules, since each school set its own. When the number of teams began to increase, it became necessary to formulate binding rules for the sport. Thus, In October of 1863, there was a meeting in London in which the first official rules and uniform standards were determined for football. At this meeting, football was also officially separated from rugby, since one of the main rules of football prohibited carrying the ball. After the rules had been set, football quickly became very popular in all social classes and amassed a large number of followers. The first international match between England and Scotland took place as early as 1872. The rules of football were repeatedly amended or supplemented. The popularity of the sport not only spread throughout Europe, but to countries all over the world, and gradually became the game we know today.

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ti communication sportlight - Bossaball

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ti communication sportlight - Bossaball

Brazil – THE land of football? With five world championships for the men’s national team, Brazil is the most successful football nation of the world, and has produced some of the biggest stars in international football, such as Pelé, Ronaldo, Ronaldinho and Kaká. There’s no doubt about it – football is Brazil’s national sport par excellence. In addition to football and steamy samba rhythms, however, Brazilian sports have lots more to offer. Have you heard of the new trend sport bossaball? While it’s true that the origins of bossaball are in Spain, Filip Eyckmans, Belgian by birth, was inspired by the Afro-Brazilian martial art and dance form capoeira when he developed this unique new sport in 2003. He was also influenced by his impressions of Brazil’s beach culture, in which football, volleyball, dance and music, as well as trampolining, which has been popular since the 90s, play a large role. And so, the quirky new creation of bossaball came into being, a team sport with two teams of two to five players each, who face each other on a giant air pillow with a net dividing the playing field in half, as in volleyball. There is also a round trampoline on each half, enabling the players to perform spectacular, acrobatic moves. The jumps, sometimes metres high, represent the special allure of bossaball, for players and spectators alike, the latter of whom are fired up by the so-called samba referee. Besides referee duties, the samba referee, equipped with a flute, microphone, percussion instruments and a DJ console, provides the right atmosphere. By the way, former tennis pro Filip Eyckmans based the name of the sport on the Brazilian dance bossa nova, which can be translated as “new wave”. Not only have the Spanish and Brazilians caught this new wave – in the meantime, bossaball is played in international competitions, already very popular in Holland and Germany as well. Do you remember how much fun it was to romp around in a bouncing castle as a child? Have you had enough of football after the world cup? Maybe the new trend sport bossaball is just the right thing for you!

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World Lacrosse Championship - ti communication trainer Philip Werner on his intercultural experiences as a participant of this sporting event

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World Lacrosse Championship - ti communication trainer Philip Werner on his intercultural experiences as a participant of this sporting event

In July of this year, one of the largest ball sport tournaments took place in Denver (USA): the men’s world lacrosse championships.

You missed the big event? You’ve never even heard of lacrosse? Well, you aren’t alone. In Germany and all of Europe, lacrosse has not yet hit the mainstream. But you can seize the opportunity and follow me into the heart of the lacrosse world and discover the intercultural challenges surrounding such a trip.

What is lacrosse and where does it come from?
Lacrosse is a team sport that is played with a stick equipped with a mesh net and a tennis ball-sized hard rubber ball. Two teams of ten field players each try to score more goals than the opponent. Body contact, including with the stick, is permitted. This ball sport was invented by the Native Americans on the east coast of the USA. Via labyrinthine paths, missionaries and English boarding schools, the sport, which originated as a Native American healing ritual, found its way back to the elite east-coast colleges of the USA.

Today, lacrosse is the fastest-growing sport in the USA, and even internationally, new national associations are cropping up at an amazing speed. Just 30 years ago, only four teams took part in the world championships. Meanwhile, the event has become a great festival of nations, with participants from almost all regions of the world. This year, Uganda was the first African team to compete.

On the field as an intercultural trainer
As an intercultural trainer, during my participation as an active player in the biggest world lacrosse championships to date, I had, of course, my trainer’s glasses on and was able to experience quite a bit. As early as the opening ceremony, cultural differences with regard to clothing and behaviour quickly became evident. The Asian teams seemed to shy away from the sun, and we Germans remained in the shade on the simple grounds of professional preparation for the tournament, while the team from Uganda, armed with drums, danced in the sun for an extended period and completely savoured the event. The Norwegian team showed up in sweaters of the same name, the Scots came in kilts, the Austrians – much to the joy of the American spectators – all wore lederhosen and the Ugandan players trumped everyone with their colourful tribal robes. What was behind the multifaceted fashion show? Self-inflicted stereotyping, perhaps, yet without a negative aftertaste. Generally, the spirit of the games was always positive, and everyone applauded and cheered the other nations.

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Planking – trend sport or art form?

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Planking – trend sport or art form?

In every newsletter issue starting now, ti sportlight will highlight sport disciplines from different cultures; some, however, bear the implicit warning: “Do not try this at home!” We look forward to receiving your comments on our blog! 

Planking is currently on the tip of everyone’s tongue – at least everyone in Australia with an Internet connection should be familiar with the term. If you are also a Facebook user, you will probably not have been able to avoid the topic. Interestingly, its beginnings can be traced to Europe, from where it spread to Down Under, where it received its current name before making its way back to Europe as planking. With a little research on the World Wide Web, you will quickly find the almost lexical explanation that planking is a meme, or type of Internet hype. Nevertheless, it is also frequently categorized as a photographic art form. In brief answer to the question of what planking is, it is photographing people who lie stiffly and horizontally, face-down and as straight as a plank, with the appropriate amount of body tension – usually in public places.  

These planking photos are spread through the Internet, especially in the Facebook social community. In the meantime, the Facebook planking group formed especially for that purpose has amassed one million fans so far – and counting. There, people discuss the latest photos, exchange experiences with the new trend or debate about the sense or nonsense of planking in general.

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