GREENSBORO, N.C. – I have been writing for the Carolinian’s sports section now since the January of 2018, and unfortunately my tenure is coming to an end. In the past two years, I have been sent to experience sports that I hadn’t even thought about watching. I have been exposed to a variety of different U.S. sports, and sports cultures. I watched volleyball, football(soccer), rugby, fencing and basketball. I’ve interviewed a member of the golf team, and I’ve interviewed a variety of different people on their new year’s resolutions.
It has been a wild ride, one that I count on my highlights as a close second behind playing for UNCG rugby. I’ve had to learn how American sports culture is different to that of the UK’s. I’ve had to learn that college teams are somewhat more important than regular sports teams, in North Carolina anyway.
That one is an oddity for me. None of these athletes here are being paid. Why do people look up to these athletes who are doubly stressed out with their schoolwork and their practice schedules? The pressure they must be under to graduate on time and also to perform to the best of their athletic ability is insane to me. As someone who has just graduated, leave the poor buggers alone to their studies. I can’t imagine being on the UNCG basketball team, having all of your final exams, papers and projectsdue and then going off to play N.C. State on Sunday.
College aside, the culture of supporting a team here is vastly different. I’m sure I’ve mentioned it before in previous articles, but you tend to pick the team that you can geographically, politically or religiously identify with. Here it just seems rather random. My best friend is a New England Patriots fan. Why is anyone a Pats fan, I don’t know, but he has no tangible connection to them. He’s born and bred North Carolina.
There is one thing that I can note as being quite superior here. There are no ultras here. That is, no-one has organized fights before, after or during sports matches for their team. You don’t see the Panthers fan club rocking up and beating seven different shades out of the Chiefs fan club. Well, you don’t see the Panthers beating anything right now, but they still don’t have ultras. It’s unfortunate that across the planet that sports is often attributed to violence, but not here.
It’s been a great time writing for the Carolinian. I’d like to thank Andrew Salmon, my editor for the majority of my time here as well as Krysten Heberly, the Editor-in-Chief. Both have entertained my ludicrous ideas for stories, but mostly Andrew for never sending me to watch baseball. Stay classy, Greensboro.