Many people have wondered about the extent to which the Caribbean is authentic given its heavy European heritage. This series seeks to identify some cornerstones of our day to day lives that have evolved from European origins.
This is part one: Sports.
What if I said that a good amount of our sporting history was actually birthed from European means?
From the ‘point of contact’ in 1492, European cultural institutions have impacted Caribbean society and culture. The remnants of colonization by major metropolitan power like the Dutch, British, Spanish and French continue to impact today’s Caribbean society. Today their impact continues mainly through trade, education and mass media.
The European cultural institution of Sports is still predominant in the Caribbean society. Sports from Europe include horse racing, cricket, football, tennis, rugby and netball. Slaves would have been introduced to and adopted these sports from Europeans during pre-independence but it has still stuck with the Caribbean society till post-independence. Majority of these sports are taught to Caribbean children from a very young age during PD classes or socializing with friends. Many communities in Jamaica have the “Sunday ball game” in which the males of the community come together to play football not to mention the popular horse racing and betting. In addition, Jamaica has built its own racing track called Caymanas and now has a solid industry in horse rearing in rural parishes like St. Elizabeth. The sports may also be popular in the Caribbean as there are more opportunities for scholarships, medalling, and earning money from the European sports internationally. These European sports also allow Caribbean people to participate in international events like the World Cup and the Olympics.