Sports and recreation in Bermuda
Sports are very popular in Bermuda, as there is a great need for recreation in such an isolated location.
Many sports popular today were formalised by British Public schools and universities in the Nineteenth Century. These schools produced the civil servants and military and naval officers required to build and maintain the British empire, and team sports were a vital tool for training their students to think and act as part of a team. Former public schoolboys continued to pursue these activities, and founded organisations such as The Football Association (FA). Today's association of football with the working classes began when the FA changed its rules to allow professional players in 1885. They soon displaced the amateur ex-Public schoolboys. Bermuda's role as the primary Royal Navy base in the Western Hemisphere, with an army garrison to match, ensured that the naval and military officers quickly introduced the newly formalised sports to Bermuda, including cricket, football, Rugby football, and even tennis and rowing (rowing did not adapt well from British rivers to the stormy Atlantic, and the officers soon switched to sail racing, founding the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club). Once these sports reached Bermuda, they were eagerly adopted by Bermudians.
In Bermuda, Cricket and Football (soccer) are the most popular sports. Cricket in particular now has a two-day (not including the weekend) holiday dedicated to it, called Cup Match. The whole of Bermuda grind to a complete halt for two days every summer to turn its attention to a cricket game. The festive game began officially in July 1902 between the Somerset Cricket Club in the west end and the St. George's Cricket Club in the east end. Venues of the game change yearly between both clubs. The popularity of the annual game was such that it caused continued absences from employment. As a direct result, the 2-day public holiday was first introduced in 1947 and has been in effect ever since. The two days (currently called Emancipation Day and Somers Day) feature a single Cricket match between teams from both ends of the island, a match has essentially been played for over a century. The Island's national Cricket team has also proven itself on the world stage.
Bermuda also has the most golf courses per square mile in the world. The golf courses on the island are quite distinct. The courses are generally short, and the turf hard and sandy. The wind also helps to set apart golfing in Bermuda from most other places. Gusts from the powerful island winds can, sometimes, affect the accuracy of a golf swing. Bermuda has hilly terrain which is apparent at some of the island's golf courses. Each year, Bermuda has a number of golf tournaments and events held by the Bermuda Golf Association. One of the most popular annual tournaments is the Bermuda Open. Bermudian Quinn Talbot was several times the World One-Armed Golf Champion.
Other popular sports include various equestrian forms including pony-cart racing and dressage, rugby, squash and tennis. See rugby union in Bermuda. Motorsports are gaining in popularity, particularly after the construction of Bermuda Motorsports Park. Australian rules football is also gaining popularity and the island will host the Australian Rules Football Championships in April 2007, an international tournament featuring sides from Canada, the United States, Europe and the Bermuda Lions national team.
Bermuda Fitted Dinghy racing - in which a number of small punts outfitted with huge sails and a crew of six race each other and frequently sink - has been declining in popularity over the years.
Lacrosse is quickly growing in popularity on the island. In 2006 Bermuda was represented at the ILF world championships of lacrosse in Ontario, Canada. Bermuda is an affiliate nation of the International Lacrosse Federation.
Bermuda is often represented in the Olympic Games, though it has only won a single medal (in boxing). It also frequently attends other large sports tournaments, though its small size proves to be an obstacle in building up strong sports figures.
Bermudan sport continues to enjoy a growing profile on the global stage. For instance, the notorious Bermudan and multiple capped, world-renowned international rugby professional known to some as 'Bermuda' and to others as 'Allan' (put them together and you get 'Bermuda Allan', simple), was recently given the honour of University of Southampton Athletic Union President and has undertaken an instrumental role in turning the University's AU into the 'best' in the United Kingdom leading to their 'domination' of the BUCS league in various disciplines. Esteemed Irish sportsman and Gaelic Games legend Michael Ronan Conan Murphy (better known by the moniker Mickey ------ Ro Co) has been a loyal supporter and advocate of the great one, and it is believed his passionate election night speech played a crucial role in the ultimate success of Bermuda Allan's campaign and marginal victory. Bermuda can be found regularly at the University's campus, particularly at 'Union Films', and is well known to dabble in the luxurious 'grub' provided by the SUSU Café. Any requests for interviews or time with the great man are fielded by his press secretary and long-time personal friend and accomplice Robert Mavor-Morrison and you are encouraged to make contact with this renowned Scottish institution.