Sports and recreation in Bermuda

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A variety of sports are played in Bermuda, from those brought by British and International relations (namely football, rugby football, and tennis), to those popularised nationally (such as sailing). Some sports and events have greater historical and cultural significance whilst others are played for entertainment or competition.

British influence[edit]

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. This tournament began in 1872 when Captain Moresby of the Royal Navy introduced the game to Bermuda, holding a match at Somerset to mark "forty years since the unjust thraldom of slavery". The East End versus West End rivalry resulted from the locations of the St. George's Garrison (the original army headquarters in Bermuda) on Barrack Hill, St. George's, and the Royal Naval Dockyard at Ireland Island. Moresby founded the Somerset Cricket Club which plays the St. George's Cricket Club in this game (the membership of both clubs has long been mostly civilian).[1] The whole of Bermuda ground to a complete halt for two days every summer to turn its attention to this cricket game. 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.[2] 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 been played for over a century. The Island's national Cricket team has also competed internationally.

Golf[edit]

Bermuda holds the most golf courses per square mile in the world. The golf courses on the island are quite distinct as they are generally short, and their turf hard and sandy. The wind is also higher as unblocked gusts from the sea-facing side of a course can sometimes affect the accuracy of a golf swing. Bermuda's hilly terrain is apparent at some of the island's golf courses. Bermuda holds number of golf tournaments and events annually 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.

Water sports[edit]

Bermuda being an island with a history of sailing and a number of sailing clubs, it is no surprise that sailing has been historically a popular sport. Namely, dinghy racing is seen as the main competitive sport. Unsurprisingly, most Bermudians swim, and Bermudians compete in swimming competitions in the Caribbean. Bermudians also enjoy non-competitive sports like diving and fishing.

Basketball[edit]

In Bermuda, Basketball is played competitively nationally and internationally, with moderate success within the Caribbean Basketball Championship. The country has access to multiple basketball facilities.

International sport[edit]

Generally, Bermudians match poorly in international competition due to their small population size, and mostly compete in individual events in international competition Bermuda is often represented in the Olympic Games, though it has only won a single medal (in boxing). Bermuda also participates in the Americas' Cup Sailing Competitions with some success.

Other[edit]

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[citation needed] 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.[3][4] 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 grew in popularity on the island, but is now declining in popularity. 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. Competitive Netball has grown popular within schools.

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