Travel geeks all know that an excellent way to dive into the culture of a destination is by attending sporting events. Popular sports around the world range from international favorites, such as football, rugby and cricket, to some unusual entries, like oil wrestling in Turkey (no jokes). So let’s take a look at some of the options you could explore on your next trip.
Cricket is pretty popular in Australia, but Australian rules football – or, simply, Aussie rules – isn’t a sport you’ll find anywhere else. This Antipodean favorite is affectionately known as “footy” down under and, unusually, is played on an oval-shaped pitch. There are four posts at each end and a massive 18 players per team. The ball is a similar shape to a rugby ball and points are scored with “goals” – kicking the ball between the two taller central posts – or “behinds” – getting it between the shorter wider ones.
The Aussie Rules season takes place in the southern hemisphere’s winter, running from March to September. Whether it’s Melbourne’s Marvel Stadium, Sydney’s SCG or the Adelaide Oval, wherever you’re visiting make sure to catch a match.
Dive into Europe
Often when we travel to Europe, we travel around and water polo is a popular and competitive sport in several European countries. For the uninitiated, this is a pool-based sport and no – it is not played with horses. The players, prohibited (by the rules and usually the pool depth) from touching the bottom must tread water for the full duration of the match. It’s a fast-paced game, with seven players in the pool for each team at any time and rolling subs. There’s a goal at either end of the pitch (the objective of each team) and, while physical contact off the ball is prohibited, it’s said that “anything the ref doesn’t see, goes” – usually taken to mean you can be aggressive towards your opponent, as long as it’s below the waterline.
If you can wait until 2020 for your European bonanza, you’re in for a treat: make sure you factor in Budapest in Hungary and you’ll be able to see Europe’s best competing at the European Water Polo Championships. We recommend brushing up on the rules before you go, though, if you want to make head, tail or ear protective hats of what’s going on.
North America’s ice-cold delights
If you’re staying in the Americas, we recommend watching as the NHL pitches Canada against its US neighbors in the ever-popular ice hockey. Whether attending means trying a new spectator sport at home or traveling to see a well-loved one elsewhere, one way to capture the competitive spirit on match day is to get involved in some of the fun in which a lot of fans. And you could double your money, as there are typical betting offers on for two $10 free bets when you wager $20 with Mr Green Sportsbook, which you can cash in whether you’re catching a live match at the rink or with friends (or strangers) at home or in bars.
To attend and to place a bet, you’ll need to know the schedule – and it’s certainly a full one, jam-packed from October through April.
Of course, this is a small selection of sports you could see on your tours. Do your research, find out when the season is, perhaps dabble in some sports betting – you’ll see your destination in its true form and have a super rewarding travel experience.