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View Full Version : Supporting a player because of nationality: good reason or stupid concept?


MLF
Jul 14th, 2002, 12:42 PM
I know this may have been covered ages ago but I can't remember.
Why do SOME ( not all ) people feel they have to support someone just because they share the same nationality?
I mean surely it's more logical to support a player based on their style of play, their personality or even their looks if that's what draws you to them. I mean chances are you could just meet someone you've been supporting because they simply have the same nationality and it could turn out that you think they are just a dickhead. That's why I've never understood things like Henmania or the Spanish Armada.

i-girl
Jul 14th, 2002, 12:51 PM
I think it's different if we're talking about a country that's got many tennis players, or many well-known athlets from any sports, and a country which has almost none.
in Israel, Anna S. is our only female tennis player, our only tennis player who has had any kind of real success, and for that matter, one of the very few Israeli athletes in any sport that is doing well internationally. how can we not support her:) ?
on the other hand, my fav is Lindsay and I like her for reasons that have nothing to do with her nationality. so I do think you're right when you say nationality isn't the main thing you care about when you support a player.

irma
Jul 14th, 2002, 12:56 PM
that's why I could never be fan of a team because the players the team sign might be jerks!
I always look if I like a sporter before he gets my support, no matter from wich country he/she is!

selesrules
Jul 14th, 2002, 01:03 PM
It's a stupid concept. Sometimes the player isn't a very nice person, yet people cheer for him/her JUST because they come from the same country. It's ridiculous. Also it's ridiculous that for example in the past, the French cheered Mary Pierce at Roland Garros when she's winning and then when she's losing they do the opposite. This whole "nationality" factor is all fake.

Alan
Jul 14th, 2002, 01:03 PM
THEY'RE SPORTS HEROES!

matthias
Jul 14th, 2002, 01:04 PM
my favorit players are german, but i donīt like all german players.

for me the reason is, i donīt know much about non-german players. i donīt know much about the style , her personality.
sure we know all about anna, but i think the media is manipulating so much.
but from german players i saw interviews after a match, or i saw many of them by tournaments, and i talked with few. and so i can decide easier to like or dislike them.

but i think to be a fan from a players because his/her nationality is okay.

but i donīt like people who starting to like players becasue they are "just" successfull.
we all know the bandwagon-jumpers. most of them donīt know anything about young rising players, nothing about her personilty or her style. but cheering for them cause they are successfull right now.

Kart
Jul 14th, 2002, 03:32 PM
I think that Henmania is more about just wanting to see a Brit win Wimbledon. Although the TV commentators just want to sing his praises all day long, for the public I think it's more about his chances than Tim himself (otherwise I can't understand it either - I can't stand him :mad: ).

Generally I suppose that it's all about a bit of national pride - it's like supporting England in the world cup, more the idea of the team than the players themselves. Maybe it depends on how much you want to see your fellow citizens succeed.

Also I think that i-girl has a good point - if you are from a country that is, in relative terms, under-represented in sport at the higher levels and you want to support your country you are a bit limited for choice.

Jakeev
Jul 14th, 2002, 03:45 PM
I don't think Nationlism is necessarily a bad thing as long as it does not involve extreme issues such as religion or ethnic backgrounds.

But to support an athlete from your own country I think is healthy. But this doesn't mean I support every player that comes out of our land.

TS
Jul 14th, 2002, 04:12 PM
Well I support the Aussie players, cos, well...they're Australian. So shoot me ;) Im happy for them when they do well. Also, hardly anyone else supports them so why not?. hehe
Why do people cheer for their countries in team sports such as World Cup?

I am a very patriotic person and I will always cheer for Aussies (yes, even Lleyton sometimes) cos Im proud of their achievements (but I agree with you David, if they are dickheads then stuff em!).

This goes the same for Greek athletes too. Take Eleni Daniilidou for example. I started taking notice of her 3 years ago cos I was so pleased to see a Greek girl doing well in the juniors and thought "Wouldnt it be great for her to help put tennis on the map in Greece?"...so yes, my initial motives of supporting her were her nationality (and hey can you blame me? How many sports stars does Greece have?)...but I can honestly say, having strongly supported her on the main tour for over a year now, her nationality really doesnt have much to do with it at all. Its Eleni the *person* and the *player* that I support first and foremost. Being Greek is just a bonus :p

If you want to support a fellow countryman/woman go right ahead! If you dont want to...then dont :p

Come-on-kim
Jul 14th, 2002, 04:17 PM
I generally support all Belgians!!!

But on my Top-5 favourite players I only have Kim in the first place, not Justine. I'm cheering for her because she's Belgian but I don't like her very much, if she plays against Jelena, I'll cheer for Jelena because she's my second favourite player!!

ßcoene
Jul 14th, 2002, 04:22 PM
I think you feel closer to people of your own country, you reed articles in the paper, you see interview on the television.
I'm from Belgium and my three favourite players are Clijsters, Henin and Kournikova. So that's two from Belgium. Clijsters is such a nice girl, she has great fighting spirit, Henin has the game I really love watching to, so they are my favourites because I like them and because I know them well.
I have a lot of other favourites from different country.

Volcana
Jul 14th, 2002, 04:27 PM
It's just another form of group identification. As long as you're using it to cheer FOR players, not AGAINST players, I'm totally fine with it.

There are pepole who root for short players. That doesn't make them 'anti-tall'. It doesn't mean they have a problem with people who root for tall players.
Do Henman's fans who root for him cause he's a Brit have a problem with Marat Safin's fan's who root for him cause he's Russian? Of course not.

Look at me. I root for Black players, but if youwant to set up a website to cheer for White players, I'll be totally happy to tell you how to do it for free. (Though since 95% of the players ARE white, the SanexWTA board kinda takes care of that for you.)

Suppose you cheer for Jewish players. Does that mean youhave a problem with people who root for Muslim players? Why should it?

The derivation of 'fan' is 'fanatic', not 'reasonable person'.

As long as you're rooting for, not against, I could care less if root for Guga cause you like his hair. It may not be rational, but why does it need to be?

Hidden Stillness
Jul 14th, 2002, 04:49 PM
I also think this is a really interesting topic and huge potential problem for world sports (and etc.)--that people don't just cheer for their own group, but set themselves against others, and attack. It was like an over-identification with the player, hanging on to them as if their accomplishments were your own, (you who have done nothing), because it was the "same group." Then when you have so many anonymous fans ready to attack for the "cause," as all of the idiots on this website who vilify women as "bitches" when no other group gets this treatment, and you have it escalating already.
It doesn't have to be that way, as the poster from Israel referred to: that because Anna Smashnova is the only world-class level player, a lot of people hope she'll win. As an American, though, the situation is the opposite: I sometimes get sick of Americans, and worry that people around the world get sick of us too. Also, Americans seem just ordinary to me, and I would rather hear from other people sometimes. A similar thing (potential problem) might be the "U-S-A!" chant. When I first heard that, years ago, I was horrified--it sounded so belligerant and obnoxious, threatening, like "Heil, Hitler!" and I thought of people hating us "shoving their faces in it" again, and every time it would start up, I'd think "Stop that goddamned chant!" It was so embarrassing and vulgar to me. Then a few years ago--I can't remember what event it was--I heard it go up again, but for some reason this event was so fun and positive that I heard it a new way, and got into the swing of it, so I knew that it didn't necessarily have to come from a hostile attitude. Still hate it, though.
It is harder to get people to show some real regard for others than for themselves, though: I recently tried to start a thread, Favorite Nationality (For Players) or something like that, where I deliberately did not want people to name their own, but to tell which one other than their own is their favorite (mine is Czechs). It got very little response, and only two replies, one of which did what I asked not to do, and named their own nationality (Spanish). Of course, there are many reasons why a thread doesn't take off.
One of the greatest things about women's tennis is all the different kinds of people there are, but sooner or later these things are generally made the basis of an attack.

earthcrystal
Jul 14th, 2002, 05:56 PM
Hidden Stillness, enjoyed your post.

As an American (currently flying the U.N. flag) I certainly understand the worry re: the "Ugly American" and what the few demonstrate to the world as to who "we" are.

I prefer to think of myself as a "global citizen". I truly believe that nationalism is one of the roots of evil in the world. People blind themselves to the failings of their governments, sports "stars", etc all in the name of identifying with and feeling a part of a group that they think somehow makes them "better" than other "groups" (i.e. countries, teams, players, etc). I've never really understood this, and I don't suppose I ever will.

As someone whose ancestry spans four continents, perhaps it's easier for me. To attain an understanding of a variety of perspectives, I mean. I simply can't imagine feeling an allegiance to just one.

fresh2flash
Jul 14th, 2002, 06:04 PM
The answer may be very simple. When a person roots for a player he, in that way or another, identify himself with that player. To make it on the basis of the nationality is the easiest way.

Raj
Jul 14th, 2002, 06:28 PM
National pride, thats the answer.
Its all a bit of fun at the end of the day.
Lets look at HENMAN fans, they only come out once a year in Wimbledon, most do not even know what events he plays for the rest of the year. They are what you can all CASUAL FANS.
CASUAL FANS are the ones that normally always go for nationality, if you know about the players in detail then its different.

irma
Jul 14th, 2002, 06:32 PM
well sid(from another board) supports him all year;)

ys
Jul 14th, 2002, 07:05 PM
It is not nearly as pathetic as supporting , say, because of race.. Individual sports is a strange thing. Why would you support a player? Because of personal attraction? That's also pathetic.. Because you like player's game? But what if you don't like player's personality, or even more, have no idea about player's personality?

It also differs from country to country. For instance, supporting player for Germans, French, Swedes, Russians, Czechs is only natural, because you support a player who is a product of the same culture, speak the same language. But when Americans support, say, Seles because she represents USA, or Brits support Rusedski or Baltacha because they represent GB, that's 100% nationalistic, no question about that, because those players are imports and have little to do with national culture or anything. It is much less natural than, say, Yugoslavs still supporting Seles because she is from the same country as themselves, or Ukrainians supporting Baltacha, or Canadians supporting Rusedski.

disposablehero
Jul 14th, 2002, 07:30 PM
Originally posted by Jakeev
I don't think Nationlism is necessarily a bad thing as long as it does not involve extreme issues such as religion or ethnic backgrounds.

Attempted murder in the name of "sports nationalism" is also an extreme issue.

Nimi
Jul 14th, 2002, 07:35 PM
here in Israel we need something to hang on to. we are so lucky to have Anna :)

Flappie
Jul 14th, 2002, 09:05 PM
I really dont care about nationality!

I just look if theyīre hot or not!...just kidding;)

-Sonic-
Jul 14th, 2002, 09:35 PM
With Henmania is definately not about Tim himself, but a British win.

I think nationalistic supporting is totally valid, but it can get tired every now and then (highlighting and colouring ur faves names when u post a draw, anyone? ). Once you've made ur decision whether to like a group (e.g. Brits) i think you go deeper and disect it (e.g. don't like tim cos he's a tit or cos he has weird teeth but like greg cos he's cool or whatever) and refine the list, so you're not just blindly following for no particular reason.

Plus, you might just want ur country to get some recognition and joy. I don't like Tiny Tim but I think a wimbledon win for him would do good things for the sport here, so wouldn't be crying or angry if he won.

As long as it doesn't become an "us versus them" kinda thing (which is blatently is for some people/groups), its alright. Positive encuoragement can only be good.

Lisbeth
Jul 14th, 2002, 11:53 PM
I agree exactly with Iva's #1 Fan. We Aussies tend to bond around our sporting heroes and who's going to support them if we don't? I suppose Americans don't feel this way because there are just so many Americans. (Incidentally, I think this is why so many people from other countries might tend to support other non-Americans too.)

This is not "bad" patriotism because our tradition here is, the bigger our sporting rivalry with another nation, the closer our diplomatic friendship. So eg New Zealand, we have incredibly close ties with (trade, defence, even paying social security to each other's citizens) but our cricket, netball and rugby matches against them draw the fiercest patriotism. I guess we Aussies just see the whole world as one big friendly backyard sporting event!

Volcana
Jul 15th, 2002, 02:21 AM
Number1Kim - Americans not supporting Americans is more the norm than the exception, at least in the WTA. But its also a recent phenomenon. And the reason is not, I think, the sheer number of Americans.

1) Sexism. These are women. The rules are different, starting with ....

2) Race. There are a lot of white tennis fans who just don't like two Black women ruling the sport.

3) Fat. Lindsay Davenport has had a Hall of Fame career. She's barely be known outside of hardcore tennis circles. And the mian reason is her weight. Not that she's overwieght NOW, but when she came on tour she was, and Madison Avenue has no use for that. Neither do a lot of sports fans.

4) Champs only. Americans can forget you quickly when you stop winning.

5) 'Real' Americans - Martina Navratilova and Monica Seles. Some people don't root as hard for non-native born players. See Greg Rudeski and the Brits.

6) 'Dual' nationality - A lot of Americans are from other countries or have relatives there. Often, they root for the players form those countries, rather than the players from the USA.

Remember, Americans rooted for BJK, for Rosie Casals, Chris Evert, Tracy Austin, Andrea Jaeger and Jenni C.

But Martina and Monica were both foreign born, and Martina was gay. Neither got the unconditional support Chris Evert got. Lindsay just wasn't pretty enough, sexy enough, marketable enough. Worse, she won her first GS title after photogs discovered Kournikova. Then came the Williams sisters, which mostly served to remind us that race is still an issue in American pro tennis, if we were so unaware as to forget that fact.

There simply aren't any native-born, white, skinny, dominant American female players. Send one along, and watch as suddenly 'Americans' are rooting for 'Americans' again.

Lisbeth
Jul 15th, 2002, 02:57 AM
Very interesting points Volcana - thanks. I didn't know a lot of that. Sounds a bit depressing.

I don't think that's the case here so much, at lease everyone seems to support our Aboriginal/ otherwise non-white/ immigrant/ homosexual athletes without too much fuss in most cases, even when they are not thin and cute. Probably more in sport than in life generally actually. Maybe it's the plus side of being from a small country that we generally don't have the option to reject our representatives because there aren't enough of them!