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Sports In Central America

 

The official flag for the country of Belize. (photo by Brandon Cohn)

Last week I had the opportunity to take a cruise to Central America and the Caribbean.  One of the places that my girlfriend and I visited was Belize.  It was a humbling experience to visit a place where the locals were rather friendly, emphasize education, have a hard work ethic, and are fans of various sports.

Belize is a small country in Central America that is about the size of Massachusetts.  It is bordered by Mexico to the north and Guatemala to the west.  It is known for its beautiful beaches and coastal islands called cayes.  Belize is world renown for its snorkeling and scuba diving, as it lies on the Caribbean Sea, and has the second largest barrier reef in the world.

 

This portion of the Mayan Ruins reminded me of an ancient Mayan stadium. The steps could have been used as seats for spectators, and they had a beautiful grass field to play a variety of sports on. (photo by Brandon Cohn)

The country was home to the Mayan civilization, and their ruins are quite a tourist attraction.  We visited the Altun Ha site which dates back to around 250 BC, and is located in the northern part of the country about 70 miles from the Mexican border.  What impressed me most about these magnificent structures was how well they were built, and their size.  This scene was rather interesting, and even looked like an ancient Mayan sports stadium which included massive structures with stairs around them, and a beautiful grass field as well.

 

After we visited the ruins, I had the opportunity to talk to some of the locals about sports.  I noticed that a local was wearing a Chicago Bulls jersey, and I asked him if he liked the Bulls.  He said yes, they love basketball in Belize.  Another gentleman was wearing an LA Lakers jersey.  He told me that he was a huge fan of the Lakers and loved the NBA as well.  I told him that the Lakers may acquire Dwight Howard, and he got really excited.

I also discussed soccer with a couple of the locals.  They expressed to me how much the country loves the sport and that they really don’t know that much about our version of football.  Visiting a country like Belize was an amazing experience for me.  It is always nice to visit another country and see what the people are like.  It was real interesting to hear what they had to say about sports that are popular here in the United States, and about their passion for soccer as well.  One thing that always crosses my mind when I travel is that people are similar in the sense that they are all trying to survive, yet different because of their cultural values and beliefs depending on where they live.

 

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