Brazilian are very involved in sports. Football is the most popular one, but there are many more. The sport events in Brazil are part of the culture. People are used to practicing different sports. It is more frequently on the coast like Rio de Janeiro, Salvador de Bahia or Natal. Brazilians love competition, that’s why they get very motivated when they participate in a championship. It is also related to the concern for the physical and the aesthetic of the body. In Rio de Janeiro you can find public machines to practice sports around the city. Young people like to play sports in front of the beach: bodybuilding exercises, jogging, biking, etc. Brazilian youth know how important is the sport to have a healthy life. Life in Brazil take place on the streets, they eat on the street, they sing and dance on the streets, they practice sports on the streets. Then, sports become one more natural activity during the day. Almost everybody practices sports because it is part of their lifestyle. Further, children grow up on the streets feeling the nature while they play with each other, walking and running. In consequence, that makes them very sporty.
It is interesting to know which sports practice Brazilian youth. If you are a sport-man or sport-woman, maybe you have already found your next destination. Which sports are the most popular in this country? The most famous ones are Football Soccer and Volleyball, Brazilian Martial Arts, Water Sports and Climbing. Football is the first on the list. Children grow up playing on the streets, even in the poorest neighborhood. That’s why there are some football players who came from the favela. Why soccer is so important in the favela? First, they just need a ball, so we can affirm it is a very cheap sport. Second, the physical condition is very important when you practice a sport. Brazilian learn to run before to walk. Third, and last, soccer is the most famous sport around the world. Brazilian football players are working in the European champions league, considerate the best one. So, they are a reference for youth who want to improve their lives. Brazil has the team with the most World Cup titles. When there is a football competition, national or international, everybody supports the team. If Brazil wins an international championship, people get crazy on the streets celebrating the victory.
Others like Volleyball is popular as well. Brazil has won many World Tours and taken medals in the Olympic Games. Brazilian Martial Art is very important as a sport in Brazil. The most popular ones are Capoeira and Jiu-Jitsu. These sports start to be more international in other countries since some years ago. For example, in other Latin countries like Colombia and Ecuador, you can find Jiu-Jitsu schools. However, it is not so common in Europe, just a few people really know this sport. Nevertheless, it is not happening the same with Capoeira. Many people have seen at least once an exhibition, or mostly know what is about. Water sports are also very common on the coast. The most practiced ones are surf and paddle surf. It is very usual to find beaches where there are young people just surfing since the waves are quite large. The last one is the less famous on the list but one of the most excited one, climbing. Brazil is full of mountains around, that’s why many people practice rock climbing. It is also a spontaneous event when people organize their own adventure with friends. One of the most famous mountains is ¨Morro Dois Irmãos¨ (brother mountains), located in Rio de Janeiro. They are not the highest mountains, but the most inclined, that’s why it not so easy to climb. Anyway, many tourist people go ahead living this amazing experience. It is great how the sport become a way for young people to get new relationships. Sport plans have become a potential socializer, an alternative of free time thought healthy events.
But, why the sports are so important in Brazil? We saw the physical reason is one of them, but it is not the only one. I said before there are referents or models of people who they grew up in the favela, but they got famous because of the sports. The sports can serve as a trampoline from the favela to the podium of champions. It is not easy to reach success, as you can guess, but the possibility of success keeps people with hope. Let’s give some examples of successful people in this area. Rebeca Andrade, the Brazilian gymnast, trains since she was five. Her mother was a housekeeper and she walked to work every day for paying the training of her daughter. Some years later, Rebeca got a job offer from the famous sports club called Flamengo, in Rio de Janeiro. Others, like Pelé, Romario or the fighter Anderson Silva are examples of this social trampoline. Currently, they are internationally recognized as some of the best athletes in the world. As the historian, Marcel Tonini, from the University of San Paulo, explains: “In sports, rich and poor face each other from the same lever o position”. Cosme Rimoli, a sport Brazilian journalist, says that when people are poor, with no expectation, they get angry and furious, this is exactly what motivate people to find a solution to get out of poverty. However, it seems this is just an utopia. In the 90% of the cases, the sport is not useful for social ascent. Tonini considers this myth is counterproductive because it discards other aspects which have been important in the country in other areas, like for example when Abdias Nascimento became the first black Senator in Brazil. It seems there are other important ways to get a social ascent apart from sports.
Anyway, it is important keeping young people motivated to solve their social problems using any kind of healthy way for it. Even if it not enough without the support of the governments, it is admired how people can get stronger to get out of a bad situation.