Why is the situation of sport promotions in the US better than in Germany?
This article deals with the different situations of sports clubs at Bartow High School (FL, United States of America) and Maerkische Schule (Germany).
There are differences in kind of sports and also in sport facilities. In Germany sports clubs are not related to the schools and they are independent organisations. In Bartow most of the sports are managed by school and many sports take place at school or in the school sport facilities. But why do the Americans offer the opportunity to do sports at school? Why is it different in Germany? Is sports in the US probably more important than in Germany? The following texts will deal with this topic.
Comparison of the kinds of sports in both countries
- Fussball (SG Wattenscheid 09, Schwarz-Weiss Wattenscheid 08, VfB Guennigfeld, FC Neuruhrort, SV Hoentrop, DJK Wattenscheid)
- Basketball (Astro Stars)
- Handball (TV Wattenscheid 01: €48.00/a; VfB Guennigfeld)
- Tennis (RW Wattenscheid)
- Volleyball (TB Hoentrop 1887, TVK Wattenscheid)
- Badminton (Wattenscheider Badminton Club 1974, WTC)
- Tischtennis (DJK Wattenscheid)
- Leichtathletik (TV Wattenscheid 01)
- Schwimmen (SV Delphin 58: €70.00/a)
- Reiten (Reitverein Wattenscheid, Gaensereiten)
- Soccer (BHS)
- Baseball (BHS)
- Football (BHS)
- Swimming (BHS)
- Horseback riding
- Basketball (BHS)
- Volleyball (BHS)
- Cheerleading (BHS)
Students of both nations are educated in PE but it is an optional subject in the US. In contrast, it is obligatory for German students.
Kind of sports and sport facilities
At Bartow High School you can choose from one of the different clubs such as for example Football, Soccer or Cheerleading. In Germany you also choose from different clubs but those are not related to a school. You go there after school in your free time. Moreover some sports are not as popular as they are in Florida. You will not find a lot of Baseball or Football clubs in Germany. On the other hand people do not play Handball in Florida, sometimes people have not even heard of this sport.
There are different times for practices. In Germany it is always after school and in your free time, in Florida\at Bartow High School kids sometimes have to skip classes and must go to their practices. In general sport is way more part of the school at Bartow High School.
Bartow High School’s gymnasiums are used by a lot of its sport clubs. If there is a suitable gym for this sport it is used for it. For example the Volleyball club uses the same gym as the Basketball team.
In Germany it is completely different. Since the sport clubs are not related to the schools they do not use their gymnasiums all the time. However clubs often use schools‘ gyms but they change them of use several schools. So for example they use School A on Monday and School B on Thursday where as in Florida clubs use only School A on Monday and Thursday.
But on the other side both Maerkische Schule and Bartow High School do not have a pool for swimming classes of teams.
In Germany there are a lot of sport centers which contain gyms and/or pools. Although these centers do not belong to schools, the schools use them. Not only can the schools and clubs use theses gymnsasiums and pools but also can everyone use them for a small amount of money.
First of all the practice schedule. In American (or at least at Bartow High School) there is practice five days a week after school for about an hour or an hour and a half. In Germany you usually do not have that many practices in a week. It is usually about one/two or three times a week for an hour or an hour and a half. As already mentioned these practices take place at school or near the school or in Germany at any random pool.
Let’s talk about clothing next.
In Germany it depends on the club. Some clubs will offer you clothes for free, some will give you a discount and some let you pay the whole price. In Bartow it is the same, too. But the support of clubs depends on the popularity of the sports. For example the football team gets all the equipment and the dance group has to pay for everything on its own (Anastasia Northup (16), David Veytia (16)).
Once you are at practice it is about the same in both countries. There is a coach and several students who swim. At Bartow High School this coach is usually not a teacher, where as in Germany some coaches are teachers for physical education at local schools.
When you have practiced the next step is to compare yourself with the others.
In both countries there are competitions in different kind of sports. For example the swim competitions in Florida are there every week during summer and fall. In Germany there are competitions every four weeks. So the competitions in Bartow are more often than in Bochum. The competition itself is not very different.
The football sport is very celebrated in America. The games in Bartow are very popular and everybody watches them. There are three different clubs which are brought together at football games: The music bands, the cheerleaders and of course the footballers. These games support the school spirit because more than only one club work together to win and represent the school as well as possible. In Germany there are no comparable events and the school spirit is not as good as in Bartow because in Bochum we do not have any school teams that have to support their school and try hard to make it looking good.
Not only is the football field used for different sports but it is also used for the band. The band performs in breaks during the football game.
Sport facilities and equipment
Here in Bartow, there are many sport facilities nearby school, as e.g. a football stadium, fields for baseball, softball, soccer, basketball and volleyball and a swimming pool. In addition to that, the basketball and volleyball teams can also use the school gymnasium.
Photo: Katharina S.
The majority of the sport facilities are financed by local companies or private sponsors. Therefore several advertisements are placed at these places.
Cleaning and maintenance are provided by the Bartow Highschool.
If the school furnishes the athletes with the necessary equipment and other clothes, depends on the kind of of sport. As the football team gains a lot of money by selling tickets for their matches, the BHS spends this money on their equipment, so they get everything for free. In contrast, most students who do a different sport (e.g. swimming or dancing) have to pay for that themselves. Nevertheless, the school bears the costs partially in some cases. Additionally, school buses can be used to drive to competitions that take place far away, however, this is not always the case.
Due to the fact that sport is really popular, the clubs are supported by the school administration. Furthermore there are fundraising campaigns to earn extra money. Many pupils advocate for their sport and live a strong team spirit!
The trainers, who are mostly teachers of the BHS, live the sport. Therefore they do not work just for the money, but mainly for the team and the will to win every game. They try to act as a role model and support the team as much as possible.
Since sport clubs are not related to school, the local sport facilities aren’t nearby school either. However, there are more opportunities to do sports. The sport centers are often times multipurpose facilities, e.g. the Lorheide Stadion. Here one has the possibility to do: Soccer, handball and in- and outdoor athletics as running, hammer throw, long jump. Another one of this kind of multipurpose sports centers is the WTC, which offers five indoor soccer pitches, six badminton and two tennis courts, a hall for dancing and aerobics, and two outdoor beach volleyball pitches. In addition to that, it includes a fitness studio, too. In contrast to Bartow, these sport facilities are owned by companies (e.g. the WTC) or the town (e.g. Lorheide Stadion). Due to this, they can’t be used for free and a soccer pitch of the WTC for example costs about €36.00 per hour. If it is property of the town, the usage of e.g. a stadium is only allowed to certain clubs in most cases. Being member in sports club means also paying a regular membership fee, what isn’t really usual for American clubs. Nevertheless, doing sport is popular though. “
The supply of equipment depends on the sport and the sort of equipment. In order to this, soccer clubs provide their player mostly with jerseys, shorts, socks and a tracksuit, but players have to get shoes on their own. The teams are trained by skilled coaches, who are employees of the clubs. To be allowed to train a team, it requires a special trainer certification.
Comparison: German and American exchange students
Do the American or the German students do more sports? Which kind of sport do the exchange students prefer?
All the Americans do much sport at school especially football and cheerleading. That is the stereotype we have for American schools. But is that really true? A survey shall show the situation of sports in the Bartow-Bochum Exchange. We asked all the students being part of the exchange about the sports they play – with a surprising result:
90% of the German students do a sport but only 50% of the American students play one. Maybe the American students doing a sport are less interested in being part of an exchange. And maybe they have less time for things like that because they are practicing more often than the students in Germany. For example the football team practices from „Monday to Thursday“ (David Veytia, 16)
The most surprising result is that only one of the American students is a cheerleader and only one plays football. And they are both girls so there is no stereotype footballer. Instead of playing football 15% of the Americans play soccer, only one girl out of 20 Germans plays soccer. So does soccer become more popular in America and less in Germany or does this result just depend on the individual preferences of the exchange students? This might probably be true because the football games are celebrated very much.
In both countries the girls do more sports than the boys, in Bochum every girl does a sport and almost 70% of the boys. In Bartow 55% of the girls and 44% of the boys play a sport.
Four out of 20 American exchange students do two sports that is 40% of the Americans who do a sport. In contrast in Germany seven students do more than one sport that is also nearly 40%.
20% of the Americans and also Germans do swimming. In both countries it is at least one of the most popular sports. Swimming does not need that much space and in both countries the pools are already there. When there is no practice or competition the pools can be opened for the public and the city can earn some money. That might be a reason why in both countries the opportunities to swim are given and used. In addition to that in Bochum handball is also with 20% the most done sport. In contrast to that no American exchange student plays handball and many have not even heard of it.
The following sport in Bartow is soccer (15%). The other sports are just done by one person. In Germany there is more than only one sport in second place. Three out of twenty students dance, play tennis or go to fitness studios. None of the Americans does these sports. In Bochum there are two students playing badminton.
All in all there are nine different sports in Bartow and thirteen in Bochum. Three sports like swimming, soccer and volleyball are done by both countries and the others are just played by America or Germany. In Bochum the students e.g. play tennis, handball, badminton and they do jogging, athletics, etc. In America the students play e.g. frisbee, baseball and go fishing.
What is the difference in all these sports? Is there a difference? Maybe sports like fishing depend on the landscape. In Bochum there are not as many opportunities to go fishing as in Bartow because there live more people on a smaller area. The people live not that spread out with lakes between them. The sports in America mostly need much space like baseball or also flag-football. Bochum has more houses and less place to build big stadiums. It could only be around the city and that would mean long traveling times. Not many people are ready to drive a long time to get to their sports. And building these stadiums would mean a lot of costs. In Bochum there are not many people ready to spend a lot of money in sports especially when this sport is not very popular in Germany. Jogging is easier because you can run everywhere e.g. in some parks we have or just around the houses. We have got special gymnasiums for badminton but they can also be used for dancing or other sports done in gyms. Football needs a special stadium and can not be practiced in our normal stadiums. These special conditions for football create the costs nobody wants to pay for – so there is no football (and baseball) in Bochum.
In Bartow these stadiums are expensive to build, too. But in America sports like baseball and football are traditional. And the sports are more popular so that more people want to see it. They are normal and the stadiums already exist because many people like and play these sports. Even if a lot of American exchange students do not play football, we met many students doing it. The homecoming football game showed the popularity of football in America and the exchange students were there, too. Maybe many Americans prefer watching football and not to play it themselves.
Suggestions to improve the situation of sport promotions in both countries
Sports should be more supported by the cities and the state. If the state supported the little clubs more with for example money, equipment or even advertising, more teenagers would do sports and have fun in their clubs. Not every family is able to pay the membership fee, so if the clubs were more supported, those kids could do sports, too.
Moreover, the local newspapers should report about the competitions, so that everybody knows what happens. If sports were more advertised, more people would be interested in doing sports and the team spirit would be strengthened.
If sports were more promoted, more people would come to see competitions. That would enhance the team spirit.
The different kinds of sports should be more equated. Football is the most popular sport. It is most advertised and sponsored. Many Bartow students believe, there is not enough attention of their sport, they feel disadvantaged. The Football team gets most of their equipment for free, but that is not correct for the other kinds of sport, e.g. swimming.
An other point is that the main attention should be drawn on the school and not on the sports. Many students, even from Germany, share the opinion that the educations occurs in the background.
Written by: Eva Herdering, Philipp Rohlmann, Julia Schnittker, Katharina Stiller, Jonas Wunsch
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