Cultural and sporting events both possess strengths in the area of promoting community within an environment. The atmosphere created by each is a key factor in the ability of these events to foster community spirit within a region. These activities also contribute to the building of communities in other areas, such as financial economic development. Yet, the ways in which these two types of events do this are vastly different.
The exploration of these methods, the different atmospheres created, as well as their impact on the community will offer insight into the contribution that sporting and cultural events make to community and society as a whole. One of the major differences to be found between sporting and cultural events is in the dominant motive for the existence of each. Sporting events are generally driven by the profit motive, and as such are often spectator events. People come mainly to view the games and cheer for given teams.
If however, such a team is doing badly on the regional or international scene, members of the community might lose interest in attending that particular event. The sense of community that arises as a result of sporting events is therefore vastly different from that which comes about as a result of a cultural event. During a sport event, supporters of two or more teams are usually present. This creates a strong divide between those who support one team and those who are in favour of its rival.
The tension present between these teams, though usually kept under control, does have the potential to create hostility and thereby shatter the community spirit. However, where there is healthy rivalry present, community spirit can be promoted and solidified at the end of the event when respect for the victorious team is freely given by its rival and their supporters. Also, in such cases where an underdog team triumphs, newly found appreciation for that team has the potential of strengthening the ties between the different communities involved—locally, regionally and internationally.
In contrast, cultural events are usually traditional and annual events with little tension derived from competition. They are not necessarily driven by the profit motive, and supporters are usually quite loyal in their attendance. Some examples of such cultural events are Independence Day functions (in some countries), coronation services, arts and theatre events such as ballets, symphonies, and oratorios.
The community of attendants to such events usually exists in a much more relaxed state, and because of the common traditions that are usually the progenitors of such an event, the attendants at a cultural event are usually more inclined to agree, share, and talk about the occurrences at such events. They share and enjoy a common enjoyment as they experience similar emotions in conjunction with the events. The ability of cultural events to promote community can further be seen in such artistic and cultural projects that promote the lifestyle and origins of certain cultures that might have been marginalised in society.
Aboriginal culture shows and other minority showcases have the potential of making visible certain aspects of ethnic/minority culture that might have been ignored in former times (Fraser, 2006). Members of the majority have the opportunity of showing interest in these cultural aspects of the lives of marginalised members of society, and this has the advantage of creating and solidifying relationships among different members of a diverse society.
Sporting events also have the capacity to do this. Allowing diversity to infiltrate sporting events promotes social inclusion and a stronger sense of community. Because sporting events are primarily viewed events (as opposed to participatory events) the persons who form the teams have the opportunity to set an example of inclusion and tolerance and thereby promote such community-building practices in the wider regions to which spectators belong.
In the final analysis, it might appear that the cultural activities and events do a bit more than sporting events to promote community, as they offer very little occasion for rivalry. However, the ability of sporting events to promote community through inclusion and the potential for increased respect should not be overlooked. Reference Fraser, J. (2006). “Indigenous artistes at the Woodford Folk. ” Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Online. Retrieved on January 21, 2007 from http://www. abc. net. au/message/blackarts/culture/s1658207. htm