China Day 14 (Tianjin)
After today's lecture about E-business in China, we made a visit to the U of M & Tianjin Cultural Center for Sports. We took a bigger bus to get there because many of the Chinese students from Nankai joined us today, which was nice. Once we got there we meet up with Daniel Konald, who was one of the program coordinators. He was from Minnesota. At first we talked about the cultural differences in sports between America and China. Americans tend to play sports much more than the Chinese, and the sports we play are oftentimes much more contact oriented. In China, the three most popular sports are Table Tennis, Badminton and Basketball. In comparison, the three most popular sports in America are Basketball, Football, and Baseball. We then talked about girls in sports and how there is a disparity in the amount of girls that play sports versus the amount of boys that do such. In America, 1 in 3 girls is active in sports. The ratio of boys to girls that play sports are about 5 to 3. After we had a little lecture about sports, we got to go out and see some of the sports that people majored in at this Sports University. The first sport we got to go see is Dragon Boating. The story behind this is that there was a famous Chinese man who gave many suggestions to the emperor but his suggestions got turned down. He then killed himself in a lake so the Chinese went out in their dragon boats and threw rice into the lake to feed the dragon so that the dragon would not feed on the deceased Chinese man. The difference between a dragon boat and your standard row boat is that there is a drum on the dragon boat that is usually located near the back of the boat. The folklore behind this is that pounding the drums would terrify the dragon under the lake so that the Chinese could traverse the waters safely. Consequently, their is dragon boat race in China every summer around May and the fastest rowing team is crowned champions and given a reward. This is very honorable to the Chinese. We got to see some students doing this and they were very good at it. After that, we got to go see some Chinese dancers. We saw multiple different groups that showed us basic maneuvers in Ancient Chinese dance. Eventually, we got to dance with a group of girl Chinese dancers and we got a certificate the congratulated us for making an ass out of ourselves compared to these brilliant dancers. Then we got to go see a martial arts show. This was really impressive and some of the performers were very talented. Finally, we got to go play badminton. We went to a court that had about 10 different nets and we got whooped by the Chinese students. In China, after middle school they highly emphasize studying and do not emphasize sports really at all. The people that weren't so great at studying go into different fields, such as sports. Therefore, all the students there were majors at what they were doing, be it dance, kung-fu, or badminton. There is very limited space in China too so they don't have Parks and Recreation like we do in the United States. This was a very fun day and I was sweating hard by the time we got out. Nothing like a good day of sports!