We have had the opportunity to see multiple sports events while being here in Florida. University of Florida Gators offer sports entertainment every week, and we have enlarged our sport experiences here to American Football and Baseball. Baseball was easy to follow since its rules are pretty similar to Finnish Baseball but American Football was bit of a mystery for us. Too bad the actual football season here is in fall term, so there was only this one extra Gator game. We still have Lacrosse and Softball to go before the season is over!
What is very different here compared to Finland, are the sports fans. They are just awesome! Everybody has a Gator shirt and the spectators really cheer for their team. The whole atmosphere is fantastic here. In Finland most of the spectators just either sit back and watch and maybe cheer when someone scores. In some games, especially in ice hockey, we have those hardcore fans that devote their energy to insult the referees and opposing team instead of cheering for their own team. It really ruins the whole experience if you end up sitting next to one of these guys.
University sports is something extraordinary here in USA. It replaces our sports clubs structure and runs many disciplines, and is followed by the whole community. In Gainesville, Gators is the team and club for everyone, they represent all sports and provide sporting events all year round for residents and citizens. Here sports are very essential part of the culture. You don’t necessarily participate in sports yourself but you go and see multiple sports. It does not have to be the number one sport you only go and see but multiple sports. Sports events are social events for the whole family and friends. We Finns could really improve our sports fan culture a bit!
Tailgating Florida Gators has been one of the best parts of our adventure in Gainesville! In addition to, of course, Gainesville High Hurricanes where my daughter has played basketball and done track & field.