One of the best things about sports is the way they bring people together. Teammates, coaches and fans can all develop friendships and positive relationships. This trend exists all over the world - sports are not only a way to improve your physical and athletic skills, but also a social activity. They create a language of their own, a sort of global sports community.
Hockey: Hockey is truly an international game. While the best players in the world play professionally in North America, it is extremely popular in Europe, especially in Russia, Sweden and the Czech Republic. If you glance at an NHL roster, you'll see players from many different countries. They may not all speak the same language, but by playing together every day, they are able to understand each other on the ice.
Basketball: Professional basketball was long dominated by American players. Now, it's becoming an increasingly global game. Pau Gasol from Spain, Yao Ming from China and Manu Ginobli from Argentina are just three All-Stars who are helping to spread the game's popularity. Many professional leagues have sprouted up in Europe, Asia and Australia. More and more, NBA scouts are going overseas to find talented players. And as the talent pool gets deeper and deeper, the quality of pro basketball games is only going to get better.
Baseball: Baseball is America's National Pastime, but now it's growing into one of the world's most popular pastimes. It is an extremely popular game in Japan, and great Major League players like Ichiro and Hideki Matsui have paved the way for other talented Japanese players to play pro ball. In last spring's World Baseball Classic, the Netherlands had a surprisingly good team, showing that the sport is also developing a strong following in Europe.
Soccer: More athletes across the world play soccer than any other sport. It is truly a global phenomenon. Every four years, every sports fan on earth turns their attention to the World Cup, which brings dozens of countries together for a common purpose.
Sports can serve to bridge language barriers by bringing people together who might not otherwise get to know each other. They create friendships across borders and give the whole world something to cheer for.
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