How Sports Teach Geography

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Part 2: Basketball and Soccer

It's the same thing in women's professional basketball. Let's say you're a fan of the Minnesota Lynx. They play in the Twin Cities area, Minneapolis-St. Paul. The Lynx would play the Houston Comets, the Sacramento Monarchs, the Portland Fire, the Indiana Fever, and other teams. The Lynx would travel to all those other cities to play games. You could trace their route from Minneapolis-St. Paul to Houston, Sacramento, etc.

Perhaps the most striking example of how sports teaches geography is in international sports. The World Cup is the perfect example. It's going on right now.

The World Cup, a international soccer tournament, is played in a different city around the world every four years. Let's say you live in Belgium. Your soccer team would be playing teams from Russia, Japan, and Tunisia. You could find these countries on the map. The World Cup matches are all being played in the same two countries, Korea and Japan, so you wouldn't have to trace the route your players would take (except from Belgium to Korea or Japan).

Other countries that have teams in the World Cup but that you don't often hear so much about are Cameroon, Slovenia, Ecuador, and Uruguay. Finding these countries on a map expands your knowledge of the world around you. Look up Slovenia and you find that it borders Austria, Hungary, Italy, and Croatia.

Now, you don't have to look up all these places to follow your favorite team. But it certainly is more fun that way. So next time the Giants, the Lynx, or whoever you like to cheer for is playing an away game, go to your map and find out where they're playing. You never know when you might need to know where that place is.

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David White