Football in Barbados

I am extremely pleasantly surprised at how popular football is in Barbados.  As part of the West Indies, you tend to think of it as a cricketing nation, so it’s great to come here and see people walking round Bridgetown in the shirts of their favourite football teams, in a bar watching a match on TV or kids kicking a ball to each other.

I should say that the pitches here, while covered with a good amount of grass, do indeed nearly always have a raised cricket square in the middle – not great if like me you’re a midfielder!  I should also say that I should have used the word ‘pasture’ instead of ‘pitch’.  Although in England that suggests a cow-filled meadow, over here that’s what you play on.

On the subject of football vocabulary, having a kick around is called a ‘scrimmage’, which brings to mind American Football, and as with tennis, ‘love’ is used instead of ‘nil’.  The goal is called ‘goal bars’ or just ‘bars’, so presumably if a Bajan kid says he likes being in bars, don’t discourage him – he’s not in the early stages of alcoholism, he just enjoys playing in goal!

Having spent the last few months in Africa, a similarity I noticed immediately was how many youngsters play barefooted.  However, the difference there is that although very few people had football boots, everyone wanted them.  Here everyone has either boots or trainers but is too lazy to carry them to school!  Incidentally, trainers here are known as ‘software’.  Or maybe it’s ‘softwear’ – I guess that would make more sense…

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