Episode 12: Sports, The Universal Language

Hi all!

Morgan here, taking a post from my own personal website and using it as this weeks Study Abroad post, considering it accurately relates to both. Some quick background if you don’t already know: I plan on going into the field of sport psychology and hope to one day start a business/organization called BalanceYouthSports, focused on the important impact of youth sports on future development. A little less than a year ago, I started a website aimed at shedding light on this very initiative. If you are interested in learning more please visit Balanceyouthsports.com, otherwise enjoy the read! Keep on keeping on and living that American Dream, while I’m over here living my European one!

Over and out,


Sports: The Universal Language

Like I’ve mentioned before, sports (and Balance) are never far from my mind. Despite this obvious passion of mine, I’ve tried to take a step back these past few months and focus on some other things in order to embrace all that the world has to offer without any particular scope or frame of mind. With that said this past weekend, on one of my escapades, the power of sports practically jumped out and slapped me in the face…reminding me why I want to spend my life building BalanceYouthSports. So, naturally, I felt the need to share it with you all.

A fellow Badger (shout out to Emma Bare) and I found ourselves in the land of castles this last weekend; a place filled with beauty, charm and loads of Royal landmarks, sights and scenery. Although still very apparent, the typical fairytale feel that is so characteristic of Edinburgh, Scotland was temporarily overpowered by…yup, you guessed it, SPORTS.

Let’s backtrack a bit. A day earlier, Emma and I were collectively confused as to why Galway seemed so busy when we were walking to the bus station on our way to the airport. The city was FILLED with people of all ages, a tad unusual for a casual Thursday afternoon in Galway. Maybe there was some random Irish holiday being celebrated that weekend that us foreigners were unaware of? But that was merely speculation. Although still curious, we dropped the subject once we were on the bus and focused on our impending trip. The next day in Edinburgh however, we were presented with a similar vibe. Within 5 minutes of walking up and down the infamous “Royal Mile” (the main street running through the city, book-marked by Edinburgh Castle on one end and Holyrood Palace on the other) Emma and I both pointed out how busy it seemed. We also found it odd that there was a disproportionate amount of Welsh people walking around who, displaying their Welsh flags and wearing evident Welsh apparel, were very clearly proud of it. Did we fall asleep and somehow wake up in Wales? Because that’s what it felt like, but soon it all made sense thanks to our informative taxi driver. The crowds in both Ireland and Scotland were due to important Rugby matches taking place, whose outcomes would decide which teams continued onto the 2017 finals. No wonder we struggled to find a hotel in Edinburgh last minute, people had been anticipating this weekend for months! Considering Emma and I were both competitive athletes and current sports fans who attend a huge athletic University, I don’t know how we didn’t put two and two together sooner. Once we realized it though, it was so incredibly obvious. From then on walking up and down the Royal Mile eerily reminded me of walking up and down State Street on a Badger game day. Because I have put sports on the backburner for a bit and because I have only experienced the sports atmosphere in America, I don’t think I even realized that they could have the same incredible impact in a foreign country.

But that’s exactly the point. As you all know I’m a firm believer that everything happens for a reason, and I don’t think that I ended up traveling to Edinburgh on this particular weekend by happenstance. It served as a reminder; a reiteration that sports are truly a universal language. Although I know absolutely NOTHING about Rugby (but intend to change that while I’m here), I still felt like I could walk into any of the rowdy pubs that Friday night, pick a team to cheer for, and feel right at home high-fiving and fist-bumping my fellow “fans” having the time of my life doing it. Whether you are an expert or a newbie, a gifted athlete or somebody who has never picked up a ball, puck or stick in your life, an American or a Scot…sports don’t care. Anybody can still be a fan and participate in the one-of-a-kind atmosphere that the sporting world provides. In my short 21 years, I have never seen anything bring people together quite like sports do. I may not speak Rugby, but I sure do speak sports…and that was enough to appreciate all that was going on in Edinburgh last weekend. So thank you Scotland, for not only making me feel like a Princess but also for reminding me why I have chosen to pursue BalanceYouthSports as a career. One day I hope that it will be an important part of that universal language…