As an England football fan, I’m well used to the national mood swings that ebb and flow with the fortunes of my country’s team at major tournaments. For a youthful supporter in 1990 and 1996, glorious semi-final runs have defined my recollections of those entire summers.
Equally, the catastrophic capitulation to Germany in 2010 and numerous penalty shootout fiascos are recalled much less fondly.
Either way, something I had usually taken for granted was that every few years I could expect the England team to compete on a major international stage and - for a few weeks - it felt like the whole country was in it together.
Win or lose and whether the failure was triumphant or abject, there was always something comforting about the collective, patriotic experience.
Having moved to the United States a couple of years ago, it quickly struck me that American sports fans have never experienced anything like it. FULL POST
For British football fans in the spring of 1989, it was our JFK moment.
Every one of us remembers exactly where we were and what we were doing on April 15, when we learned that over 90 Liverpool supporters had been crushed to death at an FA Cup semifinal. Along with many others across the country, I was listening to the game on the radio, quickly switching on the television to watch a disaster unfold in front of me.
This was a time before the Premier League, before the massive investment in all-seater stadia; football was very different back then.
Anyone who'd stood on a terrace and been herded like cattle into and out of a stadium could relate to what those fans must have gone through. Most of the time, standing behind the goal at a first division game was a lot of fun, the crowd ebbed and flowed with the action on the field, a crowd that was a vibrant, living entity and you were thrilled to be a part of it. FULL POST
These are seminal times in the United States. In the space of just a year, the landscape of professional sports here has been transformed with the emergence of three openly gay athletes.
Robbie Rogers, who now plays for the LA Galaxy in Major League Soccer, broke the mould, before Jason Collins became the first openly gay player in any of the four major U.S. sports.
The 35-year-old Collins was only signed on a 10 day contract by the Brooklyn Nets (subsequently signing for another 10 days) but the impact was huge.
So think what it will be like if Michael Sam joins the NFL. Sam is a defensive end and has just completed his education at the University of Missouri –if he’s drafted in May, he’d become the first active NFL player to have declared his homosexuality publicly.
In the macho world of testosterone-fuelled locker-rooms, homosexuality is seen as the last taboo.
Tickets to the big games aren’t cheap these days, and since the teams you’re paying to see can’t guarantee a winning performance – or even a decent one – they try at least to give you value for money.
In the U.S. they try harder than anywhere, and as such it sometimes feels as though you’re at a pop concert, tapping along with your foot as the buckets drop and the goals fly in. Sport and music are big players in the global entertainment industry, so it shouldn’t come as any surprise that they work together.
On our high-definition televisions, sports highlights are often packaged up and edited to the beats of the day, and somehow they seem even better with a soundtrack. FULL POST
From the heights of achievement to the despair of fallen idols, it has been a game of two halves for sport in 2013.
Rafael Nadal, Andy Murray and Serena Williams led the way on the tennis court, but sports fans saw heroes such as Lance Armstrong and Oscar Pistorius taint their considerable legacies beyond redemption.
Then there was a farewell to one of the giants of football, Alex Ferguson, who left behind a wealth of memories not just for supporters of his club Manchester United but for the beautiful game as a whole - which has suffered through controversies over corruption and future World Cups.
So what was your top sporting story of 2013? CNN's World Sport anchors share their leading selections below, and we'd like to hear your opinions too. FULL POST
It’s always fun trying to explain European soccer to an American who has been raised solely on a diet of football and baseball. The concept of promotion and relegation is totally alien to them, as is the notion that one team can play in up to four different “league-type” competitions every season.
A mate of mine used to play in the NFL and we recently spent a whole lunch working through such matters before we arrived at the notion of international matches. The fact that a player could effectively be two-timing his main employer by also turning out for his country blew his mind.
I struggled to explain how those national teams would be made up and the only way he could get his head around it was to think of them as “All-Star” line-ups. FULL POST
One of Jesse Owens' Olympic gold medals sold for almost $1.5 million. Has there ever been a more symbolic piece of sports memorabilia?—
Don Riddell (@donriddellCNN) December 09, 2013