Category Archives: Sports

Study reveals the personality of Brazilian soccer teams

Flamengo's blazon by George Vale/Flickr
Flamengo’s blazon by George Vale/Flickr

If the main Brazilian soccer teams were people, Corinthians and Flamengo would be a brave and joyful youngster, while Botafogo and São Paulo would be reliable, polite, sophisticated middle aged men.

GfK, an important market research specialist, interviewed 1.000 Brazilians in 12 major cities for the study “Patrocínio de Futebol e Personalidade de Marca” (Soccer Sponsors and Brand Personality). They had to associate a list of qualities to the name of the main 11 teams – Atlético Mineiro, Botafogo, Corinthians, Cruzeiro, Flamengo, Fluminense, Grêmio, Internacional, Palmeiras, Santos, São Paulo and Vasco. They were supposed to describe both the teams they supported and others. Continue reading Study reveals the personality of Brazilian soccer teams

Rare videos of Mestre Bimba, Capoeira grand master

Bimba in action

Pelé is the king of soccer. The Gracie family rules in the Brazilian jiu-jitsu world. In the universe of capoeira, the Afro-Brazilian martial art, the big name is Manuel dos Reis Machado, aka Mestre Bimba. Born in 1900 and deceased in 1974, Bimba codified the fight, developed a learning method, introduced new elements, such as the uniform (white t-shirt and pants), performed for the governor of Bahia and president Getúlio Vargas and, this way, gained respect for a martial art till then illegal.

There are very few images of Bimba practicing capoeira, playing berimbau and giving interviews. These are some of them:

 This is the full version of 2007 film “Mestre Bimba, a Capoeira Iluminada”:

Continue reading Rare videos of Mestre Bimba, Capoeira grand master

Capoeira through the ages

"Fighting Blacks", watercolor by Augustus Earle, 1822

Capoeira, the Afro-Brazilian martial art practiced all over the world, was originally a criminal activity. Even after the abolition of slavery, in 1888, the police would repress any manifestation of Black culture. Lots of the early records were destroyed and capoeira disappeared from several parts of the country, thanks to the repression. It only survived in regions where African culture was particularly strong, such as the cities of Salvador and Rio. In Recife, capital of Pernambuco, it morphed into frevo, a popular dance that was quite rough in the beginning of the 20th century. As recently as the 60s, the umbrella – at the time not covered with fabric – was used as a weapon. Today, it is hard to believe frevo descends from a martial art. Continue reading Capoeira through the ages

Street golf

Photo by Core-Materials/Flickr

The population of Ji-paraná, in the Amazonian state of Rondonia, has been planting banana trees in the big holes opened by the rain in highway RO-125, to expose the awful road conditions in the region, according to Época magazine.

At the same time, in the other extreme of the country, some guys are protesting against the bad shape of street pavement by promoting street golf parties. This video shows their performance and explains why Porto Alegre, the capital of Rio Grande do Sul, is a golf paradise.

Gaúchos and their horses

The image of a gaúcho – the cattle rancher, or his employee, wrangling in the vast fields of the state of Rio Grande do Sul – is invariably associated to two things. First, the mate – or chimarrão -, the hot bitter infusion of a special type of dry, crushed tea, sipped from a cuia, a calabash gourd. The second is his horse.

This wonderful series of images by Eduardo Amorim  portray rodeios and daily life in several municipalities of the Southern state: Bagé, Pelotas, Esteio, Santa Vitória do Palmar. This amazing photographer has loads of pictures that you can appreciate on Flickr.

Continue reading Gaúchos and their horses

Marta, world's best soccer player

Five times elected the best. Photo by americanistadechiapas/Flickr

Forget Kaká (midfielder now playing for Real Madrid). This week’s Newsweek magazine brings an article by Mac Margolis glorifying another Brazilian soccer player: Marta Vieira da Silva (or simply Marta). She plays for the Western New York Flash and won last month, for the fifth time in a row, the Ballon d’Or, award created by Fifa (the international soccer federation) to celebrate the best of the best in the sport.

Says Margolis:

What makes her stand out is something else, less photogenic perhaps but every bit as compelling. Call it heart or grit or fome de bola—ball hunger—as the Brazilians put it. Whatever the name, the sheer determination to play and prevail against ridiculous odds lifted her from kick-abouts with the boys on a patch of Brazilian nowhere to the commanding heights of professional football. “No one wants to win as much as Marta,” says Alberto Montoya, who coached her for the San Francisco Gold Pride, the team she led to a Women’s Professional Soccer (WPS) league championship in 2010. “She’s the most passionate player I have ever seen.”

You can read the whole article in Newsweek’s portal.

Marta, world’s best soccer player

Five times elected the best. Photo by americanistadechiapas/Flickr

Forget Kaká (midfielder now playing for Real Madrid). This week’s Newsweek magazine brings an article by Mac Margolis glorifying another Brazilian soccer player: Marta Vieira da Silva (or simply Marta). She plays for the Western New York Flash and won last month, for the fifth time in a row, the Ballon d’Or, award created by Fifa (the international soccer federation) to celebrate the best of the best in the sport.

Says Margolis:

What makes her stand out is something else, less photogenic perhaps but every bit as compelling. Call it heart or grit or fome de bola—ball hunger—as the Brazilians put it. Whatever the name, the sheer determination to play and prevail against ridiculous odds lifted her from kick-abouts with the boys on a patch of Brazilian nowhere to the commanding heights of professional football. “No one wants to win as much as Marta,” says Alberto Montoya, who coached her for the San Francisco Gold Pride, the team she led to a Women’s Professional Soccer (WPS) league championship in 2010. “She’s the most passionate player I have ever seen.”

You can read the whole article in Newsweek’s portal.

Skating in Brazil

Brazil produced some world class skate boarders, such as Bob Burnquist, several times champion of the X-Games, the skate Olympics.

In this interview to Juice magazine, he describes the skateboard scene in Rio and São Paulo, where he grew up, in the mid-eighties:

Rio is more laid back surf/skate and Sao Paulo is more of the ‘skateboarding only’ mentality and where most of the skate industry is located. Sao Paulo is like the California of Brazil. It was super fun and I’m stoked that I had my roots set up in that way, because I have more respect for every aspect for skateboarding. I skated it all, mostly vert at first, then street, then cement parks, then I was forced into cement vert skating, then back to street. Nowadays, wherever I end up, I can have a good time.

When Burnquist got acquainted with the sport (a friend lost his soccer ball and gave him his first skate board, as a compensation), in the mid-eighties, it had been practiced in Brazilian streets for two decades. But it was frequently despised by the authorities that would, sometimes, forbid its practice and even call the cops. In 1988, former president Jânio Quadros, then São Paulo mayor, refused to allow skating in the streets of the metropolis. Nevertheless,  skateboarding gained some respect in the nineties and became widely practiced. Today, there are at least 300 pro Brazilian skateboarders, according to Confederação Brasileira de Skate.

Continue reading Skating in Brazil

5 faux-pas in the land of laissez-faire

by procsilas/Flickr

Even in a country prone to informality, such as Brazil, certain attitudes or habits may stir controversy or criticism. Before you cross the line and step on somebody’s toe, check these big no-nos:

  1. Soccer – When I met my husband, Lenny, who’s American, I told him that, as an honorary Brazilian, he was supposed to choose a soccer team to support. He told me to ask my father’s opinion on this relevant subject. My dad’s answer: “on one hand, you have a certain Italian vibe, so you might support Palmeiras. On the other hand, you are not snobbish and like to blend in, so you might go for Corinthians”. Naturally, he suggested teams from São Paulo, where we come from. Wisely, my husband, answered: “ok, but which is your dad’s team?” Since my father is corintiano, Lenny followed his lead.  It is easy to incur in a faux-pas in this arena. So, check if your friends or colleagues are passionate about a certain team before bashing it. Also, be extremely cautious if you decide to wear a team’s official t-shirt. Imagine this scenario: you are walking past a stadium. The game is over and you are spotted by the opposing team. Things could get ugly. Continue reading 5 faux-pas in the land of laissez-faire