“Sport is a right of the people”
– Fidel Castro.
Sport is a very important aspect in any Cuban’s life – and none more so than the national pastime: Baseball. The first arranged game of baseball in Cuba was played on 27 December 1874 and the game has gone from strength-to-strength ever since. By 1878 Cuba had become the only country outside of the United States to boast a professional baseball league. However, Castro’s Resolution 83-A, passed on 19 November 1962, eradicated all professional sports in Cuba overnight. As such, starting in 1962, Cuba’s baseball league became an amateur one. Today the hotly contested Cuban league runs from October to March. Tickets to games are not too difficult to obtain.
Beside baseball, the other great sporting pastimes in Cuban life are:
Boxing: the pedigree of boxers who have represented the island is very impressive, given its small size. Such greats as Eligio Sardinas, Felix Savon, and Teofilo Stevenson all hail from the island. Prior to Athens 2004, Cuba had won an amazing 27 gold, 13 silver and 7 bronze medals at Olympic boxing events! Moreover, most boxing nations around the world retain at least one Cuban technical trainer.
Volleyball: Cuban’s love their volleyball, both modern-day beach and traditional;
Basketball: became popular on the island in the mid-to-late 1960s.
Sailing: although not a traditional favorite among Cubans, sailing is starting to receive some good reviews;
Trekking; Cubans do like a good walk, and the beaches and natural vegetation of Cuba easily make this a worth-while pastime.