A survey of the Amish and sports

Here on the Euro side of the pond, the quadrennial European Football Championships are scrapping along nicely, with the continent in a frenzy for the sport that we Yanks most readily connect with Pele, Maradona and now the flamboyant Mr. David Beckham.

Back home, looks like the NBA has been having a nice series.  I’m sure some Amish have had a glance in the paper to check the scores–but probably not nearly as many as would have, say had the Cavs or Sixers been involved.

Amish basketballphoto:  AP, Matt Rourke

Spectator sports can be a somewhat controversial topic in Amish America.  Some Amish participate in sports, both as observers and participants. Others furrow their brows at the whole idea.  Many see sports as a juvenile activity, with the idea of adults being involved an unbecoming prospect.

A sport which I was introduced to while in Lancaster County is one that I previously identified with the British–croquet.  This summer I’ll be back in Lancaster for two months, and looking forward to swinging the mallet with some of my younger Amish buddies.

Sports seem to have some regional variation, with the Lancaster Amish big fans of this front-lawn pasttime.  Softball is big in many Amish areas, as are ‘net’ sports like badminton and volleyball.

I’ve never seen an Amish kid kick a soccer ball.  I do recall seeing the most basketball hoops in communities in Indiana, though this is far from a scientific evaluation of sports among the Amish.  That would be an interesting one to see.

This isn’t the first time we’ve examined the topic of sports and the Amish.  Here’s a quick roundup of previous posts:

The Amish and team sports
Competitive softball: an interview excerpt
A Lancaster hockey mishap

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    1. Helen Parnell-Berry

      We might be watching Euro 2008 here in the UK but seeing as there are NO “home” teams there we aren’t that interested. (Other than hoping that the Dutch win it)

    2. Bill

      I’ve seen kids playing volleyball at recess in the Smicksburg area quite a few times. They always turn and wave to you as you go by.

    3. Dave Carrig

      Seems like volleyball is the major sport of choice around my neck of the woulds. I’ve seen some Amish youth working at and watching local high school foot ball games (I have a teenager in high school).

      I probably mentioned this one before – but back during the Nikel Mines tragedy CNN was interviewing a former Amish gentleman out in Indiana. Ultimately they got around to asking him why he left the Amish and he said it was because he wanted to play organized basketball in High School and college. Couldn’t help but smile to myself at that one – a guy after my own heart!

    4. Hey Erik-
      Hope you’re well. Over on this side of the pond, ABC just started airing a documentary following 4 Amish teens through rumspringa–and they happen to be 4 teens from the Schwartzentruber Amish of Ashland County. I was pretty shocked when I realized where they filmed this. So far it’s pretty well done and seems fairly balanced. I just hope they maintain that standard–for the kids’ sake and the community.

    5. Pingback: Buggies and hoops | Amish America