International Day of Friendship is celebrated across the world on July 30. When the United Nations first proclaimed the holiday in 2011, the idea behind it was that friendship across cultures and borders plays an important role in inspiring peace and community building. This Friendship Day, get your family and friends together and tell each person in your group to invite an additional person—particularly someone from another culture. Then, go outside the norm of American culture and try one of these international Olympic sports with your group. This friendly competition is an excellent way to both build old friendships and create new ones.
Handball is a game played on a basketball court that combines elements of soccer, basketball and water polo. There are two teams, two goals and a unique set of rules that make this game fast-paced, fun and different. Similar to a three-point line in basketball, handball has an arc that stretches about 20 feet from the goal on three sides. Only goalies can stand inside this arc. Players on offense shoot by throwing the ball from outside the arc, without crossing the line, into the goal. When a player is holding the ball, he/she has to dribble in order to move or take a maximum of three steps—holding the ball for a maximum of three seconds.
Handball involves throwing, catching and dribbling—three common skill sets in American sports. However, the unique style and rules of the game make it a fun and new experience. You can create a handball court on any basketball court by either using the wall pad as a make-shift goal, or by using a youth soccer goal in your local outdoor court. Learn the rules, and play with family and friends today!
Field Hockey is typically either unheard of or thought to be unpopular in the U.S. However, field hockey is actually the world’s third most popular sport behind only soccer and cricket. Field hockey is very similar to ice hockey in that there is a stick and a goal. Besides those two things, it is much more similar to soccer than anything else because of the way people move on land rather than ice.
Basic rules to remember are: no kicking, your hands must remain on the stick, and only the goalie can touch the ball with his/her body. A practical safety rule to consider with your group is to keep the sticks low to avoid injury. Field hockey can be played on a basketball court or a soccer field. All you need is goals, sticks and a ball. Learn the more complex rules, and give this active team game a try!
While “World Cup” is not technically an Olympic sport, it is a fun spin on soccer, which is in the Olympics. World Cup can be played with individual teams or teams of two. Select one person to be the goalie, go to your favorite soccer field and follow these rules:
- Pick your favorite county or a country from which your ancestors came. This is a great way to learn more about the people in your group.
- Yell the name of said country every time before you shoot in order for your goal to count.
- Players cannot shoot from inside the six-yard box, but can shoot anywhere else at any time.
- The last team to score three goals is eliminated until there is one team left standing.
Extend Your Friendship Even Further
A great way to show the compassion of friendship to others is by donating to local children’s charities. One of the easiest ways to do so is by donating your unwanted vehicle to Wheels For Wishes. With free towing and a great tax deduction, this 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization helps you free space and get rid of your vehicle without the hassle. Meanwhile, your donation also helps benefit local children.
To donate, simply find your local chapter, call 1-877-431-9474 or fill out an online donation form. Show your friendship to children in need throughout your community with your generous donation, and enjoy International Day of Friendship!