Sports in Vekaiyu
Vekaiyuns love both spectating and participating in various sports. But, sports in Vekaiyu may not be as typical as those around it in The East Pacific realm. It is believed the love for sports in Vekaiyu dates back to the times of Ancient Vekaiyu, where aquatics and basic track sports represented routine competition. Today, Vekaiyuns are very passionate about their athletics and have many various sports.
Vekaiyu first competed in the Fifth Summer Olympics in Outineau, Kelssek, where the nation first began to show prowess in aquatics, namely, swimming, and gymnastics. As the years progressed, the nation rose to become a formidable power in each Summer Olympiad, and is well-known for their skills in swimming, gymnastics, diving, taekwondo, boxing, and shooting, among other disciplines, with a number of Olympic Records belonging to Vekaiyun individuals. Their teams are guided by the Vekaiyun National Olympic Council, which was initially overseen by the Vekaiyun government overseen by Selvala McEva, but after the 2010 Vekaiyun Civil War, current Premier of Vekaiyu Ikrisia Levinile relinquished sole control to the body itself. It is now charged with sending regular delegations to Olympic competitions with no governmental interference.
Currently, the nation has accumulated over 300 medals and has finished in the top-five in medal standings four out of seven Summer Games. Consequently, the nation now has sole possession of Fourth Place on the All-Time medal table.
Arguably the most important sports to Vekaiyuns are those that involve water. Teams from high school to a professional level are followed closely and with passion. The most popular aquatic sports involve swimming, diving, water polo, underwater hockey, underwater rugby, and underwater handball. All aquatic sports are heavily dominated by vulpine individuals, though humans are accepted. All Vekaiyun sports remain gender-separate and in general have a strong following between both male and female leagues, especially in aquatics.
Vekaiyu is home to hundreds of aquatic arenas, which are designed to accommodate the various aquatic sports in Vekaiyu. Arenas exist for several sporting skill levels, with some even open to the public serving as a natatorium when not in use. Arenas for major-league competition can hold anywhere from ten to forty thousand people. A large game clock and scoreboard is present in every arena and can be seen by players and spectators alike. In the center of each arena is a large, deep swimming pool which is often raised above ground so that spectators may see the action from a "below ground" perspective through a lexan-walled pool, all without worrying about getting wet. Above the arena exists a second level, containing "dugouts" and hot tubs where players, swimmers, or divers sit and relax, penalty boxes, and more seating for those who prefer to watch the game from an "above ground" perspective. It is widely accepted that below ground seating offers much more view to the action for underwater hockey and underwater rugby, which is why these seats are more expensive for such events. Swimming, diving, and water polo are more "above ground" perspective sports and therefore the "below ground" perspective seats are much cheaper. At any given stadium, Vekaiyun food and beverages can be served, as well as various souvenirs supporting the local clubs or the city in general. Noise levels in older arenas can be a problem, however.
Below is a small selection of some of the more popular aquatic arenas in Vekaiyu. A wide array of different architectures exist for these arenas, which seem to be more abstract for newer arenas. The oldest arena in service, Ivessi Water Coliseum, is historic and has housed several historic championships within its walls. The Water Palace of Provinsk was built to accommodate a failed Olympic bid in 2013.
Perhaps the most popular sport in Vekaiyu is underwater hockey, which has a very dedicated following and has multiple leagues in school, university, and professional levels. The sport became popular some time in the very early twentieth century when swimmers grew tired of choosing to swim in laps competitively or participate in water polo. The sport initially served as a demonstration event only and was seen as a compromise between the two sports. Teams began forming around the early 1920's, and the first professional league, the VAHM, or Vekaiyu Akaseva Hoki Misrekilsriv, formed in 1922 with eight teams from different cities came together to form a season. Today, eight Vekaiyun professional leagues (four men's leagues and four women's leagues) exist in which the top champion team from each league participate in a round-robin style tournament to determine the national champion in men's and women's leagues.
Vekaiyun underwater hockey differs slightly from international rules. Underwater hockey teams are comprised of eighteen players, but only six players from each team may be in the water at one time. The remaining twelve players may be substituted at any time during play. Games involve three periods lasting twenty minutes with a ten minute break time in between periods. Period ends and any other breaks in action are signaled by striking a large pipe which is partially submerged in water so players can hear. Overtime is typically determined by a first-to-score period after regulation.
Underwater hockey is dominated by vulpines, which makes designing equipment easier. Each underwater hockey player is given a team swimsuit (which is similar in design to the speed swimsuit), fins, swim mask, ear protection, a stick, and a snorkel, which was not introduced until 1944 when it was shown to maximize a player's playing time. All equipment is subjected to strict regulations by the sporting council, and several players have earned multiple game bans for having unaccepted equipment or suits "doctored" with foreign substances, typically a low molecular weight wax substance that was banned outright in 1988. The swimsuits may only be colorful for the home team; the away team must wear solid black. At least one league has explored the possibility of using small portable diving cylinders, but problems with buoyancy and "traditionalist fans" will probably keep such devices away from this sport. Players may also wear gloves to protect their hands from the sticks of other players.
Underwater rugby is played in the same spirit as underwater hockey, both in amount of players, length of games, equipment, and arenas. However, this sport does not involve a stick and a puck, but instead a ball and is much more physical. Having less of a following, underwater rugby is like a distant cousin to the more popular sport. Four professional leagues (two men's leagues and two women's leagues) exist.
The sport uses the same arenas as the underwater hockey teams. Rules regarding their equipment are the same, except players are required to wear gloves. Potential reason for the sport being "second best" to underwater hockey is the fact that it was introduced much later (1961), and it has claimed the death of one player in 1978 when one of her fins became stuck under one of the goalposts. It is this reason why all arenas include diving cylinders in case of emergency, located on the sides and tucked away from play.
Water polo was introduced by swimmers in the mid-nineteenth century in order to provide swimmers with a more physical sport. Unlike underwater hockey and underwater rugby, the sport is mostly played above water, which makes "above ground" perspective seating much more valuable.
Leagues in this sport enjoy a very healthy following. Players only need ear protection and swimsuits to compete in this sport. As with the underwater hockey and rugby leagues, water polo swimsuits are in the style of Vekaiyun speed swimsuits, where the zipper-back suits prevent players from pulling on the garments. Fins may also be used, but that is generally reserved for junior leagues. Four professional leagues (two men's leagues and two women's leagues) exist.
Swimming and Diving
Vekaiyuns enjoy watching other players compete in various swimming and diving contests. Dozens of different events exist for each type, which generally occur on a weekly basis and enable scorers to develop ranking systems for divers and swimmers in their respective sports. Each event is performed at aquatic arenas and water currents are tested prior in order to ensure fairness. These events also has a very strong following, and teams do in fact exist on high school, university, and professional levels. Four professional leagues (two men's leagues and two women's leagues) exist, with an A-league and B-league for each gender.
Sport diving is an emerging "sport" which has only been around for about twenty-two years. Players don diving gear and attempt to find objects or perform certain tasks. Such events may be housed in the Aquatic Arenas, but may also occur in a lake or off the coast of Vekaiyu. This sport is more or less featured on game shows with often raucous crowds and fast-paced energy, but attempts at making this into an actual sport have been made. Because of the nature of the sport, audiences are limited only to television and any forming leagues are generally thought of as preparing for game shows or contests and nothing more.
Outside of aquatics, Vekaiyuns enjoy various sports which are more popular on an international level. Such sports include soccer, basketball, baseball, and lacrosse.
Baseball is perhaps the most popular ground sport, with four male leagues, with some expansion teams in Listonia. Each league presents a champion, and the champion team of each league plays in a tournament-style playoff until the national champion is crowned. The first league formed in the early 1900's upon being influenced from foreign sporting events. Male and female leagues exist, though talk of joining the two major leagues into one group has proven difficult and abrasive, but talks continue. Aside from human players, Vekaiyuns do not generally hit home runs but instead rely on speed and spray hit-and-run tactics to score runs. Sacrifice bunts, squeeze plays, and base-stealing are common in an average Vekaiyun baseball game. Stadiums generally house 20,000 - 50,000 spectators and the sport enjoys a very healthy following.
Basketball is the another sport in which humans have an advantage, as the small frames of vulpine people leave them at a severe disadvantage. Soccer is followed but not as passionately as baseball. It is, however, especially important in international competition, where the Vekaiyun National Football Club is making its first appearance in the 76th World Cup. Lacrosse and street hockey are growing in popularity but have yet to really gain a national following.
|Main article: Vekaiyu|
|Important Topics: Culture ♦ Unonian ♦ Vayan Catholicism ♦ Veskono ♦ Vulpine ♦ Armed Forces ♦ Military Ranks and Uniforms|
|Government: Kivreskov ♦ Premier ♦ Ikrisia Levinile ♦ Political Parties ♦ Foreign Officers|
|History: Ancient Vekaiyu ♦ The Time of Troubles ♦ Era of Good Feelings ♦ Trade Leagues ♦ Expansionist Vekaiyu ♦ Partitions of Vekaiyu ♦ Imperial Vekaiyu ♦ Vekaiyu Under Max Venavle ♦ Vekaiyu Under Selvala McEva ♦ 2010 Vekaiyun Civil War|
|Important Figures (Past and Present): Ikrisia Levinile ♦ Leina Kivelevov ♦ Max Venavle ♦ Selvala McEva ♦ St. Aiya ♦ Todd Leyuski|
|Sports: Sports in Vekaiyu ♦ Olympic Council ♦ Sport Uniforms ♦ Fifth Summer Olympics ♦ Sixth Winter Olympics ♦ Seventh Summer Olympics ♦ Eighth Summer Olympics|