Sports and national pride
The first time I saw national survey data about sports was in the International Social Survey Program’s 1995 module on national identity, which tested sports as one of 10 possible sources of national pride. I like sports in general, and quite proud of the Filipino triumphs in my lifelong game of billiards in particular, but am duty-bound to put scientific evidence above my personal attitudes.
I was pleasantly surprised to find our achievements in sports as almost the top source of pride for Filipinos, second only to our history. That was as of 1995. In the two replications of this ISSP survey, in 2003 and 2013, achievement in sports became No. 1, and history became No. 2.
In 2013, 54 percent of Filipino adults surveyed said they were Very Proud, and 33 percent said they were Somewhat Proud, for a total of 87 percent that felt proud, of the sports achievements of the Philippines. There were also 11 percent Not Very Proud and 2 percent Not Proud At All.
In this piece, “proud” without a descriptor means “very proud” + “somewhat proud.” Filipinos proud of the country’s sports grew from 80 percent in 1995 to 87 percent in 2013.
The No. 2 source of national pride is our history, of which 84 percent of those surveyed were proud in 2013, slightly up from 82 percent in 1995.
The No. 3 source is achievement in arts and literature, of which 83 percent felt proud in 2013, significantly more than the 73 percent in 1995.
The seven other sources of pride that were surveyed, with percentages of Filipinos proud of them in parentheses, were: 4. achievement in science and technology (72), 5. the economy (70), 6. the armed forces (68), 7. the way democracy works (64), 8. the fair and equal treatment of groups (63), 9. the social security system (60), and 10. our political influence in the world (51). For all sources, the pride in 2013 was the highest of the three years surveyed. The biggest jump in pride was in economic achievement, from 47 percent in 2003 to 70 percent in 2013.
The annual surveys of the International Social Survey Program (issp.org), on various topics, are the work of Social Weather Stations, which joined ISSP in 1990 and did all the surveys from 1991 to the present.
In the entire group of 33 countries that did the ISSP 2013 survey, 83 percent of the people were proud of their country’s sports achievement. This shows Filipinos’ 87 percent as above average. In fact, we rank 9th of the 33 in terms of general pride.
In the full group of 33 countries, 35 percent of those surveyed were very proud of their sports. This put Filipinos’ 54 percent as 3rd of the 33 in extreme pride. Only Slovenians (60 percent) and Croatians (55 percent) had higher proportions than Filipinos in feeling very proud of their sports.
The only other country with a majority very proud of their sports was India (51 percent).
Apropos the current 2019 Southeast Asian Games, let me note the ISSP 2007/08 survey on Leisure Time and Sports (done in the Philippines on March 28 to April 2, 2008), which asked, “How proud are you when [your country] does well at an international sports or games competition?” To this question, 75 percent of Filipino adults answered Very Proud, 19 percent said Somewhat Proud, 5 percent said Not Very Proud, and 2 percent said Not Proud At All. The 75 percent Very Proud in the Philippines was the 4th largest of the 34 ISSP countries.
Unfortunately, pride in international sports achievement is unconnected to personal participation in sports. The 2008 survey found only 41 percent of Filipino adults engaging in sports or physical activities, the 8th from the bottom of the group of 34.
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