What are traditional British kinds of sports? Are they popular in Russia? What kinds of sport is your family interested in?
Englishmen are known to be great sports-lovers. One of the most popular British games is cricket, which foreigners can hardly understand. There are two teams of 11 players. Matches last from one to five days. It is played all over the country in the summer. To many Englishmen cricket is both a game and a standard of behavior. When they consider something unfair they say "That isn’t cricket.” Almost all Englishmen become fans when they watch a traditional cricket match between the teams of Great Britain and Australia, or New Zealand. England without cricket would be like bacon without eggs.
Another game which attracts great attention is soccer (European football). There are plenty of amateur and professional soccer clubs in every town. Professional soccer is big business. The Cup Final played in London is the culminating event of the football season. Rugby football is also very popular, but it is played mainly by amateurs. It’s a kind of English football in which the players use their hands for carrying the ball. This game is played by teams of 15 men with an oval ball and it’s often considered to be a violent game.
A great number of people play and watch tennis. Among many tennis tournaments the most famous is the one in Wimbledon. Horse racing is also extremely popular in Great Britain. The racing season includes five races. The annual race for "Derby” is perhaps the most famous sporting event in the whole world.
Englishmen also go in for golf, baseball, hockey, basketball, bowling, and badminton. Athletic sports, such as running, jumping, rowing, swimming, boxing and gymnastics, are practiced at schools and colleges. The annual Oxford-Cambridge boat race on the river Thames attracts lots of people and is very popular. In Scotland, where there are good conditions for winter sports, skiing is very popular.
Great Britain and America are the birthplaces of many sports. That’s why many of them have English names. It is easy to understand how these games were named. For example, baseball is played with a ball and bases. Basketball is played with a ball and two baskets. The names for other sports come from the name of the place where they were first played.
Badminton comes from the name of a piece of land owned by an English Duke. The game was first played on the Duke’s land in 1873. Golf was first played in Scotland, but its name comes from the Dutch word for a hockey club "colf.”
Almost all these games are popular in Russia. Russian people even began to play cricket. And plenty of bowling clubs appeared in our country. This is because we can hardly overestimate the meaning of sport in our life and day-to-day activities. The main purpose of going in for sports is to develop a generation of strong and healthy people. Sports prevent us from getting too fat, and brings up a harmoniously developed generation. Sometimes playing a sport is connected with great risks. Besides, there are violent kinds of sports and sportsmen and fans discuss whether these kinds of sports are necessary.
In my family we prefer swimming. I began swimming at the age of six. I think that swimming is something like music or languages, and that’s why it’s very good to start as early as possible if you want to be good at it. There is no question that you can speak; there is no question that you can walk; and there is no question that you can swim if you start at a very early age. My parents also go to the swimming pool, but they began going in for swimming when they were grown-ups.
There are some sports which I’ve not had a chance to experience but would really like to. They’re mostly non-competitive sports. I love the water very much and I’d really like to try some more water sports. For instance, being pulled by a boat whilst wearing water-skis would, I’m sure, be a fantastic experience. And I’d also like to try surfing. I think there’s no greater feeling on earth than riding the top of a wave on a surfboard. I’d like to try it just to see. My parents and I are great fans. We subscribe to a sports newspaper and like watching nothing but football matches. We read the newspaper from cover to cover and lie on the sofa watching sport competitions on television on Sunday.
1. What popular British sports do you know? 2. What do you know about cricket? 3. Why do many sport games have English names? 4. What famous tournaments in Britain do you know? 5. What sports are popular in Russia? 6. What sports do you go in for? Why? 7. Why do you prefer non-competitive sports? 8. Why do you prefer swimming? 9. What sports would you like to try? 10. Why is activity for many people too much trouble?