It is said that in Elizabethan times two suitors for a village beauty settled the matter by means of a marbles contest. What is now the Marble Championship is believed to be a survival of that contest. The game of marbles dates back to Roman times. Teams of six compete on a circular, sanded rink. Forty-nine marbles are placed in the centre of the rink, and the players try to knock out4 as many as possible with their marble. The marble is rested on the index finger and flicked5 with the thumb. The two highest individual scores battle for the championship with only thirteen marbles on the rink. Similar contests are now held in some other English-speaking countries.
The well-known sporting events
The Boat Race: (between Oxford and Cambridge universities), on the River Thames
in London at Easter. The course is over seven kilometres. Oxford have won 64
times, Cambridge 69 times.
The Wimbledon Tennis Tournament: in July, at Wimbledon, south London, regarded
by many tennis players as the most important championship to win. There is great
public interest in the tournament. Many tennis fans queue all night outside the
grounds in order to get tickets for the finals.
The Open Golf Championship: golf was invented by the Scots, and its headquarters
is at the Royal and Ancient Golf Club, St. Andrews, Scotland.
Henley (Rowing) Regatta: at Henley on the Thames (between London and Oxford).
An international summer event. It is a fashionable occasion.
Cowes Week: a yachting regatta. Cowes is a small town on the Isle of Wight,
opposite Southampton, and a world-famous yachting centre.
At the end of my course paper I want to make a short review of what I have already written and write what I haven't written.
Many kinds of sport originated from England. The English have a proverb, "All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy." They do not think that play is more important than work; they think that Jack will do his work better if he plays as well, so he is encouraged to do both. Association football, or soccer is one of the most popular games in the British Isles played from late August until the beginning of May. In summer the English national sport is cricket. When the English say: 'that's not cricket' it means 'that's not fair', 'to play the game' means 'to be fair'.
Golf is Scotland's chief contribution to British sport. It is worth noting here an interesting feature of sporting life in Britain, namely, its frequently close connection with social class of the players or spectators except where a game may be said to be a "national" sport. This is the case with cricket in England which is played and watched by all classes. This is true of golf, which is everywhere in the British Isles a middle-class activity. Rugby Union, the amateur variety of Rugby football, is the Welsh national sport played by all sections of society whereas, elsewhere, it too is a game for the middle classes. Association football is a working-class sport as are boxing, wrestling, snooker, darts and dog-racing. As far as fishing is concerned it is, apart from being the most popular British sport from the angle of the number of active participants, a sport where what is caught determines the class of a fisherman. If it is a salmon or trout it is upper-class, but if it is the sort offish found in canals, ponds or the sea, then the angler is almost sure to be working-class.
Walking and swimming are the two most popular sporting activities, being almost equally undertaken by men and women. Snooker (billiards), pool and darts are the next most popular sports among men. Aerobics (keep-fit exercises) and yoga, squash and cycling are among the sports where participation has been increasing in recent years.
There are several places in Britain associated with a particular kind of sport. One of them is Wimbledon - a suburb to the south of London where the All-England Lawn Tennis Championships are held in July (since 1877). The finals of the tournament are played on the Centre Court. The other one is Wembley - a stadium in north London where international football matches, the Cup Finals and other events have taken place since 1923. It can hold over 100,000 spectators. The third one is Derby, the most famous flat race in the English racing calendar, it is run at Epsom near London since 1780.
Having written my course paper I think that I have proved sport's deserving attention. Especially sport is a very interesting theme concerning the United Kingdom. Of course, I couldn't illustrate all Britain sports, but which I still do reflect Britain's life with all contradictory combinations. Both life is calm and exciting, and sport is calm with golf's followers and exciting with football's fans.
1. Which is the English summer national sport?
2. Which kinds of sport can you name in English?
3. Which game can be called the most popular game in the world?
4. How many players are there in a football team?
5. What has given British football a bad name recently?
6. What is a football pool?
7. Football is played chiefly with the feet. What about rugby?
8. How do Rugby Union and Rugby League differ from each other?
9. What is called a test match in cricket?
10. Which place in Britain is associated with lawn tennis champion-ships?
11. Which place in Britain is associated with a yachting regatta?
12. Which famous horse-race meetings does the Queen call on?
13. What kinds of racing do you know?
14. What events take place at Scottish Highland Games?
15. Where is the Royal and Ancient Golf Club located?
16. What was about half of all money bet on in 1993?
17. What is a 'conker'?
18. What is 'jogging'?
19. What is more important in sports: the ability to win a victory or the ability to lose without anger; absolute fairness or physical power?
20. What English idioms which have come from the world of sport do you know?
THE LIST OF LITERATURE
1. Приложение к газете "1 сентября" "English"// "Football, made in Britain, loved by the world", 2001, №13, p.2
2. Britain in Brief, Просвещение, 1993
3. Peter Bromhead "Life in Modern Britain", Longman, 1997
4. James O'Driscoll "Britain.The country and its people", Oxford University Press, 1997
5. David McDowall "Britain in close-up", Longman, 2000
6. Satinova V.F. "Read and speak about Britain and the British", Minsk, 1997
7. Material from the site: www.scotland.com
THE LIST OF LITERATURE
1. Levashova V.A. "Britain today"
2. David McDowall "Britain in close-up", Longman, 2000
3. Oshepkova V.V., Shustilova I. I. "Britain in brief"