Рефераты. Sport in the UK

million people stake a small sum on the results of Saturday's professional

matches. Another popular type of gambling, stereotypically for middle-aged

working class women, is bingo.

Nonconformist religious groups traditionally frown upon gambling and

their disapproval has had some influence. Perhaps this is why Britain did

not have a national lottery until 1994. But if people want to gamble, then

they will. For instance, before the national lottery started, the British

gambled Ј250,000 on which company would be given the licence to run it! The

country's big bookmakers are willing to offer odds on almost anything at

all if asked. Who will be the next Labour party leader? Will it rain during

the Wimbledon tennis tournament? Will it snow on Christmas Day? All of

these offer opportunities for 'a flutter'.

Apropos of the Wimbledon tennis tournament: Wimbledon is a place to

which every tennis-player aspire. And I want to write some words about it.


People all over the world know Wimbledon as the centre of lawn tennis.

But most people do not know that it was famous for another game before

tennis was invented. Wimbledon is now a part of Greater London. In 1874 it

was a country village, but it had a railway station and it was the home of

the All-England Croquet Club. The Club had been there since 1864. A lot of

people played croquet in England at that time and enjoyed it, but the

national championships did not attract many spectators. So the Club had

very little money, and the members were looking for ways of getting some.

"This new game of lawn tennis seems to have plenty of action, and people

like watching it," they thought. "Shall we allow people to play lawn tennis

on some of our beautiful croquet lawns?"

In 1875 they changed the name of the Club to the "All-England Lawn

Tennis and Croquet Club", and that is the name that you will still find in

the telephone book. Two years later, in 1877, Wimbledon held the first

world lawn tennis championship (men's singles).3 The winner was S. W. Gore,

a Londoner. There were 22 players, and 200 spectators, each paid one

shilling. Those who watched were dressed in the very latest fashion — the

men in hard top hats and long coats, and the ladies in dresses that reached

to the ground! The Club gained Ј 10. It was saved. Wimbledon grew. There

was some surprise and doubt, of course, when the Club allowed women to play

in the first women's singles championship in 1884. But the ladies played

well—even in long skirts that hid their legs and feet.

The Wimbledon championships begin on the Monday nearest to June 22, at

a time when England often has its finest weather. It is not only because of

the tennis that people like to go there. When the weather is good, it is a

very pleasant place to spend an afternoon. The grass is fresh and green,

the players wear beautiful white clothes, the spectators are dressed in the

latest fashion, there may be members of the Royal Family among them, and

there are cool drinks in the open-air cafes next to the tennis courts.

Millions of people watch the championships on television.


Almost every sport which exists is played in Britain. As well as the

sports already mentioned, hockey (mostly on a field but also on ice) is

quite popular, and both basketball (for men) and netball (for women) are

growing in popularity. So too is the ancient game of rounders.


This sport is rather similar to American baseball and ancient Russian

lapta, but it certainly does not have the same image. It has a long history

in England as something that people (young and old, male and female) can

play together at village fetes. It is often seen as not being a proper


However, despite this image, it has recently become the second most

popular sport for state schools in Britain. More traditional sports such as

cricket and rugby are being abandoned in favour of rounders, which is much

easier to organize. Rounders requires less special equipment, less money

and boys and girls can play it together. It also takes up less time. It is

especially attractive for state schools with little money and time to

spare. More than a quarter of all state-school sports fields are now used

for rounders. Only football, which is played on nearly half of all state-

school fields, is more popular.

The British have a preference for team games. Individual sports such

as athletics, cycling, gymnastics and swimming have comparatively small

followings. Large numbers of people become interested in them only when

British competitors do well in international events. The more popular

individual sports are those in which socializing is an important aspect

(such as tennis, golf, sailing and snooker). It is notable in this context

that, apart from international competitions, the only athletics event which

generates a lot of enthusiasm is the annual London Marathon. Most of the

tens of thousands of participants in this race are 'fun runners' who are

merely trying to complete it, sometimes in outrageous costumes, and so

collect money for charity. The biggest new development in sport has been

with long-distance running. 'Jogging', for healthy outdoor exercise,

needing no skill or equipment, became popular in the 1970s, and soon more

and more people took it seriously. Now the annual London Marathon is like a

carnival, with a million people watching as the world's star runners are

followed by 25,000 ordinary people trying to complete the course. Most of

them succeed and then collect money from supporters for charitable causes.

Many thousands of people take part in local marathons all over Britain.

The Highland Games

Scottish Highland Games, at which sports (including tossing the caber,

putting the weight and throwing the hammer), dancing and piping

competitions take place, attract large numbers of spectators from all over

the world.

These meetings are held every year in different places in the Scottish

Highlands. They include the clans led by their pipers, dressed in their

kilts, tartan plaids, and plumed bonnets, who march round the arena.

The features common to Highland Games are bagpipe and Highland dancing

competitions and the performance of heavy athletic events — some of which,

such as tossing the caber, are Highland in origin. All competitors wear

Highland dress, as do most of the judges. The games take place in a large

roped-off arena. Several events take place at the same time: pipers and

dancers perform on a platform; athletes toss the caber, put the weight,

throw the hammer, and wrestle. There is also a competition for the best-

dressed Highlander.

Highland dancing is performed to bagpipe music, by men and women, such

as the Sword Dance and the Reel.

No one knows exactly when the men of the Highlands first gathered to

wrestle, toss cabers, throw hammers, put weights, dance and play music. The

Games reflected the tough life of the early Scots. Muscle-power was their

means of livelihood — handling timber, lifting rocks to build houses,

hunting. From such activities have developed the contests of tossing the

caber, putting the weight and throwing the hammer. Tossing the caber

originated among woodmen who wanted to cast their logs into the deepest

part of a river. Tossing the caber is not a question of who can throw it

farthest. For a perfect throw the caber must land in the 12-o'clock

position after being thrown in a vertical semicircle. The caber is a very

heavy and long log..

Conker Contest and British Marbles Championship

Every year, usually on the Wednesday nearest to 20th October, about a

hundred competitors gather to take part in the annual conker competition in

a chosen place. The conkers are collected by children from an avenue of

chestnut trees. The conkers are carefully examined and numbered on their

flat sides, then bored and threaded on nylon cord. Each competitor is

allowed an agreed number of "strikes", and a referee is present to see fair

play. There are prizes for winners and runners-up. The contest usually

starts at about 7 p. m.

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


in London at Easter. The course is over seven kilometres. Oxford have won


times, Cambridge 69 times.

The Wimbledon Tennis Tournament: in July, at Wimbledon, south London,


by many tennis players as the most important championship to win. There is


public interest in the tournament. Many tennis fans queue all night outside


grounds in order to get tickets for the finals.

The Open Golf Championship: golf was invented by the Scots, and its


is at the Royal and Ancient Golf Club, St. Andrews, Scotland.

Henley (Rowing) Regatta: at Henley on the Thames (between London and


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 championships?

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




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,


7. Material from the site: www.scotland.com


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»


A nation of gamblers

In 1993 a total of Ј12.7 billion was wagered by the British - that's

Ј289 for every adult in the country. Ј9.5 billion was won. The government

took just over Ј1 billion in taxes. The rest was kept by the bookmakers.

About half of all the money bet in 1993 was on horses or greyhounds. 74%

of all adults gambled at least once during the year.

At least once every two weeks:

•39% did the football pools;

•20% played on gaming and fruit machines;

•18% played bingo;

•14% put money on the horses.

In Britain in 1993, there was one betting shop for every 3,000 adults.

There were also:

120 casinos;

120,000 fruit machines;

1,000 bingo clubs;

1,000 lotteries;

59 racetracks;

37 greyhound stadiums.


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