MOSCOW STATE TEACHER`S TRAINING UNIVERSITY
SPORT IN THE UNITED KINGDOM
Written by Varlamova Anna
Checked by Makhmuryan K.
- THE MAIN PART
- The social importance of sport
- Football Football pools
- Animals in Sport
- Other Sports
- The list of literature
have I chosen such theme? Sport is supposed to be interesting
only for men, not for women. But I think it is a mistaken opinion. Sport is one of the most amusing things in the world, because of fillings, experiences, excitements connected with it. Particularly it is so when we speak about the UK.
Think of your favorite sport. Whatever it is, there is good chance that it was first played in Britain, and an even better chance that its modern rules were first codified in this country.
Sport probably plays a more important part in peoples life in Britain than it does in most other countries. For a very large number it is their main form of entertainment. Millions take part in some kind of sport at least once a week. Many millions more are regular spectators and follow one or more sports. There are hours of televised sport each week. Every newspaper, national or local, quality or popular, devotes several pages entirely to sport.
The British are only rarely the best in the world at particular sports in modern times. However, they are one of the best in the world in a much larger number of different sports than any other country (British individualism at work again). My course paper looks at the most publicized sports with the largest followings. But it should be noted that hundreds of other sports are played in Britain , each with its own small but enthusiastic following. Some of these may not be seen as a sport at all by many people. For most people with large gardens, for example, croquet is just an agreeable social pastime for a sunny afternoon. But to a few, it is a deadly serious competition. The same is true of the game such as indoor bowling, darts or snooker. Even board games, the kind you buy in a shop, have their national championships. Think of any pastime, however trivial, which involves some element of competition and, somewhere in Britain, there is probably a national association for it which organized contents.
The British are so fond of competition that they even introduced it into gardening. Many people indulge in an informal rivalry with their neighbors as to who can grow the better flowers or vegetables. But the rivalry is sometimes formalized. Though the country, there are competitions in which gardeners enter their cabbage, leeks, onions, carrots or whatever in the hope that they will be judged the best. There is a similar situation with animal. There hundreds of dog and cat shows throughout the country at which owners hope that their pet will win a prize. There are a lot of such specific kinds of sport in the United Kingdom but I want to stop my thought on consideration of more widespread.
THE MAIN PART
British are great lovers of competitive sports; and when they are neither playing nor watching games they like to talk about them, or when they cannot do that, to think about them. Modern sport in Britain is very different. 'Winning isn't everything' and 'it's only a game' are still well-known sayings which reflect the amateur approach of the past. But to modern professionals, sport is clearly not just a game. These days, top players in any sport talk about having a 'professional attitude' and doing their 'job' well, even if, officially, their sport is still an amateur one. The middle-class origins of much British sport means that it began as an amateur pastime - a leisure-time activity which nobody was paid for taking part in. Even in football, which has been played on a professional basis since 1885, one of the first teams to win the FA (Football Association) Cup was a team of amateur players (the Corinthians). In many other sports there has been resistance to professionalism. People thought it would spoil the sporting spirit. May be they are right.
The social importance of sport
The importance of participation in sport has legal recognition in Britain. Every local authority has a duty to provide and maintain playing fields and other facilities, which are usually very cheap to use and sometimes even free. Spectator sport is also a matter of official public concern. For example, there is a law which prevents the television rights to the most famous annual sporting occasions, such as the Cup Final and the Derby, being sold exclusively to satellite channels, which most people cannot receive. In these cases it seems to be the event, rather than the sport itself, which is important. Every year the Boat Race and the Grand National are watched on television by millions of people who have no great interest in rowing or horse-racing. Over time, some events have developed a mystique which gives them a higher status than the standard at which they are played deserves. In modern times, for example, the standard of rugby at the annual Varsity Match has been rather low - and yet it is always shown live on television.
Sometimes the traditions which accompany an event can seem as important as the actual sporting contest. Wimbledon, for instance, is not just a tennis tournament. It means summer fashions, strawberries and cream, garden parties and long, warm English summer evenings. This reputation created a problem for the event's organizers in 1993, when it was felt that security for players had to be tightened. Because Wimbledon is essentially a middle-class event, British tennis fans would never allow themselves to be treated like football fans. Wimbledon with security fences, policemen on horses and other measures to keep fans off the court? It just wouldn't be Wimbledon!
The long history of such events has meant that many of them, and their venues, have become world-famous. Therefore, it is not only the British who tune in to watch. The Grand National, for example, attracts a television audience of 300 million. This worldwide enthusiasm has little to do with the standard of British sport. The cup finals of other countries often have better quality and more entertaining football on view - but more Europeans watch the English Cup Final than any other. The standard of British tennis is poor, and Wimbledon is only one of the world's major tournaments. But if you ask any top tennis player, you find that Wimbledon is the one they really want to win. Every footballer in the world dreams of playing at Wembley, every cricketer in the world of playing at Lord's. Wimbledon, Wembley and Lord's are the 'spiritual homes' of their respective sports. Sport is a British export!
There are a lot of sports in Britain today and of course, there is no use in considering all of them. I try to make a short review of the most famous in the world on the one hand and unusual sports on the other hand. And the first one is the most popular game in the world:
Football is the most popular team game in Britain. The British invented it and it has spread to every corner of the world. There is no British team. England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland compete separately in European and World Cup matches. The English and Welsh clubs have together formed a League with four divisions. The Scottish League has three divisions. The champions of the English First Division, and the Scottish Premier Division qualify to play in the European Cup competition.
British football has traditionally drawn its main following from the working class. In general, the intelligentsia ignored it. But in the last two decades of the twentieth century, it has started to attract wider interest. The appearance of fanzines is an indication of this. Fanzines are magazines written in an informal but often highly intelligent and witty style, published by the fans of some of the clubs. One or two books of literary merit have been written which focus not only on players, teams and tactics but also on the wider social aspects of the game. Light-hearted football programmes have appeared on television which similarly give attention to 'off-the-field' matters. There has also been much academic interest. At the 1990 World Cup there was a joke among English fans that it was impossible to find a hotel room because they had all been taken by sociologists!
Many team sports in Britain, but especially football, tend to be men-only, 'tribal' affairs. In the USA, the whole family goes to watch the baseball. Similarly, the whole family goes along to cheer the Irish national football team. But in Britain,