The British invented and codified the rules of many sports and games which are now played all over the world –football, rugby, hockey, cricket, golf, boxing, lawn tennis, that is why Britain is sometimes called the „cradle of sports.“ Major annual sporting events in Britain are also major events in international sports calendar, e.g. Wimbledon – one of the four grand slam tennis tournament . Britain has pioneered facilities for sports for disabled people. Two types of rugby, modern game of hockey, cricket, darts, tennis, and boxing were invented in Britain. Golf has its origin in Scotland. Football is played all over the world and it´ s very popular in Britain, too. In London there is one of the world´s biggest football stadiums- the Wembley Arena and in Britain there are a great number of clubs (Manchester United, Arsenal, Leeds,...).
Rugby football was first played at Rugby School, from which it derives its name. In this game the ball is oval and is handled as well as kicked. Players do not wear protective clothing as men playing American football do. Cricket is often called the English national game. Many other games are English in origin, too, but cricket has never been adopted in foreign countries. It is played only in the United Kingdom, Australia and the West Indies. Hunting, shooting and fishing are three traditional pursuits of rich Englishmen. The word hunting usually means fox hunting on horseback with hounds. Shooting, even more than hunting, is the preserve of the aristocracy and the rich.
Next to football the chief spectator sport is horse- racing ( flat racing and steeple-chasing). Two outstanding events in flat racing are the Derby and the Ascot, the best-known steeplechase race is The Grand National. Another annual sporting event that the British look forward to is the famous university rowing race between Oxford and Cambridge, which is held on the river Thames.. The lawn tennis season reaches its peak every year at the Wimbledon tournament which is played in London in June. For relaxation squash is also played.
The Americans are crazy about sports. Spectator sports play an important role in American life. Many Americans regularly attend sporting events, watch sports on TV and listen to sports on the radio. There is also a variety of sports magazines and most newspapers have sports section. American football is generally the most popular sport, followed by baseball, and basketball. Other sports such as the former Indian game lacrosse or field hockey are also popular.
The Americans like to talk about sports as a topic of conversation. At work, at school, at social gatherings they discuss game scores and sports’strategies they make predictions, even bets on the winning teams.Children are encouraged to join sports’teams at an early age. In every city or town there are children’s leagues for baseball, soccer, football, and basketball.
Often, both boys and girls play together in the same team. All year around , high school and college teams compete in different sports. The football season is in the fall. Basketball matches are held in the winter. Spring is the season for baseball, track and field, swimming.
High schools and college sports’events are a big production drawing large crowds to the stadiums. Cheerleaders, bands, and parades make these events exciting and lively.
Colleges and universities actively recruit skillfull high school players. the best young athletes receive scholarships to attend the universities and play for its team. The finest college athletes are selected to play in the professional leagues. Professional sports in the U.S. are big business. Professional athletes are paid enormous salaries by the team owners as incentive to win and continue drawing crowds to the stadium. In addition companies that sell sports wear and equipment heavily advertize at sport events. Cities compete to attract professional teams. The city that is the home to a major team gains employment, revenua, and prestige.
Each professional sport in the U.S. have its own national competition. Football teams across the country compete for the grand prize in the Superbowl. In basketball the highest achievement is to win the NBA Championship. Baseball teams strive to win in the world series.
Women´s athletics has gained popularity in recent years. All female basketball teams are renowned for their skill and intense competition. Even in ice hockey there are strongly competitive women´s league. American women enjoy playing tennis, golf, baseball, volleyball, soccer, field hockey and football. Most cities have amateur coed leagues where men and women from age 20 to 60 can play together basketball, baseball, soccer and volleyball teams.
Staying fit is a national obsession in the U.S. Many Americans belong to fitness clubs where they can lift weights, work out on exercise machines, swim and participate in aerobics, yoga and stretching classes. The Americans also like to go jogging or running. In the early morning before work or during the lunch hour and late afternoon parks are filled with joggers, runners, roller bladers and cyclists. The Americans also like to go skiing, snowboarding, windsurfing, kayaking and fishing.