Sport in Britain
Sport probably plays a more important part in
people’s lives in Britain
than it does in most other countries. For a very large number of people 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. In Britain
today sport is almost a national obsession. There are hours of televised sport
each week. Sport occupies 40 per
cent of the news pages of popular newspapers.
The list of sports invented by the British is a
large one. It includes football, golf, lawn tennis, badminton, cricket,
rugby, billiards, squash, and snooker.
Modern rules of many games were first formulated in Britain. The
public schools of the Victorian era believed that organized competitive games
had many psychological benefits. They developed character and team spirit.
Theses games developed the British sense of ‘fair play’. This concept meant not only
abiding by the written rules of the game but observing its unwritten rules,
which governed the behaviour before, during and after the game. You had to be a
looser’. To be a cheat was shameful, but to lose was a part of the
People played just for the love of game – they
were all amateurs. ‘Winning isn’t everything’ – this saying reflects very well the
amateur approach to sport in the past.
Modern sport in Britain is very different. Big
sport is professional. To modern professionals, sport is clearly not just only
Football is the most popular spectator sport. It started to
become popular in Britain
almost 200 years ago. There are 89clubs in the Football League, 450 in
the Football Association and 40,000 amateur clubs in the country.
Rugby is a form of football that started in 1823. The ball in rugby is oval-shaped, not round. There are two
forms of rugby at present – Rugby Union and Rugby
Cricket is one of
the three English national sports for men along with football and rugby. The
game is very old. It is a very slow game, and the matches are very long.
Cricket is very much connected with Britain. Cricket is much more than
just a sport. It symbolizes a way of life - a slow and peaceful rural way of
life. Cricket is special because it combines competition with the British dream
of rural life.
Lawn tennis is the favourite individual game in Britain. The number of people
playing lawn tennis has increased immensely during the last few years. Wimbledon is
the center of lawn tennis. The Wimbledon
Tennis Tournament, held in July, is regarded by tennis players as the
most important tournament to win. There is a great public interest to the
tournament. Many tennis fans queue all night outside the grounds to get tickets
for the finals. Wimbledon
is considered to be typically English and rather old-fashioned. It is an
important social occasion as well as a sporting event. It is traditional to eat
strawberries and cream and to drink champagne. The first Wimbledon Tennis Tournament was held in 1877. At first it was all-English, now it is international.
Golf is a cross-country game. Despite its atAtractiveness golf is not a game
for everyone. It requires a great degree of skill, patience and dedication. The
sport of badminton takes its name
from the country house, Badminton House,
where the sport was first played in the 19th
century. About 5 million play
badminton in Britain
and there are 5,000 clubs. In 1922 badminton became a full Olympic sport.
Horse-racing is a long established and popular sport in Britain. It is sometimes called the
‘sport of kings’ because it is an
expensive hobby to have a racehorse. Gambling, especially on horses, is a part
of many people’s lives in Britain.
During the year there are 6,000
different races with prize money totaling 5
million. About 5 million people go
to races each year.
Steeple chasing is an exciting event to watch. The most famous steeple chase is the Grand National. The other two famous
race meetings are the Derby, run at Epsom Down in June and the Royal Ascot, also in June. The Queen
and the Royal Family always attend it.