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Sport in Great Britain.

The English are great lovers of competitive sports, and when they are neither playing nor watching games they like to talk about them. England was first home of many of modern world's most popular sports. But today the English can hardly claim to excel in any form of sport when they engage in international competitions. Other countries, who have adopted the games together with sports English terminology are fired with far more ambition to win, whereas the British are renowned for playing the game with respect for rules and the opponents, winning with modesty and losing with grace.

Football.

Let us survey the popular games of today. At the top of the list is Association Football, or "soccer", which in England is played by schoolboys and by thousands of amateur teams up and down the country. For most of the public, however, football is a professional's game, to be watched of Saturday afternoon at the local ground. In England and Wales there is a league of four divisions. There is an annual cup competition too. Thousands of club supporters watch the cup finals and there are millions of fans, and still others who do not actually follow the matches but fondly dream of winning a fortune by playing the pools every week.

Rugby football.

Rugby football is also very popular. As you know, it is played with an oval ball, which is carried rather than kicked and players try to stop the man with the ball by throwing him bodily to the ground.

Other sports.

Most secondary schools have playing fields, and boys normally play rugger or soccer in winter and cricket and tennis in summer, while girls play handball, tennis, netball and hockey. Basketball is not played much. Although the British are fond of watching horses and dogs racing. They are not particularly interested in being spectators at ocassions when human beings compete. Athletics, sports and gymnastics are practiced at schools, but many towns have running tracks for public use. The school gym is usually equipped with climbing ropes (laná), parallel bars (bradlá), a vaulting horse (koza), rings (kruhy). On sports day prizes are awarded for the high jump, long jump, the hundred meter run, hurdles and other events. The more social adult games are golf and tennis are played by great numbers of people.

Golf.

Golf, which comes from Scotland, is played by striking a ball with a special golf club round a golf course with 18 holes, the object being get the ball into the holes with as few strokes as possible.

Tennis.

Tennis is becoming an ever greater favorite with young people. Some join a tennis club, but most find a partner and go to one of the public courts than can be hired (prenajaté) by the hour for a very small payment indeed. The first player to win six games wins the set unless the score reaches five all, in which case one player must gain a lead of two games.

Finally there are sports and games that are often thought of as exclusively British (like cricket) and many annual sporting events that the British look forward to eagerly, such as famous university best race between Oxford and Cambridge, which is held on the Thames every spring.

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