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- Online English Lesson Plans, Lesson Material and Ideas for "Culture of
English Speaking Countries Lessons", Xiangtan Normal University...
WESTERN CULTURE AND SOCIETY: THE UNITED KINGDOM (UK) -
Horse Racing / Hunting
Jogging / Running
Kung Fu (and similar,
such as Karate)
For centuries, people have been playing games where they kick a ball. The
game of football was developed from some of these early games. The English
gave football the name soccer and its first set of rules. In European
countries, soccer is now called football. The first organised soccer games
began in 1863.
Every four years, soccer
teams around the world compete for the World Cup. The World Cup competition
started in 1930. People in more than 140 countries around the world play
football. It is the national sport of most European and Latin American
countries. Soccer is now the world’s most popular sport!
In the UK most football
teams play their main games on a Saturday, the teams are divided up into
leagues depending on how good they are. The best teams are in the Premier
Division, Division 1, then Division 2, depending upon there performance.
Most people support their local team, however the biggest team in England is
Football has become very
commercialised. Players are paid a lot of money, and football clubs are run
as a business. They make money from holding events such as parties and
business meetings within the football grounds.
Football was developed
into the game of basketball in 1891. Basketball was invented in America and
was developed as a game that students could play indoors during bad weather.
Rugby: Violent version of football!! Like
The History of Rugby:
During a football match at a school in England called
Rugby School of England in 1823, a student picked up the ball in his hands
and ran with it. This seemed very interesting at the time, and lead to the
creation of the sport rugby. Cambridge University adopted the game,
popularized it and made local rules. The game grew popular at area schools
and in 1871, ten years after the common rules of soccer were set, the first
Rugby Union was founded in London and firm rules of the game were
In 1895 rugby clubs in
northern England called for compensation of lost wages for players. The
Rugby League was founded as a result and a 13-player game with altered rules
were created for professionals.
Rugby spread across the
globe and competition emerged between countries. In the United States, the
lack of precise rules in the game led the President of America, Theodore
Roosevelt to insist on reform of the game to lower the violence. The English
rules of rugby died out and the game of American football was born.
elsewhere, mainly in Britain, New Zealand, Australia and South Africa. The
sport continues to grow and now played in over 80 countries worldwide.
Goal posts similar to
those used in American football and shaped in the form of an "H"
stand on the goal line at opposite ends of the field, at the beginning of
each try zone.
The length of play is
very flexible and determined by the level of play but is usually around an
hour to an hour and a half of playing time. The time is divided into two
halves, with usually only a 5 minute half time. Substitutions or time-outs
are not allowed. Play pauses for penalties, scores, when the ball goes out
of touch. The game is not stopped for injuries until the ball is out of
Players do not wear any
padding or protection except for a mouth guard. The ball comes in many
sizes. It is shaped like an American football, but is larger. The referee
controls the game and sees that the players maintain good conduct and obey
the laws of rugby. There is only one referee and that person is the only
judge, timekeeper and score keeper.
15 people play at a time
per side, each of which have specific duties as a player. Players are
usually talked about in respect to two categories. Members of the first
group are called the forwards, or the pack, and consist of the first eight
players. Members of the second group are called the backs, and consist of
the remaining players. Sometimes the scrum half, number 9, is considered
part of either group.
The objective of the
game is to gain more points than the opposing team within the allotted time
of play. A tie is called if the scores are equal at the end of play. A try
is scored when a player places the ball in the opposition's goal area. It is
counted as 5 points and can be converted to an additional 2 points with a
successful place kick made from a line perpendicular to the point at which
the ball was scored. A goal can also be scored through a penalty with a free
kick or a drop kick from the field of play. A goal counts as 3 points.
Cricket: Cricket is a very old game, the
origins of the game of cricket are lost in time. There are some references
from as early as 1300 of a game like cricket being played in Kent, southern
It seems clear that the
English game originated in the sheep-rearing country of the South East,
where the short grass of the downland pastures made it possible to bowl a
ball of wool or rags at a target. That target was usually the wicket-gate of
the sheep pasture, which was defended with a bat in the form of a shepherd's
By the 17th century the
game was quite popular as a rough rural pastime, but in the following
century the leisure classes took up the sport, particularly in Sussex, Kent,
and London. The first organized match was held in London, in 1730. By the
middle of the 18th century cricket was being played at every level of
society, from village greens to wealthy estates. However, the game lacked a
full set of rules.
In 1835 the game of
cricket was given its first formal laws, which still stand largely intact
today. Major cricket matches can last as long as 5 days, with each side
having two "innings", or turns at bat. A recent alternative to the
longer matches are "limited over" matches. These events may take a
relatively short 3-5 hours during the course of one day.
The game of cricket is
now played worldwide, where the power of the game has moved from England to
nations such as South Africa, Australia, India, Pakistan, and the West
Indies. In England the major focus of the game is the county championships,
with both four-day and one-day competitions running simultaneously during
the summer months. But traditional village cricket is still played in towns
and villages all across the UK.
Snooker: Sometimes called Billiards or Pool,
snooker is about hitting little colored balls with a long, narrow pole, on a
green, felt-covered table. It became popular in the early 1960s. Snooker was
initially enjoyed by French royalty since the 15th century, the game has
been played by presidents, men, women, and children all over the world.
Sir Neville Chamberlain,
a British officer stationed in India often played a game called Pyramids in
which 15 red balls were placed in a triangle, with the ball at the apex of
the triangle placed on a pyramid spot on the table. Chamberlain decided to
combine Pyramids red balls with the black and colored balls used in Black
Pool and decided to call the game snooker. With the return of the soldiers
to England, snooker arrived and became very popular.
Playing pool became
questionable when tables were installed in horse racing betting rooms, since
they were known to be hangouts for gamblers during the early 1920s and 1930s
Popular in France during
the early 14th century, Louis XI built the first billiard table, made of
oak. A green cloth was used to simulate grass. Like the game played
outdoors, at that time, an arch was placed at one end of the table and a pin
at the other end. To keep the balls from rolling off the table, rails were
installed around the table top. These rails were soon replaced with cushions
filled with flock or down, and around 1835 replaced with rubber-filled
cushions. Vulcanized rubber was used in 1845 to fill the cushions and to
this day remains an important part of the table. The bed of the table was
made from slate which is still used today.
Wooden boxes were added
to the table and today these pockets are made of net. Cues were added to the
game in the 1730s.
On of England's most
celebrated players, John Roberts Jr., traveled to India, Australia, New
Zealand, South Africa and America in the late 1800s spreading the word and
playing billiards. While in India, Roberts opened a factory to make billiard
tables and was employed to be a professional billiards player.
The first balls were
made of wood. In the early 1800s ivory was used, which allowed the balls to
make a clicking sound when they touched each other. Around 1870, someone
came up with synthetic plastic balls and they have been in use till today.
Pool: Billiards became a popular game among the
British Regiment stationed in India and soon a game called Life Pool or
pocket billiards became popular. Each player had a cue ball of a different
color and the object of the game was to try to pot the other player's cue
ball, until only one player was left. After a player potted his specific
object ball, he had the opportunity to pot the black ball; a game is very
much like the eight ball game played in pool today.
HORSE RACING : In
the UK Horse Racing is nearly as popular as football. The main attraction of
horse racing is betting, or gambling on horses to win. The competitive
racing of horses began about 4000 B.C. In Britain, in 200 AD, racing began
using horses from the Roman invaders' stock. These early war horses were
selectively bred for their qualities of strength, power, courage and speed.
They were much sought after and desired by British royalty, noblemen and
aristocrats. In the 16th century, the English, French and Italian royalty
began importing horses to improve their breeding and racing stock.
Racing became the sole
sport of noblemen. By the 17th century there were a dozen British race
tracks that had flat-racing events. The idea that horse racing was only for
the wealthy continued up to the 1700's. The law stated that only
"Gentlemen," implying the wealthy, were legally allowed to race.
Horse racing and wagering became a popular diversion of European nobility.
During the 1700's, racecourses became common in England. To control
the sport, the Jockey Club was formed in 1750, which subsequently
established standards, rules and regulations. Meanwhile breeders endeavored
to produce even faster animals.
Boxing, often called "the manly art of self-defense," is a sport
in which two competitors try to hit each other with their glove-encased
fists while trying to avoid each other's blows. The competition is divided
into a specified number of rounds, usually 3 minutes long, with 1-minute
rest periods between rounds. Although amateur boxing is widespread,
professional boxing has flourished on an even grander scale since the early
Amateur fights consist
of 3 rounds, professional fights from 4 to 15 rounds. The recognized length
of championship fights is 12 rounds. In most countries, professional boxing
is the more popular version, but the rules vary because there is no true
In all boxing, however,
winners are determined either by a decision of the judges (who keep points
or round victors on a scorecard as the fight progresses), the referee, or
both. The winner also may be decided by a knockout, in which one rival is
sent to the floor by a punch and cannot get up within 10 seconds. A doctor
or referee can declare the boxer injured or defenseless even if there is no
knockdown. A tied or even match is ruled a draw.
The boxing ring is
actually a square, and boxing gloves have been worn by boxers as a general
practice since 1892 and are made of leather.
Boxing is known to have
been used in the Olympic Games in about 688 BC. Boxing became a workingman's
sport during the Industrial Revolution as prizefights attracted participants
and spectators from the working class. Organization was minimal at first,
and the bouts of those eras resembled street fights more than modern boxing.
In 1866 there was a new
set of rules. These rules limited the number of 3-minute rounds, and made
the use of gloves mandatory. With the growing popularity of boxing, weight
classes other than the unlimited heavyweights emerged. These classes became
popular as world championships were held at the new weights. Currently,
there are eight major professional divisions: flyweight (up to 112 lb/50.8
kg); bantamweight (118 lb/53.5 kg); featherweight (126 lb/57.2 kg);
lightweight (135 lb/61.2 kg); welterweight (147 lb/66.7 kg); middleweight
(160 lb/72.6 kg); light heavyweight (175 lb/79.4 kg); and heavyweight
Because of its violent
nature and its identification with betting, boxing has had a controversial
history. There have been periodic efforts to outlaw the sport with many
people calling for a ban on all boxing.
In Britain, the big
events include the Boat Race, the Grand National & the Derby (horse
races), the Five Nations (rugby) the FA Cup Final (football), the Test Match
(cricket) and Wimbledon (tennis).