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Sports in Great Britain

   British sports may be classified into four sections. First, the varieties of balls with different varieties of implements. Secondly, hunting. Thirdly, the performance of some feat of physical strength, agility or endurance. And fourthly, the "followers".
Let us now consider each of these four classes. It would be impossible to describe all the varieties of ball games. The most important is the one they call cricket. Twenty-two players are required for this game, but only thirteen play at a time. The other nine sit in the pavilion.
   The next ball game I propose to . consider is golf. The implements of this . game are a small white ball and a number of rods with noses attached to them. The object is to strike the ball as far as possible in a given direction and to pop it into a small hole in the ground. Then the game begins again until the ball of each player has been popped eighteen times into eighteen holes in the ground. The number of strokes required for the eighteen "pops" are then reckoned up and the players return to the club house and tell lies about their own score.
   Then there are the two types of football, one played with a large round leather ball, and the other with a large oval leather ball. One is called soccer, the other rugger.
   Lawn tennis has a different technique. The essence of this game is to pat a soft white ball backwards and forwards across a net until one or other of the players either pats incorrectly or is too tired to pat any more.
   These are the major sports of the British in which some sort of ball is struck with some sort of an implement.
   Let us now examine the second category, in which a day is considered wasted if no bird or animal has been killed. This category may be divided into two sub-sections.
   The first, or hunting, sub-section is often called the Backbone of England; the second, or shooting, sub-section is often called the Curse of Scotland. The Backbone consists of a vast number of expensive-looking ladies and gentlemen, often with pink coats on for some reason, and their objectives are the fox, the otter, the stag, and the hare.
   But when we come to the second, or shooting, subsection, the Curse of Scotland, we find that a man or woman can be a sportsman without risking anything more than the life of a neighbour.
   I pass on to the third branch of sports and pastimes. This category, in which no balls are struck nor animals killed. It includes jumping as high as possible into the air, running as fast as possible round a cinder-track — sometimes round and round for hours — throwing great weights, whirling flat discs, jumping, vaulting with the aid of a tong stick, and riding horseraces. In this category also come boxing, wrestling, fencing, mountaineering, and rowing.
   Boxing is a strange business. Two young gentlemen, as a rule of rather unpleasing features, are placed in an enclosed area, called a ring on account of its square shape, and they then attempt to batter each other into unconsciousness with their hands. It appears that they do this of their own free will and are not in any way compelled to do so by the Government.
   And lastly, there is that gigantic band of British sportsmen — the Followers.
   These will bet about horses they know nothing about, will argue about the merits of two boxers they have never seen, and will discourse on the tactics of a game they have never played. It is this fourth category of British sportsmen, the vast army of Followers, which enables the other three to flourish.

Спорт в Великобритании

   Британский спорт можно разделить на четыре группы. Во-первых, это различные игры с мячом и разнообразными предметами. Во-вторых, охота. В-третьих, виды спорта, которые демонстрируют физическую силу, ловкость и терпение. И, в-четвертых, — болельщики.
   Позвольте рассказать сейчас обо всех этих группах. Невозможно перечислить все игры с мячом. Самая главная — та, которую британцы называют крикетом. Для этой игры нужны двадцать два игрока, но только тринадцать играют одновременно. Другие девять — запасные.
   Еще одна игра с мячом — гольф. Играют в эту игру белым мячиком и клюшками с загнутыми концами. Цель игры — отбить мячик как можно дальше и попасть им в лунку в земле. Игра продолжается до тех пор, пока мячик каждого игрока не попадет восемнадцать раз в восемнадцать лунок. Число ударов подсчитывают, а игроки возвращаются в клуб и рассказывают небылицы о том, сколько мячей они забили.
   Существует два вида футбола. В один играют большим круглым кожаным мячом, в другой — большим овальным кожаным мячом. Это футбол и регби.
   Большой теннис имеет свои особенности. В этой игре два игрока отбивают мягкий белый мячик друг другу через сетку до тех пор, пока один из игроков или ударит неправильно, или устанет.
   Это те спортивные британские игры, в которых мяч отбивается каким-либо предметом.
   Теперь рассмотрим вторую группу игр, в которой день считается проведенным зря, если не убита какая-нибудь птица или зверь. Эту группу можно разделить на две подгруппы.
   Первая — это охота, вторая — стрельба, которую называют проклятием Шотландии. Поохотиться приходит много дорого одетых леди и джентльменов, часто в розовых костюмах, и их цель — лиса, выдра, олень и заяц.
   Что же касается стрельбы, или проклятия Шотландии, можно сказать, что мужчины или женщины, которые хотят заниматься таким спортом, не рискуют ничем, кроме жизни соседа.
   Я отдаю предпочтение третьей группе спорта и досуга. Эта та категория, в которой никто не бьет по мячу и не убито ни одно животное. Это — прыжки в высоту, бег по треку на скорость и время, поднятие тяжестей, метание диска, прыжки, метание копья и верховая езда. В этой категории также находятся бокс, борьба, фехтование, альпинизм и гребля.
   Бокс — это довольно странное занятие. Два, как правило, не очень красивых молодых джентльмена находятся на закрытой территории, называемой рингом из-за своей квадратной формы, и пытаются бить друг друга руками до беспамятства. Оказывается, они делают это по собственной воле и никоим образом не нарушают закон.
   Наконец, есть еще одна огромная группа британских спортсменов — болельщики. Они заключают пари на лошадей, о которых ничего не знают, спорят о достоинствах боксеров, которых никогда не видели, и говорят о тактике игры, в которую никогда не играли. Это — огромная армия болельщиков, четвертая группа спортсменов, которая дает возможность предыдущим трем процветать


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