The biggest “loser” sport in the world!
Good evening campers!
(This is a catchphrase from a very popular 1980s comedy show in the UK called “Hi-de-Hi”, about a holiday park.)
I was really impressed with those of you who wrote about your favourite walks – you used some very evocative language to describe the scenery, to the extent that I really felt I was there. (You’ve also inspired me to start planning a major trip round the world!). So thank you for that, and well done!
Satya, you probably won’t see this until you get back, but I hope you have a wonderful time at home, and I can’t wait to hear all about it!
Well, as promised, today’s post is all about sport. Actually, I was quite clear in my head about how I was going to write this, and then I had a crazy conversation with Chris, and all my ideas changed …In fact, the title of today’s post is something he said while we were talking (much more interesting than what I was originally going to put!). By “loser” he means a sport that only sad, pathetic people (like me!) would play …
So, I’ll stop being mysterious and start writing! We were actually having a conversation about the sports we played at primary school, particularly on sports day. Did your schools have a sports day too? We used to have one once a year, just before the summer holiday. Anyway, at primary school, there were different kinds of races: the egg-and-spoon race (you run holding an egg on a spoon, and the winner is the person who reaches the end without the egg falling off), the sack race (yes, you’ve guessed it – you try to run whilst standing in a sack; it’s more like jumping, actually) and the three-legged-race (your right leg is tied to your partner’s left leg and you run together). My best friend and I were really good at the three-legged-race – in fact we won three years on the trot!
So this led onto a more general discussion of sports we played at the village gala (in my case) and the school fête (in Chris’s case). I think I’ll just give you the conversation …
C: The tug-of-war* …
R: Yes, the tug-of-war. And of course, welly*-throwing.
C: What? Welly throwing?
R: Yeah, you stand behind the line, and you take a welly boot by the heel, and you throw it as far as you can, and the person to throw it the furthest wins.
C (collapsing into hysterical laughter): Welly-throwing? You’ve got to be kidding! That has to be the biggest loser sport in the world!
R (highly offended): Actually it’s really hard. And if you’re so tough, what did you use to play?
C: The greasy pole*.
R (completely bewildered): The what?
C: You sit on a greasy pole, and your opponent sits opposite you, and you hit each other with pillows until someone falls off.
R (imagining all kinds of bizarre behaviour): And is the pole vertical or horizontal?
C (hitting R with a cushion): It’s horizontal, you idiot!
*Tug-of-war – two teams hold on to each end of a rope and pull. The winner is the team who manages to pull the other team past the centre line.
*Welly – Wellington boot (also known as a gumboot).
*A pole covered in soap and water to make it slippery and difficult to sit on.
So, we would really love to know – do any of you guys know of anything stranger than welly-throwing or the greasy pole? Do tell!!!!
And now on to more serious sport!! I thought I might start you off with a little quiz (answers below). Can you match the names of the Aussie sports people with the sport they play (they’re not all current players)?
Ian Thorpe ----- Rugby League
Lleyton Hewitt ----- Cricket
Brett Lee ----- Football (Soccer to non-Poms!)
George Gregan ----- Swimming
Andrew Johns ----- Australian Rules Football
Mark Viduka ----- Formula One
Chris Judd ----- Tennis
Mark Weber ----- Rugby Union
Ian Thorpe – Swimming; Lleyton Hewitt – Tennis; Brett Lee – Cricket; George Gregan- Rugby Union; Andrew Johns – Rugby League; Mark Viduka – Football; Chris Judd – Australian Rules Football; Mark Weber – Formula One.
Probably the most popular sports here in Oz are rugby, Aussie rules and cricket, although football is also making a bit of a comeback. I should probably explain some of the terms that Aussies use to talk about the various forms of football:
NRL – National Rugby League – “footy” or “League”
AFL – Australian Rules Football – “footy”
A League - Soccer / Football – “footy” or “soccer”
Rugby Union – “footy” or “Rugby”
Now that’s not actually as confusing as it might look –
NRL is played mainly in New South Wales and Queensland (there’s only one Victorian team in the league); New Zealand teams also play as part of the league.
AFL is played in Victoria, South Australia, Western Australia, Tasmania and the Northern Territory (there’s one New South Wales team in the league, and none from Queensland).
Soccer has had a bit of a revival in recent years, with the formation of the nationwide league for soccer, known as the A-league, which is starting to attract some international faces such as Juninho.
Rugby Union is played in New South Wales, ACT and Queensland. The Australian team (the Wallabies) has a very good international reputation – or at least they did until England knocked them out of the World Cup a couple of weeks ago!!!!! (Sorry, Chris!)
As for attempting to explain cricket, I’m afraid that is beyond me! (Paulraj, maybe you could have a go in your next comment? You know a lot more about it than I do!). I can give you the basic facts – a game can last up to 5 days, with each team batting twice and fielding twice. And the players wear white. Unless it’s a one day international match and then they wear their national colours (Aussies call it “pyjama cricket”!). And that’s it! As I think I’ve told you, Chris loves cricket – playing it and watching it.
And I shouldn’t forget to tell you about the three major racing events in this nation of sports-fans! There’s the Melbourne F1 (obviously), plus Bathurst and the Melbourne Cup. Bathurst is a touring car race over a 100km circuit, and only two makes of car are allowed to compete: Holden (you might know Holden as Opel or Vauxhall) and Ford. It takes place in early October in the NSW town of ... can you guess … yes – Bathurst! The Melbourne Cup is held in early November and is Australia’s most famous horse race. The whole nation stops to watch it, even though it only lasts about three minutes (it’s even known as “the race that stops a nation”), and it’s actually a public holiday in Victoria. I won’t say any more about it as it’s on in a couple of weeks, so I’ll give it a post all to itself!
All this talk of sport has reminded me of the only real experience of culture shock I’ve had since I’ve been here, but I’ll leave that for another time as you’ve probably had enough of this for today!
Let’s have a quick look at the homework on those past tenses:
Satya, your corrections were spot on:
1. I asked them whether they had placed it correctly or not.
2. And do you know what we did the next day
Satya, you asked for an explanation about number 2 – we use the past simple here because the story and the events you describe are still in the past, even though you’re using the expression “the next day”.
And for those of you who had a go at putting “scolded” on the timeline, you are absolutely right – it goes somewhere before number 4. We don’t know exactly when the scolding happened, so we could put it anywhere on the timeline as long as it’s before my friend came.
As Satya’s going to be away for a few days, this might be a good time to have a look at those wonderful things called gerunds and infinitives! Hurray! So here’s a little bit of preparatory homework for you – have a look through today’s post and the post about the beach walk and see if you can find any examples of where I’ve used gerunds (-ing forms) or infinitives (verb + to or base verb), and start thinking about any patterns you can see, and we’ll talk about it next time.
I’ll put the answers to the vocab here as well, so you can check it if you’ve done it (if you haven’t done it, don’t look and then check it later – no hurry!). I'm blown away by your positive feedback on the vocab – after I’d posted it I felt terrible about bombarding you with so much stuff, and worried that I might have turned you all into "Englishvocabularyphobes"! (Thanks Pilar!!). Anyway, I’m relieved that you’re not giving up in despair! I think that I might do vocab exercises every couple of days so I’m not throwing thousands of words at you all at once – would that be a bit more manageable? And now I know you liked the matching, I’ll try and come up with some more activities for vocab review. (And if anyone hated it, please let me know – all feedback is welcome!) Anyway, here are the answers:
1-f; 2-c; 3-h; 4-a; 5-j; 6-e; 7-b; 8-g; 9-d; 10-i
1-d; 2-i; 3-b; 4-j; 5-f; 6-c; 7-h; 8-a; 9-g; 10-e
1-e; 2-j; 3-a; 4-c; 5-k; 6-g; 7-b; 8-f; 9-d; 10-i; 11-h
1-d; 2-h; 3-e; 4-i; 5-a; 6-f; 7-b; 8-g; 9-c
1-i; 2-f; 3-d; 4-k; 5-e; 6-h; 7-m; 8-j; 9-b; 10-g; 11-a; 12-l; 13-c
1-c; 2-h; 3-b; 4-f; 5-e; 6-a; 7-g; 8-d
1-e; 2-b; 3-a; 4-f; 5-c; 6-d
2. Figure out
3. Let the cat out of the bag
4. Cheap and cheerful
6. A bit picky
7. A scorcher
8. To be pleased to bits
And finally, today’s vocab!
(three years) on the trot (expr)
make a comeback (expr)
knock sb out (of a competition) (phr vb)
spot on (adj)
Well, that’s enough for me today – I don’t know about all of you! Oh, by the way, we did go to the noodle markets tonight (all of us this time) – but it was just as crazy as last week, so no photos! Sorry!
PS - BIG thanks to Chris for reading this before I posted it and increasing my knowledge of Aussie sport. If there are any mistakes, they're all mine!
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