The Football Match

Something very queer is happening in that narrow thor­oughfare to the west of the town. A grey-green tide flows sluggishly down its length. It is a tide of cloth caps.

These caps have just left the ground of the Bruddersford United Association Football Club. To say that these men paid their shilling to watch twenty-two hirelings kick a ball is merely to say that a violin is wood and catgut, that "Ham­let" is so much paper and ink. For a shilling the Brudders­ford United A.F.C. offered you Conflict and Art; it turned you into a critic, happy in your judgement of fine points, ready in a second to estimate the worth of a well-judged pass, a run down the touch line, a lightning shot, a clear­ance kick by back or goal-keeper; it turned you into a parti­san, holding your breath when the ball came sailing into your own goalmouth, ecstatic when your forwards raced away towards the opposite goal, elated, downcast, bitter, tri­umphant by turns at the fortunes of your side, watching a ball shape Iliads and Odysseys for you; and what is more, it turned you into a member of a new community, all brothers together for an hour and a half, for not only had you es­caped from the clanking machinery of this lesser life, from work, wages, rent, doles, sick pay, insurance cards, nagging wives, ailing children, bad bosses, idle workmen, but you had escaped with most of your mates and your neighbours, with half the town, and there you were, cheering together, thumping one another on the shoulders, swopping judge­ments like lords of the earth, having pushed your way through a turnstile into another and altogether more splen­did kind of life, hurting with Conflict and yet passionate and beautiful in its Art. Moreover, it offered you more than a shilling's worth of material for talk during the rest of the week. (From "Good Companions" by J. B. Priestley. Abridged)

b) Comment on the extract:

1. Explain the words: "To say that these men paid their shilling to watch twenty-two hirelings kick a ball is merely to say that a violin is wood and catgut, that "Hamlet" is so much paper and ink." 2. Explain the words: "For a shilling the Bruddersford United A.F.C. offered you Conflict and Art." 3. What, in the author's opinion, does football give people? 4. Do you agree with the author in that? What do you think about such games as football and hockey and the secret of their popularity?

XVI. a) Study the text and search for some arguments in favour of sport. Summarize the text:

How Healthy Are You?

Check your knowledge.

What sort of shape are you in? Are you the sort of person who goes for a run each morning, or are you the other kind who gets out of breath when reaching for a cigarette?

Maybe you have a lot of energy. You go to work or school, you make decisions all day, you do extra work at home. Exer­cise? You don't have enough time — why bother anyway?

Well, the answer to that question is your body design. Human beings weren't built for sitting at a desk all day: your body is constructed for hunting, jumping, lifting, running, climbing and a variety of other activities. If you don't get the exercise that your body wants, then things can go badly wrong. Your mind works all day, and your body does noth­ing: the results can vary from depression to severe illness to early death.

Not a very cheerful thought, and of course the natural reaction is "It's not going to happen to me." Maybe, maybe not. Here are two ways of looking after yourself: firstly, by seeing if you are doing the right sort of exercise, and secondly by seeing if you have the right kind of diet.

(From "Modern English International". Mozaika. 1984, No. 263)

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