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better watching sports or participating in sports?
Nowadays sport and recreation have become an important feature in the
people's life. But tastes differ and different people have different attitudes
to sport and recreation. Some people prefer to watch different sports events,
others choose to participate in them actively. Watching other people playing
is a popular leisure activity. Large crowds attend numerous national and
international occasions; millions watch them on television.
Among the most popular sports are football, hockey, basketball, tennis, and
motor racing. Many people assemble to watch these competitions. World
Football, Hockey and Basketball Championships attract people from all over the
world who cover great distances in order to support their favourite team.
Wimbledon Championship is the most important tournament of lawn tennis, while
Grand Prix is the major motor racing competition. But of cause the most
important sport event is the Olympiad that takes place every four years.
Most of the important games are shown on TV. In many countries there are
special TV channels that broadcast sports programmes for 24 hours. The major
sporting competitions, such as the Olympic games, are shown on the central TV
channels attracting millions of people who can be thousands of kilometres away
from the event. Popularity of sports differs from country to country. In Latin
America football stadiums are always crowded, while the Russian fans are so
disappointed with the poor performance of our football teams that many prefer
not to watch the games even on TV.
I can not agree that it is good to disapprove of watching sports events and
approve of participating in sports. The desire to follow the example of sports
stars induces people to take up sports that they used to watch seriously. For
example many young Russians are fond of playing football. Even if the Russian
teams are far from being the best in the world, Brazilian, Italian and French
players become the example that young people try hard to follow.
In the past decades people's involvement in sport and recreation have grown
considerably. Now there is a large variety of available opportunities and
facilities. Sport is the best and the shortest way to health and fitness.
Increasing number of people are involved today in activities that help them
keep fit and enjoy life. Physical recreation tends to be informal and
non-competitive and may include, for example, cycling, boating, jogging.
Dancing has become a very popular recreation. Many Russians have started
learning Latin American dances, such as samba, rumba, cha-cha-cha.
Sport and recreation facilities provided at schools and universities enable
young athletes to develop their talents. In Russia schools and universities
participate in sports tournaments, for example in football and basketball.
Many facilities are made available by local clubs and parks. There are
commercial facilities, which include bowling centres, skating rinks, tennis
courts and riding stables.
According to the latest figures the most popular activity of all is walking.
It is a well known fact that walking for an hour every day is more healthy
than rare and irregular participation in any of the more active physical
activities. To keep fit some people attend special classes or take part in
aerobics or yoga, do some kind of weight training in a gym. Others play
football, badminton, tennis.
Evidently participating in sports has more advantages than simply watching
sports competitions. At the same time these two kinds of activities are
tightly interconnected. Professional sport is important not only for the
professional athletes, one of its missions is to propagandise and popularise
sports activities on the everyday level. At the same time it is always an
individual preference. And only the individual has the right to decide what is
better for him. But whatever the choice is, the pleasure is undoubted.
- Do you like to watch sports events on TV?
- Yes, of course. It is wonderful that television is bringing all kinds of
sports to our homes. Sometimes I go to the stadium to watch a game, but more
often I stay at home and watch matches on TV.
- What sports do you prefer to watch?
- Football and tennis are my favourite sports. I try not to miss the most
important football and lawn tennis tournaments and watch them on TV. The fact
that I prefer to watch sports competitions on TV does not mean that I am lazy.
Unfortunately, Russia is not the major football or tennis power. There is only
one important tennis tournament that is held in Moscow - the Kremlin Cup, and
the best football teams do not come to Moscow to play too often. Thus, if I
want to see really good matches I shall either go abroad or watch TV. For
example, in the summer of 2002 there was a World Football Championship that
took place in Japan and Korea. Although it would have been nice to visit those
countries, was the best possibility of seeing the strongest football teams
play simply turning on the TV set.
- Do you play football or tennis yourself?
- Yes, I do, although not very often. Several years ago I used to do tennis.
Once I was even thinking of pursuing a professional career, but now all that
is in the past. I prefer watching others play tennis to playing myself. As for
football, I have been a football fan from my childhood. My grandfather was the
first to teach me to play football. Since then thousands of times I have
played football with my friends and classmates. I think that the best time for
playing football is early autumn and late spring. After classes my friends and
I go to the playing ground, take a ball and we can really play for hours. In
summer my friends are out of Moscow, while the Russian winter does not induce
to playing football.
- Do you admire any athletes?
- Yes, I do. Eugeny Kafelnikov is my favourite tennis player. He is really
good in tennis and ranks among the best tennis players of the world.
Kafelnikov was the first Russian tennis player who managed to defeat the
strongest Western athletes. I hope Eugeny will show excellent results for many
years to come. I think that the example of Kafelnikov should inspire many
young Russians to play tennis. As for football, I can not, unfortunately, say
that there is a particular Russian player whom I admire. My favourite football
player is Gabriel Batistuta. He is an Argentinean, but now he is playing in
the Italian championship. He is a really gifted athlete, he loves football and
makes thousands of fans adore him. At the same time he neither shows any pride
nor demonstrates contempt for his fans. This is also very important. Batistuta
serves me an example not only as a sportsman but as a personality too.
- Do you have any friends who go in for sports professionally?
- Yes, I do. I have one friend who is doing professional tennis. We started to
play tennis together. While I quitted, he continued to pursue a sport career.
He works very hard under the supervision of his coach. He takes part in
various competitions. He tries to achieve good results, but sometimes they are
not perfect. In either case he is pretty sure that one day he will become a
good tennis player. His dream is to play with Kafelnikov. My other friends do
not take sport seriously. Just for fun they play football or badminton, and I
think that they are right. Sport is good while there is not too much of it.
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