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>>Sports in the USA !

Sport is a huge part of American culture : playing, watching and cheering on your home-town team.

In the United States children begin playing sports very young, often joining teams at 4 or 5 years of age.

Most children play on neighboorhood teams for soccer, tennis, baseball, footaball, swimming or golf (among other choices too !) At high school level, most high schools offer the students several choices of sports. Students play on a competitive level. The top students are put on the varsity team and compete with other school teams.

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kids playing football

photo by Big Pru/flickr (cc)

Students are awarded a "letter" for playing on the varsity team, usually in the form of a badge. The students then sew this letter onto a "letter jacket" in the school colors.

In high school there are many choices of sports : soccer, football, baseball, softball, track and field, tennis, swimming, etcetera.

The major professional sports in the US are :


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football/ photo by sanjoyg/flickr

football vocabulary :

Touchdown : A goal scored by bringing the ball onto the other team’s end zone (at the end of the field). Awarded 7 points.

Superbowl : The final game of the year, played by the two top teams.

NFL : The National Football League

Field Goal : A goal scored by kicking the ball through the field posts, awarded 3 points.

Cheerleaders : Pretty girls who dance and cheer the team on and encourage the fans to participate

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cheerleaders : photo by HotRod/flickr


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Baseball Stadium/ photo by Ravi Raj/ Flickr

Baseball is one of the oldest and most traditional American sports, rich in history. The integration of races was one of the most historic and symbolic racial integration events in the US.

To learn a bit of baseball history,click here.

The basic rules :

There are 9 innings in each game, and each team bats during each inning. After 3 players get "out" the inning ends and the team switches sides. In order to get "out" the batter must either "strike out" OR the opposite team must catch the hit OR the player must be tagged out with the ball. A point is scored when a player runs around all the bases and back to the "home plate".

Don’t worry if you don’t understand ! The best way to learn is to play yourself or watch a few games !

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Baseball player : photo by SectionZ/Flickr

Baseball Vocabulary :

Inning : one of 9 parts of the game
Pitcher : the player who throws the ball
Batter : the player who hits the ball
Home Run : a hit that goes far enough for the player to run around all the bases and score a point

Major League Baseball : the professional players league
World Series : the end of season final tournament with the top two teams in the country. The team that wins the first 4 out of 7 games wins !


Basketball is very popular, especially at the high school and college (university) level. The National Basketball Association is a professional league.

Basketball is played on a basketball court, where players try to shoot the ball into a basket (also called the net).

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basketball, photo by compujeramey/flickr


Ice hockey is also popular. Some children in the northern U.S. and and Canada spend many hours on the ice rink practicing.

The National Hockey League (the NHL) is made up of teams from both the US and Canada.

Field hockey, played on grass, is also played, mostly by high school girls.

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Hockey ; photo by brookenovak/flickr


1. Listen to this excerpt from the 1936 World Series ! Can you tell what is happening ? Can you describe the mood ?

2. Watch a bit of American football, baseball, basketball or hockey. Can you figure out how to score a point ?

3. Research an American sports league. Who are the top players and what are the top teams this season ? Who do you think will win the championship ?

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