Games that England gave the world

Inglaterra fue la cuna del fútbol y el rugby, deportes que en la actualidad son populares en todo el mundo. ¿Cuáles fueron sus orígenes?

Text found by Alicia Martínez (English and German Teacher at AIT)

         Football (soccer) and Rugby are two of the most successful products ever invented in England. Today these games are played worldwide. This article looks at their early days, and at how Football was first exported to Brazil


Charles Miller, the father of football in Brazil

How football first came to Brazil

    At the end of the nineteenth century, an Englishman living in Brazil sent his son across the Atlantic to be educated in England. Charles Miller went to school, then to university, where he took part enthusiastically in all aspects of life. Sport was one of them; a hundred years ago, Britain already had an established sporting culture.
    During his English years, Charles grew passionately keen on football (i.e. Soccer), and when in 1894 he packed his bags to return to his family in Brazil, among the things he took with him were half a dozen footballs.
    Back in Brazil, he tried to get other people interested in the game. At first, he had little success; the only people who showed any interest were other expatriate Brits; thus, the first game of football in Brazil was played between two teams of young Englishmen, on a field from which the goats had first been removed. 
    Charles asked some journalists to come and see this new English game, but none came along. On the other hand, as the weeks went past, the spectacle of twenty-two young English running round after a ball began attracting spectators from houses nearby; before long, young local men began kicking balls round too. «Balls» is perhaps the wrong word – the only footballs in Brazil at the time were the ones that Charles Miller had brought back with him from England. The first Brazilian amateurs had to concoct their own balls, using whatever they could find to make them with.


English football players in 1881

    Nevertheless, even without real balls, there was plenty of enthusiasm for the new game, as «football» became the great attraction in the popular quarters of Sao Paolo, just like basketball is the great street-sport today in many world cities. By 1901, there was already a league of clubs in Sao Paolo, and the journalists who had originally laughed at the crazy English sport, were jumping on the bandwaggon, writing enthusiastically about the popular new game.
    The rest, as they say, is history.

The origins of football and rugby

    But how did English football, or soccer, and its sister-game Rugby, originate? And why did it happen in England?
    The origins of football go back hundreds of years, and there are several towns and villages in England where ancient forms of football are still played. The original game had few rules, and differed from place to place. Basically, the teams just had to try and get a ball (or some other object) past the opponent’s line. Sometimes the lines were over a mile apart, and the field was the village street…. or even a field with no limits! People could kick the ball (and their opponents), run with it, throw it – anything was allowed.


Football at an English public school in 1889

    In the nineteenth century, public schools developed fast; and since many of them were boarding schools, they had to keep boys occupied all day. Sport was a popular way of doing this; at first each school had its own games, with its own rules; but slowly fixed rules became established. In many schools, carrying the ball was not allowed; the game was called «football». Some schools however preferred a version of the game where players were allowed to carry the ball; one of these schools was in the small town of Rugby.
    In 1863, a group of enthusiasts, who had played ball games at different schools, met in London to fix rules for the game. They formed the Football Association. Eighteen years later, as the game was getting more and more popular, they organised the first F.A.Cup competition.
    Following the example of schools and colleges, the owners of factories (many of whom had been educated at public schools) began encouraging employees to form teams, and football soon became very popular in the industrial north of England. By 1888, the game had become popular enough to support professional clubs, with 12 original clubs forming the Football League.
    Since then, the popularity of both football and rugby has continued to spread across the world; and though rugby has not been adopted in all countries, there is probably no country in the world where football is now unknown. 



Is Surfing a sport? Part I

Text written by Alicia Martínez (English and German Teacher at AIT)

Though surfing has been practiced for many hundreds of years at many places all around the world its recognition as a sport is still questioned or not very clear. So it is very common to find people asking if Surfing is a sport and if not, what is it?

To clear up this matter we first should consider what sport is. And after searching some appropriate definitions I found three:


Game, competition, or activity needing physical effort and skill that is played or done according to rules, for enjoyment and/or as a job. (Surfing in Cambridge Dictionary).


Activity involving physical exertion and skill in which an individual or team competes against another or others for entertainment. (Surfing in Oxford Dictionary).

and from

Sport (British English) or Sports (American English) includes all forms of competitive physical activity or games which,[1] through casual or organised participation, aim to use, maintain or improve physical ability and skills while providing enjoyment to participants, and in some cases, entertainment for spectators. (Surfing in Wikipedia).

In my opinion sport could also be understood as a traditional event in which rules are set and in which the winner can be defined by objective means.

NOW … tell us your opinion: Where does Surfing fall?

To be continued…

Golf: jugando más allá de Escocia

¡Hablemos de deporte!

El mes pasado el golfista español Sergio García ganó la edición de este año del US Masters, siendo siendo el primero en conseguirlo desde que José María Olazábal lo ganó en 1999. Esta noticia nos brinda la oportunidad perfecta para hablar de este deporte de origen escocés.

¿Cuándo se inventó el golf?

El golf es un deporte muy antiguo. La forma de jugar moderna, es decir, la forma en que jugamos actualmente, tiene sus orígenes en la Escocia del siglo XV. En esta época, el rey Jaime II prohibió el juego porque lo consideraba una distracción que impedía a los arqueros aprender su oficio. Esta prohibición se levantó en el siglo siguiente por orden del rey Jaime IV, aficionado al golf. 

Las normas de juego más antiguas conservadas fueron compiladas en marzo de 1744 para el torneo de la Company of Gentlemen Golfers de Edimburgo, que se jugaba en Leith, Escocia.

El campeonato de golf más antiguo que todavía se juega y el primer gran torneo (major) de los cuatro torneos más importantes que existen, es el Open Championship. Se jugó por primera vez el 17 de octubre de 1860 en el club de golf Prestwick, en Ayrshire, Escocia.


Más allá de Escocia

Dos escoceses de la localidad de Dunfermline, John Reid y Robert Lockhart, importaron este deporte a Estados Unidos en 1888 y crearon el primer club de golf en Yonkers, Nueva York.

Actualmente, tres de los cuatro campeonatos masculinos de golf más importantes (The Major Championships) se celebran en los Estados Unidos:

  • Masters Tournament, al que solo se accede por invitación, se celebra en el Augusta National Golf Club, en Georgia, Estados Unidos.
  • US Open, organizado por la Asociación de Golf de los Estados Unidos, que se celebra en distintas partes del país.
  • PGA Championship, organizado por la Asociación de Golfistas Profesionales de América, que también se celebra en distintas localidades del país.
  • The Open Championship es el único que se juega en el Reino Unido y lo organiza el Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews.

Pero, sin duda, el lugar más alejado de Escocia en el que se haya jugado al golf es… ¡la Luna! En febrero de 1971, el astronauta americano Alan Shepard coló unos palos y pelotas en el Apolo 14 y dio un par de golpes en la superficie del satélite. Aquí tenéis el vídeo:


A continuación os dejamos con un artículo en inglés (¡para practicar!) que recoge algunas de las felicitaciones que recibió García por su triunfo.


Congratulations rain in for Masters winner Sergio García

Golfers such as Bubba Watson, McIlroy, and Tiger congratulated García, along with figures from Spanish sport, following win at the 2017 Augusta Masters.

Jesús Mariano Martín 

Sergio García’s dramatic victory in the 2017 US Masters, the first major of his career, has provoked an outpouring of congratulation for the popular Spaniard. Both García’s fellow golfers, and other figures from the world of sport, took to social media to congratulate him following his play-off triumph over Justin Rose at Augusta.

García’s fellow golfers congratulate

Tiger Woods, who has had his ups and downs with García over the years, displayed his sporting spirit. The four-time Masters winner wrote the following message: “Congrats Sergio García. Well earned.”

Figures from within Spanish golf also celebrated García’s first major victory, at his 74th attempt. Jon Rahm, who enjoyed a fine Masters debut, was elated: “Seve [Ballesteros], Txema [Olázabal], and now Sergio! Amazing! Come on! If he was my idol before, he certainly is now!” Rafa Cabrero Bello also celebrated with this message: “Ladies and gentleman, Sergio García, the Masters 2017 Champion!”, along with a video of the moment when García became the next custodian of the green jacket.

Jon Rahm Rodriguez @JonRahmpga

Seve, Txema y ahora Sergio!!!!!! Que grande!!! Vamos!!!!!! Si ya era mi ídolo ahora mucho mas!!!!!! #vamos

Rafa Cabrera Bello @RCabreraBello

Ladies and Gentleman, the 2017 @TheMasters CHAMPION!!!!!! @TheSergioGarcia

Beyond the Iberian península, Rory McIlroy congratulated García on Twitter: “2 incredible players and 2 great friends, but I couldn’t be happier for Sergio García, you deserve it all amigo”. Bubba Watson was already looking forward to the 2018 Masters, “Congrats to Sergio García, amazing to watch. What are we going to eat next year on Tuesday night?”, a reference to the tradition of the new champion dining with the former champion.

Rory McIlroy @McIlroyRory

2 unbelievable players and 2 great friends, but I couldn’t be happier for @TheSergioGarcia. You deserve it all amigo!!

bubba watson @bubbawatson

Congrats to @TheSergioGarcia! Amazing to watch! What are we eating next year on Tuesday night?? #Champion

Casillas, Nadal, and co.

Spanish sports stars also sent congratulations. Iker Casillas, the Porto and former-Real Madrid goalkeeper, wrote: “Dear friends, I present to you the Champion of the Augusta Masters! Congratulations Sergio García!” While Rafa Nadal wrote: “Amazing Sergio García, so exciting after so many years of struggle! Many congratulations! Delighted!”

Iker Casillas @IkerCasillas

Queridos amig@s: os presento al Campeón del Másters de Augusta!! ENHORABUENA @TheSergioGarcia !! 

Rafa Nadal @RafaelNadal

¡Qué grande @TheSergioGarcia muy emocionante después de tantos años luchando tanto!, ¡muchas felicidades!, ¡qué alegría!

Real Madrid winger Gareth Bale, himself a keen golfer, scribed: “What a Masters! Huge congratulations to my friend Sergio García, unbelievable stuff!”

Gareth Bale @GarethBale11

What a #Masters!! Huge congratulations to my friend @TheSergioGarcia unbelievable stuff! 




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