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Date: September 12, 2008
Downloads: Word Doc | PDF Doc | Listening
Audio: 2:08 - 1,003KB - 64kbps
Online Test: Recreate the text
  
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Related materials from ESL Discussions.com on baseball and sport.

THE ARTICLE

Baseball was invented in England

Historians in England have uncovered evidence that baseball may not be as American as apple pie. The BBC reports that baseball was played in England in 1755, more than twenty years before America’s independence in 1776. This may come as a shock for lovers of America’s national game, who believe baseball is an American creation. A recently discovered diary is “proof” that Englishmen were hitting home runs long before their cousins across the Atlantic. The diarist was a man called William Bray, who wrote about the game being played in the county of Surrey, south of London. The Surrey History Centre confirmed the diary was authentic and that it contains an entry describing the game of baseball. The BBC says Major League Baseball officials are aware of this news.


 
 

It will come as no surprise to many sports fans that baseball originated in England. The English invented the world’s most popular sports, including football, tennis, rugby and cricket. What might come as a surprise is that the original form of baseball was played by both sexes. William Bray’s diary describes a game of baseball played on a spring afternoon in which “young ladies” took part. A Washington Post journalist, Kevin Sullivan, told the BBC that he was not surprised baseball came from Britain. He said: “It's a great American tradition to take things from other places and improve them. We've always known that baseball evolved; it wasn't invented like basketball.” Despite the recent discovery, it seems unlikely that England will overtake the USA as the number one baseball power.


 
 

WARM-UPS

1. BASEBALL: Walk around the class and talk to other students about baseball. Change partners often. After you finish, sit with your partner(s) and share your findings.

2. CHAT: In pairs / groups, decide which of these topics or words from the article are most interesting and which are most boring.

 

historians / evidence / as American as…/ apple pie / shock / diary / cousins / officials / surprise / sports fans / popular sports / spring afternoons / traditions / discoveries

Have a chat about the topics you liked. Change topics and partners frequently.

3. AS AMERICAN AS…: What things are very, very American? Write your thoughts on the things in the first column. What does your country have instead of these things? What do you think of these? Share your ideas with your partner(s).

Things

My thoughts

My country

Baseball

 

 

Apple Pie

 

 

Hamburgers

 

 

The Stars and Stripes

 

 

The President

 

 

Hollywood

 

 

4. SPORT: Students A strongly believe that sport is NOT important; Students B strongly believe sport is HIGHLY important. Change partners again and talk about your roles and conversations.

5. INVENTIONS: Rank the following inventions in order (you choose what kind of order). Change partners to share and discuss your ranking.

_____  baseball

_____  playing cards

_____  jogging

_____  video games

_____  hangman

_____  the Olympics

_____  football (soccer)

_____  sudoku

6. DIARY: Spend one minute writing down all of the different words you associate with the word ‘diary’. Share your words with your partner(s) and talk about them. Together, put the words into different categories.


 
 

BEFORE READING / LISTENING

1. TRUE / FALSE: Look at the article’s headline and guess whether these sentences are true (T) or false (F):

a.

The world’s oldest baseball player says baseball came from England.

T / F

b.

Baseball was invented before America became independent.

T / F

c.

Eighteenth century Englishmen hit home runs across the Atlantic.

T / F

d.

A diary entry confirms that baseball is an English invention.

T / F

e.

America invented most of today’s biggest sports, including tennis.

T / F

f.

Baseball in 18th century England was played by men and women.

T / F

g.

Unlike baseball, which evolved, basketball is an invented sport.

T / F

h.

England will soon become the number one power in baseball.

T / F

2. SYNONYM MATCH: Match the following synonyms from the article:

1.

uncovered

a.

proof

2

evidence

b.

real

3.

lovers

c.

better

4.

authentic

d.

style

5.

aware

e.

found

6.

originated

f.

developed

7.

form

g.

conscious of

8.

took part

h.

fans

9.

improve

i.

participated

10.

evolved

j.

started

3. PHRASE MATCH: Match the following phrases from the article (sometimes more than one. combination is possible):

1.

Historians in England have uncovered

a.

of this news

2

as American

b.

the USA

3.

This may come

c.

was authentic

4.

the diary

d.

to many sports fans

5.

Baseball officials are aware

e.

as apple pie

6.

It will come as no surprise

f.

American tradition

7.

the original form of baseball was

g.

evidence

8.

It's a great

h.

baseball evolved

9.

We've always known that

i.

as a shock

10.

England will overtake

j.

played by both sexes

WHILE READING / LISTENING

GAP FILL: Put the words into the gaps in the text.

Historians in England have uncovered __________ that baseball may not be as American as __________. The BBC reports that baseball was played in England in 1755, more than twenty years before America’s independence in 1776. This may __________ as a shock for lovers of America’s national game, who believe baseball is an American __________. A recently discovered diary is “proof” that Englishmen were hitting home runs __________ before their cousins across the Atlantic. The __________ was a man called William Bray, who wrote about the game being played in the county of Surrey, south of London. The Surrey History Centre __________ the diary was authentic and that it contains an __________ describing the game of baseball. The BBC says Major League Baseball officials are aware of this news.

 

long
come
entry
creation
evidence
confirmed
apple pie
diarist

It will come as no __________ to many sports fans that baseball originated in England. The English __________ the world’s most popular sports, including football, tennis, rugby and cricket. What might come as a surprise is that the original __________ of baseball was played by both __________. William Bray’s diary describes a game of baseball played on a __________ afternoon in which “young ladies” took part. A Washington Post journalist, Kevin Sullivan, told the BBC that he was not surprised baseball came from Britain. He said: “It's a great American __________ to take things from other places and improve them. We've always known that baseball __________; it wasn't invented like basketball.” Despite the recent discovery, it seems unlikely that England will overtake the USA as the number one baseball __________.

 

sexes
 
evolved
invented
tradition
spring
surprise
power
form

LISTENING:  Listen and fill in the spaces.

Historians in England have _________________ that baseball may not be as American as apple pie. The BBC reports that baseball was played in England in 1755, more than twenty years before America’s independence in 1776. This may _________________ for lovers of America’s national game, who believe baseball is an American creation. A _________________ diary is “proof” that Englishmen were hitting home _________________ their cousins across the Atlantic. The diarist was a man called William Bray, who wrote about the game being played in the county of Surrey_________________. The Surrey History Centre confirmed the diary was authentic and that it contains an entry describing the game of baseball. The BBC says Major League Baseball _________________ of this news.

It _________________ surprise to many sports fans that baseball originated in England. The English invented the world’s most popular sports, including football, tennis, rugby and cricket. What might _________________ is that the original form of baseball was played _________________. William Bray’s diary describes a game of baseball played on a _________________ in which “young ladies” took part. A Washington Post journalist, Kevin Sullivan, told the BBC that he was not surprised baseball came from Britain. He said: “It's a great American tradition to _________________ other places and improve them. We've always known that baseball evolved; it _________________ basketball.” Despite the recent discovery, it seems unlikely that England _________________ USA as the number one baseball power.


 
 

AFTER READING / LISTENING

1. WORD SEARCH: Look in your dictionaries / computer to find collocates, other meanings, information, synonyms … for the words ‘apple’ and ‘pie’.

apple

pie

 

 

 

  • Share your findings with your partners.
  • Make questions using the words you found.
  • Ask your partner / group your questions.

2. ARTICLE QUESTIONS: Look back at the article and write down some questions you would like to ask the class about the text.

  • Share your questions with other classmates / groups.
  • Ask your partner / group your questions.

3. GAP FILL: In pairs / groups, compare your answers to this exercise. Check your answers. Talk about the words from the activity. Were they new, interesting, worth learning…?

4. VOCABULARY: Circle any words you do not understand. In groups, pool unknown words and use dictionaries to find their meanings.

5. TEST EACH OTHER: Look at the words below. With your partner, try to recall how they were used in the text:

  • uncovered
  • twenty years
  • lovers
  • cousins
  • William Bray
  • aware
  • fans
  • invented
  • sexes
  • spring
  • tradition
  • overtake

STUDENT BASEBALL SURVEY

Write five GOOD questions about baseball in the table. Do this in pairs. Each student must write the questions on his / her own paper.

When you have finished, interview other students. Write down their answers.

STUDENT 1

_____________

STUDENT 2

_____________

STUDENT 3

_____________

Q.1.

Q.2.

Q.3.

Q.4.

Q.5.

  • Now return to your original partner and share and talk about what you found out. Change partners often.
  • Make mini-presentations to other groups on your findings.

BASEBALL DISCUSSION

STUDENT A’s QUESTIONS (Do not show these to student B)

a)

What did you think when you read the headline?

b)

What springs to mind when you hear the word ‘baseball’?

c)

Are you surprised baseball is more roast beef than apple pie?

d)

Why do you think soccer and not baseball is the world’s most popular sport?

e)

Do you think MLB officials will rewrite the baseball history books?

f)

Do you think lovers of baseball will be shocked the game started in England and not the USA?

g)

What do you know about the origins of your favourite sport?

h)

How important and popular is your country’s national sport?

i)

Why is apple pie so often linked to the American image?

j)

Why do you think baseball did not become popular in England?

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

STUDENT B’s QUESTIONS (Do not show these to student A)

a)

Did you like reading this article?

b)

Why do you think so many sports that Britain invented became so popular around the world?

c)

What was the last thing that came as a surprise to you?

d)

What are your biggest worries at the moment?

e)

Are games that are played together by both sexes better?

f)

What other things has America taken and improved on?

g)

How has your favourite sport evolved?

h)

How do you think your favourite sport should / will evolve from now?

i)

Do you think England could ever overtake America at baseball?

j)

What questions would you like to ask the MLB officials?

LANGUAGE

Historians in England have uncovered (1) ____ that baseball may not be as American as apple pie. The BBC reports that baseball was played in England in 1755, (2) ____ than twenty years before America’s independence in 1776. This may come as a shock for (3) ____ of America’s national game, who believe baseball is an American creation. A recently discovered diary is “proof” that Englishmen were hitting home runs (4) ____ before their cousins across the Atlantic. The diarist was a man called William Bray, who wrote about the game being played in the county of Surrey, south (5) ____ London. The Surrey History Centre confirmed the diary was authentic and that it contains an entry describing the game of baseball. The BBC says Major League Baseball officials are aware (6) ____ this news.

It will (7) ____ as no surprise to many sports fans that baseball originated in England. The English invented the world’s most popular sports, including football, tennis, rugby and cricket. What might come (8) ____  a surprise is that the original form of baseball was played by both sexes. William Bray’s diary describes a game of baseball played on a spring afternoon (9) ____ which “young ladies” took part. A Washington Post journalist, Kevin Sullivan, told the BBC that he was not surprised baseball came from Britain. He said: “It's a great American (10) ____ to take things from other places and improve them. We've always known that baseball (11) ____; it wasn't invented like basketball.” Despite the recent discovery, it seems unlikely that England will (12) ____ the USA as the number one baseball power.

Put the correct words from the table below in the above article.

1.

(a)

evidence

(b)

evident

(c)

evildoing

(d)

evict

2.

(a)

over

(b)

much

(c)

more

(d)

above

3.

(a)

sweethearts

(b)

lovers

(c)

boyfriends

(d)

darlings

4.

(a)

longing

(b)

longest

(c)

length

(d)

long

5.

(a)

from

(b)

for

(c)

of

(d)

to

6.

(a)

of

(b)

from

(c)

for

(d)

to

7.

(a)

get there

(b)

reach

(c)

arrive

(d)

come

8.

(a)

by

(b)

as

(c)

at

(d)

than

9.

(a)

with

(b)

on

(c)

in

(d)

for

10.

(a)

tradition

(b)

trading

(c)

trade

(d)

traditional

11.

(a)

evolution

(b)

evolved

(c)

evolving

(d)

evolve

12.

(a)

overgrow

(b)

overweight

(c)

overact

(d)

overtake

WRITING: 

Write about sport for 10 minutes. Correct your partner’s paper.

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

HOMEWORK

1. VOCABULARY EXTENSION: Choose several of the words from the text. Use a dictionary or Google’s search field (or another search engine) to build up more associations / collocations of each word.

2. INTERNET: Search the Internet and find out more about the history of baseball, or a sport you like better. Share what you discover with your partner(s) in the next lesson.

3. APPLE PIE: Make a poster about the things that symbolize your country. Include explanations why these things represent your country. Show your work to your classmates in the next lesson. Did you all have similar things?

4. OUR INVENTION: Write a magazine article about the origins of baseball. Include imaginary interviews with an American baseball lover who is positive baseball is an American invention, and a relative of the diarist William Bray.

Read what you wrote to your classmates in the next lesson. Write down any new words and expressions you hear from your partner(s).

5. DIARY / JOURNAL: You are a professional baseball (or another sport) player. Write about one day in your life. How has your sport changed your life? Read your entry to your classmates in the next lesson.

6. LETTER: Write a letter to the Major League Baseball officials. Ask them three questions about the new discovery that baseball started in England. Make three suggestions on what they should do to rewrite their history books or celebrate this new discovery. Read your letter to your partner(s) in your next lesson. Your partner(s) will answer your questions.

ANSWERS

TRUE / FALSE:

a. F

b. T

c. F

d. T

e. F

f. T

g. T

h. F

SYNONYM MATCH:

1.

uncovered

a.

found

2

evidence

b.

proof

3.

lovers

c.

fans

4.

authentic

d.

real

5.

aware of

e.

conscious of

6.

originated

f.

started

7.

form

g.

style

8.

took part

h.

participated

9.

improve

i.

better

10.

evolved

j.

developed

PHRASE MATCH:

1.

Historians in England have uncovered

a.

evidence

2

as American

b.

as apple pie

3.

This may come

c.

as a shock

4.

the diary

d.

was authentic

5.

Baseball officials are aware

e.

of this news

6.

It will come as no surprise

f.

to many sports fans

7.

the original form of baseball was

g.

played by both sexes

8.

It's a great

h.

American tradition

9.

We've always known that

i.

baseball evolved

10.

England will overtake

j.

the USA

GAP FILL:

Baseball was invented in England

Historians in England have uncovered evidence that baseball may not be as American as apple pie. The BBC reports that baseball was played in England in 1755, more than twenty years before America’s independence in 1776. This may come as a shock for lovers of America’s national game, who believe baseball is an American creation. A recently discovered diary is “proof” that Englishmen were hitting home runs long before their cousins across the Atlantic. The diarist was a man called William Bray, who wrote about the game being played in the county of Surrey, south of London. The Surrey History Centre confirmed the diary was authentic and that it contains an entry describing the game of baseball. The BBC says Major League Baseball officials are aware of this news.

It will come as no surprise to many sports fans that baseball originated in England. The English invented the world’s most popular sports, including football, tennis, rugby and cricket. What might come as a surprise is that the original form of baseball was played by both sexes. William Bray’s diary describes a game of baseball played on a spring afternoon in which “young ladies” took part. A Washington Post journalist, Kevin Sullivan, told the BBC that he was not surprised baseball came from Britain. He said: “It's a great American tradition to take things from other places and improve them. We've always known that baseball evolved; it wasn't invented like basketball.” Despite the recent discovery, it seems unlikely that England will overtake the USA as the number one baseball power.

LANGUAGE WORK

1 - a

2 - c

3 - b

4 - d

5 - c

6 - a

7 - d

8 - b

9 - c

10 - a

11 - b

12 - d

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