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0149 Watching Sports on TV

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Welcome to English as a Second Language Podcast number 149 – Watching Sports on TV.

This is English as a Second Language Podcast episode 149. I'm your host, Dr. Jeff McQuillan, coming to you from the Center for Educational Development in beautiful Los Angeles, California.

On this podcast, we’re going to watch a little sports on TV. Let's go.

[start of dialog]

Laura: Oh, I didn't think I’d make it home in time for the game.

Jun: What game?

Laura: The playoffs! Turn on the TV. I hope it's still in the first quarter. It is! Who's winning? What's the score?

Jun: I don't know. You know I don't watch sports. Whoa! That was a great shot. Did you see that?

Laura: No, what happened? Maybe they'll show it again on instant replay. I wonder who the coach put in for the starting lineup.

Jun: Geez. I think there's a player down on the court.

Laura: It looks like he's walking off the court. He can't be hurt too badly.

Jun: Look! They're putting your favorite player in. Oh, what a play!

Laura: Wait a second. I thought you didn't watch sports.

Jun: I was never a sports fan before I met you. I think you're a bad influence on me.

Laura: Yes, very bad. Now, stop hogging the couch and pass the chips.

[end of dialog]

In our dialog, Laura comes home and says to Jun, “Oh, I didn't think I'd make it home in time for the game.” “To make it home” means to arrive back at your house or your apartment. “In time” means in time for something, before something happens. “I hope to make it home in time for the baseball game, which starts at seven o'clock.” That means I hope to get home before seven o'clock so I can watch the baseball game.

Jun doesn't know which game Laura is talking about. He says, “What game?” Laura says, “The playoffs.” “Playoffs” (playoffs) is when you have teams toward the end of their season, playing each other for the championship. The championship is the game that determines which team is the best team. If you have, for example, eight teams, you might have the four teams that have done the best during that particular season play each other in games that would be called “playoffs.” The “playoffs” are when you play another team and the winning team gets to go on in the tournament, in the competition, so that they can get into the final game, the championship game, to determine who the winner is.

In American football, for example, we have playoffs that determine which two teams are going to go to the championship game called the Super Bowl. In baseball, we have playoffs that determine who will go into the World Series. All of these are examples of playoffs.

So, Laura is telling Jun that she came home to watch the playoffs. She says, “Turn on the TV.” She says, “I hope it's still in the first quarter.” There are some games, like American football or basketball, that are divided into four parts. Each part is called a “quarter.” “Quarter” means 25% of something. We have a coin in the United States called a “quarter.” It's a quarter of a dollar. It’s 25 cents. A dollar is a hundred cents. Well, we also have those kinds of divisions in sports. In baseball, we don't have quarters. In baseball, we have what are called “innings” and there are nine of them, but in other sports, there are quarters, and Laura is hoping that the playoff game she wants to watch is still in the first quarter, meaning they haven't gone to the next quarter. The game is still being played in the very first part.

She says, “It is. Who's winning? What's the score?” The “score” is the number of points that each team has. So, in football, the score could be something like 21 to 14, or 7 to 3. In basketball, it could be 87 to 75 or something like that. Jun says, “I don't know.” I don't know the score. “You know I don't watch sports.”

But then, Jun, who's watching the television, gives us an expression of surprise, usually of a happy surprise. He says, “Whoa! That was a great shot.” In basketball, we use the word “shot,” when a player takes the ball and throws it to what's called the “net.” The net is the round hole that the ball has to go through. “Shot,” as a noun, is the throwing of the ball. The verb is “to shoot” (shoot) and “shot” is the past tense of shoot. But here, it's used as a noun. Jun says, “That was a great shot. Did you see that?”

Laura, who apparently wasn't watching the television even though she's the one who wanted to watch the playoffs, says, “No. What happened? Maybe they'll show it again on instant replay.” The word “show,” when talking about television, can mean a program, a television program. It can also be used as a verb to mean “to broadcast,” “to put up on the screen,” “to let us see.” In this case, Laura is hoping that they will show or let everyone see that play, that great shot, again on instant replay.

“Instant” means right away. “Replay” means to play again. In sports, especially television sports, it's possible for them to show you a play again, right after it has happened, in case you missed it or to look at it more closely. “Instant replay” can be found in almost every sport now on television. Laura says, “I wonder who the coach put in for the starting lineup.” “I wonder” means I'm not sure. I'm not sure who the coach put in for the starting lineup. The “coach” is the person who is responsible for running the team. The coach makes the decisions about what the people playing the game will do. The people who play the game are called the “players.” The “starting lineup” is the group of players who begin the game. Usually, they're your best players. Your lineup is a list of the people who are going to be playing. Your starting lineup are the people who begin the game. So, Laura is wondering who the coach put in for the starting lineup. “To put in” here means to play, to actually say, “Okay. You go out and you play.”

Jun says, “Geez. I think there is a player down on the court.” “Geez” is a word we use for expressing surprise about something. Jun says, “There is a player down on the court.” “Down” here means lying down, usually because they're injured, because they're hurt. The “court” (court) describes the area where basketball is played. We use court also for the sport of tennis. We have the “tennis court”. It’s the place where tennis is played. For football, we would call it a “field” – either a soccer field or an American football field. In baseball, it's also called a “field.” But in basketball, we use the word “court.”

Laura says, “It looks like he” – the player – “is walking off the court.” “To walk off” means to leave, to exit. “He can't be hurt too badly.” Laura means that that he must not have been injured very seriously, because he's able to stand up and walk off the court.

Jun says, “Look, they’re putting your favorite player in.” Once again, we have that phrasal verb “to put in,” meaning to tell someone to go and play. Laura's favorite player is now going to be playing in the game. Jun then says, “Oh, what a play!” A “play” here, as a noun, means some action in the sport that usually decides either the point being scored or some other important part of the game. In basketball, making a shot that scores three points from a long distance away would be a great play. It would be a great part of the game, a great performance in the game.

Laura says, “Wait a second,” meaning wait a short amount of time, wait a moment. “I thought you didn't watch sports.” Laura is surprised at how excited Jun is about watching this game, since he said earlier that he didn't like to watch sports. Jun says, “I was never a sports fan before I met you.” A “sports fan” would be someone who likes to watch sports.

Jun says, “I think you're a bad influence on me.” Something that is an “influence” on you is something that affects you, something that changes you somehow. Jun is saying that Laura is a bad influence on him. Her actions have changed him for the worse. Of course, he's making a joke here. Laura says, “Yes, very bad. Now, stop hogging the couch and pass the chips.” The “couch” is the sofa. It's a large seat where, usually, three or more people can sit down.

“To hog” (hog) is an informal verb meaning to use something so that no one else can use it. If you're hogging the couch, you're sitting on the couch in such a way that no one else can sit on it. Maybe you're lying on it. “To pass the chips” means to give something to another person. In this case, the something is chips. Chips are potato chips, or corn chips, or tortilla chips, that are very popular when people are watching sports. They’ll often eat potato chips or some other kind of chip as food for when they're watching the game. So Laura is telling Jun to stop hogging the couch. Let her sit down and give her some chips so she can eat.

Now let’s listen to the dialog, this time at a normal speed.

[start of dialog]

Laura: Oh, I didn't think I’d make it home in time for the game.

Jun: What game?

Laura: The playoffs! Turn on the TV. I hope it's still in the first quarter. It is! Who's winning? What's the score?

Jun: I don't know. You know I don't watch sports. Whoa! That was a great shot. Did you see that?

Laura: No, what happened? Maybe they'll show it again on instant replay. I wonder who the coach put in for the starting lineup.

Jun: Geez. I think there's a player down on the court.

Laura: It looks like he's walking off the court. He can't be hurt too badly.

Jun: Look! They're putting your favorite player in. Oh, what a play!

Laura: Wait a second. I thought you didn't watch sports.

Jun: I was never a sports fan before I met you. I think you're a bad influence on me.

Laura: Yes, very bad. Now, stop hogging the couch and pass the chips.

[end of dialog]

She's the best player on Team ESLPod. I speak, of course, of our wonderful scriptwriter, Dr. Lucy Tse.

From Los Angeles, California, I'm Jeff McQuillan. Thank you for listening. Come back and listen to us again right here on ESL Podcast.

English as a Second Language Podcast was written and produced by Dr. Lucy Tse, hosted by Dr. Jeff McQuillan. Copyright 2006 by the Center for Educational Development.

Glossary
in time for – early enough for; not late enough to miss something

* Sarah was late to the concert, but she arrived in time for her favorite band’s performance.


game – an activity where two or more people, or two or more teams compete; an event where teams or people compete in an activity

* Michael and Jennifer played a card game and Michael won.


play offs – the final set of games; the games or activities played to determine which player or team is the winner

* The baseball play offs were interesting because the teams all played well.


first quarter – the first part of a game, competition, or activity that has four parts total

* The first quarter of the game was boring, but the other three quarters of the game were very exciting.


to win – to succeed; to have a better result than the other players or team

* Miguel won his the golf game against Sandra.


score – a number showing which team or person has a better result

* Both teams earned the same number of points, so their scores were the same.


sport – a competitive athletic game; a competitive activity where two or more teams compete in a physical or athletic task

* Emilio was very athletic and enjoyed playing sports like football and baseball.


shot – a throw, kick, or hit used to get a ball to a target (a place the ball is supposed to reach)

* Rachel’s shot reached the goal and won the game.


instant replay – a video that shows viewers something that happened during a game immediately after it happened

* The shot was amazing and even more impressive when you see it in instant replay.


coach – someone who guides players on a team; the person who makes decisions for a team

* The basketball team had a good coach who helped each player improve.


starting line-up – the players who play first during a game

* The starting line-up was filled with the team’s best players.


player down on the field – a player who gets hurt during a game; a player who gets an injury while playing a game

* There was a player down on the field who was hit by a baseball.


a play – one of many plans or strategies that a team uses during a game; a plan that a team uses during a game

* Atsushi led the play that led his team to win the game.


sports fan – someone who likes to watch teams compete in an athletic activity; someone who enjoys watching many different sports

* Sharla was a real sports fan and enjoyed watching baseball, basketball, football, tennis, hockey, and soccer.


bad influence on – changing someone else’s behavior in a bad way; causing someone else’s bad behavior by doing that bad behavior him or herself

* Luigi never finished his work and was a bad influence on Carla, who started copying his behavior.


to hog – to not share; to use something and not let anyone else use it

* Casper was cold during the night because his wife was hogging the blankets.


chips – potato chips; thin slices of potato cooked until hard and crispy, salted, and eaten as a snack food outside of mealtimes

* Mabel enjoyed eating chips, but she liked cookies and chocolate more.

Culture Note
Making it in Professional Sports

Professional sports in the United States are “big business” – it makes a lot of money for the team owners and the players. In 2011, the lowest “salary” (amount paid for working) for a professional Major League Baseball player is $400,000 a year, for example. The “average” (number one gets by adding all of the numbers in a list and dividing by the number of items) salary is “slightly” (a little bit) less than $3,000,000 a year.

Not surprisingly, a lot of boys and girls grow up dreaming of “making it” (being successful; being part of) professional sports. But how “realistic” (practical; possible) is this dream? Should parents encourage their children “to pursue” (to try to achieve; to try to get) a career (life-long job; working for many years) in sports?

A study reported in a 2011 newspaper article in the Wall Street Journal “calculated” (determined mathematically) the percentage of high school “athletes” (people who play sports) who make it to the professional level. Here’s the total percentage of young athletes who make it, by sport, from lowest percentage to highest:

Men’s Basketball: 0.03%

Women’s Basketball: 0.03%

Men’s Soccer: 0.07%

Football (American): 0.08%

Men’s Ice Hockey: 0.31%

Baseball: 0.44%

The total of all of these combined is less than 1%. In other words, more than 99% of all student athletes will fail to make money playing these professional sports, the most popular in the United States.