Sports belong (patří) among the popular leisure time activities. This is mainly due to the fact that they help people to keep fit both physically and mentally. Sports, as a form of relaxation, are refreshing and can help take off some weight (zhubnout) as well as to make use of one’s skills and strength. (schopnosti a síla). Last but not least, during sports events, one can meet a lot of new people and see how it feels to be a winner or a loser.
We can divide all sports into two groups according to where they can be practiced. Indoor sports include, for example, gymnastics, table tennis, boxing, wrestling, etc. On the other hand, among outdoor sports there are ones such as skiing (down-hill, cross-country, slalom, ski jumping) sledging, sleighing, (tobogány) hiking, rock climbing, horse riding, golf, and some aquatic sports such as rowing and windsurfing. Non-professional cycling, or riding a mountain bike, which is a very popular activity, can be also enjoyed outdoors on roads or paths. Most sports and almost all games can be done both indoors and outdoors. We can divide sports into winter and summer sports. Games are usually seasonal activities, and they are practiced both indoors and outdoors. The most numerous group of games is ball games. Football is the most widespread (nejrozšířenější). The purpose (účel) of this game is to kick the ball into the opposite goal (brány).
Another sport from Great Britain is rowing. It has officially been a sport since 1715. In our town we have several rowing clubs: Blesk, with their building on the right bank of the rowing island and with blue oars, (vesla) and Tatra-Smíchov with their building on the left bank as well as Dukla and with red oars with a white bosom (klín). Dukla is a club specially for boy-rowers who don’t want to go to the army. They have white oars with three red stripes. Slavia is on the right bank of the Vltava under Jirásek Bridge and they have red oars, ČVK is beside Blesk with white oars, and the Bohemia club is near the Barrande Bridge on the right bank and they have green oars. These colors represent several clubs and during competitions the crew (posádky) are dressed in the clothes of their colors. The regattas usually take place in the area between the Barrande Bridge and the rowing tower on Lihovar. In Britain the best known rowing race since 1829 is the Oxford & Cambridge. This race is held (pořádaný) on the Thames and it is a race of eight people with a coxswain (kormidelník). It is a funny rule that if you lose one or more rowers, your place is still settled (platí), but if you lose your coxswain then you are disqualified. We have a similar race called Primátorky. In this race it is a problem to turn in between two buoys. The Czech Republic is a member of the FISA (mezinárodní veslařská federace) and has been since 1892. In the USA most sports and games have been commercialized to a great extent (do velké míry). The four foremost (nejhlavnějšími) professional sports are American football, baseball, basketball, and ice-hockey, which has its roots in Canada. These games are turned into big shows during which the sports stars make a lot of money.
Before you start to exercise, it is good to do some warm-up exercises. In our school lessons of physical exercises we usually play volleyball, basketball, football, or baseball. If the weather is good we go to the playground and play some games there. We have only two lessons a week though. Once in two years we have Olympic Games: winter and summer. Important disciplines in the Winter Games are: ice-hockey, downhill skiing, cross country skiing, slalom, ski jumping, skating, and figure skating. In the Summer Games the disciplines are: athletics, rowing, football, cycling, ball games, etc.