English people are very fond of sports and practise them much more than Italian people do. In English schools most after-noon lessons are devoted to games and sport activities. A boy who is good enough to play football in his school team is regarded by his fellows as a hero, and a Cambridge or Oxford undergraduate selected to be a member of his university crew in the Boat Race acquires life-long fame.
Cricket is the national game in England. It is played by 22 men dressed in white on a large green field. All true cricketers must be gentlemen: this is one of the main rules of the game. It is difficult to describe a game of cricket to foreigners because it has very complicated rules. A game may even last for a few days on end !
Rugby football, or rugger, is more popular in England than it is in Italy. It is considerably different from Association football, or soccer, because each rugger team has fifteen men instead of eleven, the ball is oval instead of round anal it can be played with both hands and feet.
Golf is the national game of Scotland. It is very popular among middle-aged people, and it is played with a number of clubs and a small ball that must be hit into the 18 little holes of the golf course.
Rowing is the best-liked sport at public schools and at universities. The Boat Race, the famous contest between the students of Oxford and Cambridge Universities, is rowed every year on the Thames. It is always watched from the river banks by thousands of fans wearing the colours of their favourite University: dark blue for Oxford and light blue for Cambridge.
Horse racing is also a great favourite among English people. The Derby, the annual race which takes place at Epsom Downs, is perhaps the world’s most famous sporting event and is almost invariably attended by a member of the Royal Family. Fox hunting is chiefly practised by the aristocracy and upper classes. The opponents of blood sports consider fox hunting cruel and barbarous; the defenders, on the other hand, advance strange theories: one is that the fox is a good sportsman and enjoys being hunted.
Source: R. Colle – I. Vay, L’esame di inglese, Lattes, an old Italian book 1974.