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Sports in USA
Olya Bezvushko

If somebody asks me to describe the connection between American people and sports, I’ll answer with certainty that Americans is a nation of sport fans. Sports are a very important part of the United States culture.

In comparison with any other nation, Americans prefer a unique set of sports. The most popular kind of sport all over the world – European football, is not actually widespread in the USA, and it is called soccer over there.

There are four most popular kinds of team sport in the USA. They are American football, baseball, basketball and ice hockey. You can hardly find any other country, where the national kind of sport, like American football, is played to any significant extend.  

The biggest amount of television viewers in America are attracted by football. It is the most popular sport in the country. There is a National Football League, which consists of 32 teams, is the only major professional football league. The biggest annual sporting event held in America is a football championship game, which is called the Super Bowl. College football is also very popular, especially throughout the autumn months 

The other popular game is baseball. It is so-called bat-and-ball sport. It is played by two teams with nine players in each. All players are not allowed to be on the field in the same time. Totally, there are nine players on the field. There are nine innings in a baseball game, or six at younger levels in which each team gets a chance to try and score as many runs as possible in only three outs.The team that isn’t batting is playing defense trying to make those three outs so that the team batting doesn’t score any runs. The baseball field is often called diamond due to its shape. There is an umpire behind the plate that lets everyone know if the pitch thrown was in the strike zone or not. If it was, then the pitch is a "strike". If it wasn’t, then the pitch was a "ball". When batting you get three strikes and four balls. If you get four balls before you get three strikes, then that is called a "walk". You get a free pass to "walk" or go to first base. If you get three strikes before you get four balls, then that is a strikeout, in which the defensive team gets an out and your turn batting is over. Major League Baseball teams play almost every day from April to October.For me, a girl from Eastern Europe, it is hard to understand the rules and the main idea of the game, but if you are interested you can make a search in Internet and find lots of interesting information about baseball and the ways to learn it quickly.  

In regards to professional sports, basketball, or the NBA (National Basketball Association), is ranked third in popularity behind football and basebal. This kind of sport is very popular at both the college and high school levels. Every March, a 65-team, six-round, single-elimination tournament determines the national champions of college basketball. One more sport – netball is a derivative of basketball invented in the United States and usually played by women.

One more important kind of sport in American sport life is ice hockey. It is popular in regions of the country with a cold winter climate, Alaska, Illinois, Minnesota, Michigan, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and North Dakota. Besides, recently it has expanded t southern regions and especially to cities like Tampa, Florida; Dallas, Texas; and Phoenix, Arizona. National Hockey League (NHL) consists of 24 American and 6 Canadian teams, which compete for the Stanley Cup.

There are also other sports which are popular in some regions, such as:

     - Rugby. It is played at a fast pace, with few stoppages and continuous possession changes. All players on the field, regardless of position, must be able to run, pass, kick and catch the ball. Besides, all players must also be able to tackle and defend, making each position both offensive and defensive in nature. There is no blocking of the opponents like in football, and there are only five substitutions per game allowed for each team. A rugby match consists of two 40-minute halves. Finally, rugby is considered to be a gender equity sport as approximately 25% of all players in the United States are female.

     - Lacrosse. It is a team sport, which was invented by American Indians. It is played by two teams who try to propel a ball into each other's goal with the help of long-handled hooked sticks that are loosely strung with a kind of netted pouch.

     - Curling, a Scotland game, played on ice, in which heavy stones with handles (curling stones) are slid towards a target (tee).

     - Gaelic football – an Irish game played with 15 players on each side and goals resembling rugby posts with a net on the bottom part. Players are allowed to kick, punch, and bounce the ball and attempt to get it over the bar or in the net  

     - Cricket game played by two teams of eleven players on a field with a wicket at either end of a 22-yard pitch, the object being for one side to score runs by hitting a hard leather-covered ball with a bat while the other side tries to dismiss them by bowling, catching, running them out, etc.

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