Lesson 8: Sports

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Every year, sports fans in America wait for the biggest football game of the season, the Super Bowl. .This game is always on the Sunday so we call this day Super Bowl Sunday. Today is Super Bowl Sunday and I thought it would be a good time to share with you some expressions connected to sports.

I find it interesting that there are a lot of expressions in everyday English that come from sports. I'm willing to share three of them with you today.

The first expression is "kick off". "kick off" is the beginning of the game. One player kicks the ball and the play begins. We often ask "When is kick-off time?" that means "when does the game start?". In fact, kick off time is in a second now. The players are going to the field and soon one player will kick that ball and the Super Bowl will begin. But what does "kick off" mean in everyday English?

Let's start with the first meaning: Kick off as a phrasal verb, it means to start something such as a project or simply to begin.


- Our teacher asked us to kick off the new year right by coming back to school well-rested after the long holiday.

Note that when it takes an object, this phrasal verb can be seperated, we can say "kick off the new year right" or you can "kick the new year off right".

Second example:

The boss told the workers that the new program would kick off in the fall.

So note it can be transitive or intransitive meaning we can use it with an object or without.

Here's the second meaning: "kick off" as an adjective, it means "initial, first" or related to the start of some event or period.

Example: The company held a kick-off meaning to discuss plans for the new project.

In business, kick-off meetings are very common.

This year, the two teams playing in the Super Bowl are the New England Patriots and the New York Giants.

Wow, kick off was around 6.30 and we now on the third quarter. New England Patriots are leading. Now to win the game like football with such the team sports you can't just have one player that's very good all the players have to work together so we have the expression "team player". I think it's obvious with that meaning in sports but how we use this expression in everyday English. "Team player" is noun, it means someone who works well with others especially in a business setting so that the group can be successful.

People're on job intervews or in the resume like to mention this as the quality that they have. They can say "I'm a good team player."

Example: David is a hard worker, but he isn't a team player. He refers to work alone and focus on his personal career goals.

Alright, now it's the fourth quarter and there are less than two minutes to go and I'm sure one of the teams is going to call it "time out". I think you know that in sports a "time out"' assure rest to player. They stop playing and the coaches usually give instruction. But what is "time-out" in other settings?

Let's look at the first meaning, "time-out" as a noun, it means the short break so that you can calm down, rest or give thought to something important. This phrase is often used as a way to correct children's misbehavior.We call it a disciplinary measure.

Example: The mother gave her son a time-out. She made him sit quietly in his room for five minutes. Later she asked him to apologize for screaming angrily at her.

Now I don't know about other cultures but it's quite common in American families for parents to give children time-out. I know I do.

And the second example:

The two businessmen were becoming upset because neither one wanted to compromise. They decided they needed a time-out and planned to continued their discussion the following day.

Here is a variation of the second example using a phrasal verb: The two businessmen were becoming upset because neither one wanted to compromise. They decided to take time out and planned to continue their discussion the following day.

Now let's look at this meaning: "Time out!", use it as imperative, it's an informal command or request for someone to stop some kind of negative activity.

Example: Hey!Time out! If you want me to listen, then stop shouting at me.

Exercise 1: Choose the correct answer.

1. If a school discusses plans to kick off a computer program, it wants to

a. start a computer program

b. end a computer program

c. improve a computer program

Answer: a

2. Who most likely needs to be a team player?

a. a painter

b. a hair stylist

c. an office worker

Answer: c

3. Who does not need a time-out?

a. an upset parent.

b. a sleeping child.

c. politicians arguing for a lengthy period of time.

Answer: b

Exercise 2: Choose the correct expression.

1. Read the statement to yourself and then I'll tell you the answer:

Answer: Because group projects are common, this job requires a good team player.

2. Answer: The training program kicks off next week. All employees must participate.

3. Answer: Time out! You two have been arguing for over ten minutes. Can we change the subject?

Well, the end of the game and the end of our lesson. The new Super Bowl Champions are the New York Giants. I hope you enjoy the lesson, thank for watching!



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