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23. Sports and Games The sign “Sport for Health!” can be seen at many places where we go to practice sports. It is true that sports help us to keep our bodies in good physical condition. They keep us in good mental condition as well, for they offer us relaxation and rest. Doing sports helps us lose a few of our excess kilos. In the modern world the positive attitude to sports is becoming something of a trend and a hit. Young people, and not just them, try to look sporty and dress in sporty clothes. We go to practice sports at various playgrounds, sports halls, covered pools, stadiums, tennis courts, and fitness centres. We can divide sports into three categories – summer, winter and all-season sports. Among the summer sports are athletics (Marathon race, long and middle distance runs, sprints, hurdling, decathlon, javelin throw, discus throw, hammer throw, shot put, long jump, triple jump, high jump, pole vaulting), aquatic sports (swimming, rowing, canoeing, windsurfing, water skiing, rafting) and ball games (football, volleyball, handball, baseball, softball, rugby, tennis, squash, golf). Among winter sports are skiing (slalom, down-hill, cross-country), ski jumping, bobsledding, snowboarding, figure skating, ice dancing, speed skating and ice hockey. Among the all-season sports are, for example, basketball, gymnastics, table tennis, wrestling, boxing, weightlifting, bodybuilding, and sport dancing. Every one of us has the right to choose whatever sporting activity he likes. We can devote ourselves to sports either as individuals or as a collective – an entire team. Among such collective sports is soccer. Almost every Czech boy likes to kick a ball around with his friend on a football ground and almost every adult man is an admirer or fan of some professional football team. Altogether eleven players move around a soccer playing field during a match. One man on each side is charged with catching the ball at the goal – he’s called the goalkeeper. Other players are the backs, forwards and the so-called reserve. The entire match, as in the case of the other sports, is watched over by a referee with a whistle. Volleyball is both a sport for entertainment and competitive sport as well. If soccer is meant above all for males, women can play volleyball as well. What’s decisive in their case, as in the case of man, is their height. On the volleyball playing field a net is stretched over the playing area, over which the ball is hit. The equipment of volleyball players includes, for instance, kneepads. Each team, as in other collective sports, wears the same dress. In sports we call them strips. Cycling has become very fashionable in recent times. Road bicycles are becoming somewhat overshadowed by mountain bikes. In riding a bicycle we must pay attention not just to its accessories, but mainly we must take an active interest in traffic regulations. The rider must not endanger the traffic on the roads. Undisciplined cycling leads to the risk of traffic accidents. Many people are thus hurt needlessly and some even die, having succumbed to their injuries. Sports are run by a large number of sports organisations that hold matches, inter-city competitions, and friendly meetings of sportsmen. During physical education classes, children practice not only athletics but also various types of ball games, gymnastics, swimming and skiing. Physical education is compulsory subject at elementary and secondary schools. The most talented sportsmen can even take part in the Olympic games. We distinguish Summer and Winter Olympic games. They take place every four years. The first games were held in 776 BC. They were based on the custom of the ancient Greeks. The Olympic Games are an international competition and are a great event in the world of sports. As reward for victory a sportsman may obtain a title, a bronze, silver, or gold medal, or other prizes as well. It is not so important to cultivate sport competitively, as to do so recreationally. It gives us a break from our daily cares and helps to fortify our health. Activity, nature, and the fresh air positively affect our bad lifestyle.