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Views #494 | Low Intermediate 4

Soccer vs. Baseball

Steve and Todd debate soccer and baseball.
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Todd: So, Steven, I thought we would have a friendly debate. What do you think is the best sport in the world?

Steve: The best sport in the world is unquestionably what is know in America as soccer, what is know in my country as football.

Todd: Yeah, well, we'll call it football. I think football's good. I think football's good. It's a good sport, but I'm sorry, it's just not as good as baseball.

Steve: Really, I'm quite surprised to hear you say that because you did mention, I believe the question was "the best sport in the world" (Yes) whereas baseball isn't as nearly as widely appreciated worldwide as football is.

Todd: Ah, that's true. That's true. I will give you that, but a lot of countries do play baseball, it's popular in Asia (they do indeed, yeah) and Central America, and in North America, and it's a young sport. You just got to give it time. We need more time to come around.

Steve: Yeah, I don't have anything in particular against kids playing baseball. I think getting kids out playing any sport is very healthy and it very good thing to happen, but I got to say, I mean for young kids, particularly in developing countries where they perhaps need a lot more equipment to play baseball, I think soccer is much more accessible than baseball. They only need a ball, a field, a street even before they can get started.

Todd: Well, that's kind of true, but I mean in baseball you just need a stick and a rock.

Steve: Yeah you could do like that, yeah.

Todd: But I mean, one thing that I think how baseball is better than football is that in baseball it's more democratic in that everybody has to bat. You can't have a prima donna star. I mean you can have stars, but everyone's gotta swing the bat, and you know, in soccer if you're a fullback, if I'm using that correctly, you play back by the goal, you know, you're kind of just lagging back there. You're not gonna score or anything.

Steve: Yeah, that's very, very true and I think you're very right in saying that baseball is indeed a democratic sport, but I think soccer gives each individual player to play to his own strengths, his own physical capabilities, for example you have people who are naturally strong presence who are more suited to, well, playing defense, whereas your speedier players, and your slightly more cunning players lends itself to being a striker, so it really allows people to specialize and the crowd really get behind that. The crowd really appreciate a good strong defender and a nifty striker who gets in there and poaches a lot of goals for his team.

Todd: Well, that's true. Those are some good points, but in baseball you have to utilize more skills. I mean, you have to be skilled at catching the ball (Yes), throwing the ball (Yes), hitting the ball (Yeah), running the bases (yeah), you know, football you just got to run and kick (Yeah).

Steve: But I mean, to be honest with you, baseball, that's not really doing anything that cricket never did, for example. All those skills were employed in a sport that was invented way, way much longer ago than baseball ever was.

Todd: That is true. You got me on that one, so anyway. well, I like football, but I just, I have to stick with baseball.

Steve: That's fine. I think we can agree to disagree.

Learn vocabulary from the lesson!

a friendly debate

Let's have a friendly debate: What do you think is the best sport in the world?

When you have a 'friendly debate,' you have an informal discussion about two opposing ideas. Notice the following:

  1. These discussions always start out as friendly debates, but can sometimes end as arguments.
  2. Sample

young sport or give it time or come around

Baseball is a young sport, so you got to give it time to come around.

Here, a 'young sport' refers to the fact that baseball was invented more recently than some other sports. When you 'give something time,' it means that you patiently wait for an action or a change. If something 'comes around,' it changes in its position or opinion. In this case, you are waiting for baseball to become popular. Notice the following:

  1. You need to stay off your hurt ankle and give it time to heal.
  2. The traditions in the United States are relatively weak, because it is a young country.
  3. She is usually nervous when she first meets people, but she comes around after a few hours.

don't have anything against

I don't have anything against kids playing baseball, because I think it's a good sport.

When you 'don't have anything against' a particular action or idea, it means that you see nothing wrong with it.  It is okay in your mind. Notice the following:

  1. Do you have anything against going to Florida for vacation?
  2. I don't have anything against eating meat, but I just don't like it.

democratic or prima donna star

Baseball is more democratic in that everybody has to bat and you can't have a prima donna star.

Here, 'democratic' refers to activity in which everyone participates equally. Many sports have a 'prima donna' star, who is the best or most respected player on the team. Notice the following:

  1. Our company functions in a very democratic way.
  2. In high school, he was kind of a prima donna star, but he was average at university level.


If you're kind of just lagging back there, you're not going to score or anything.

When you are 'lagging' behind, you are moving more slowly than the rest of the group or than you should. Notice the following:

  1. We are really lagging on this project.
  2. Sorry I'm lagging behind today. I don't feel that well.


Your slight more cunning players lends itself to being a striker.

A person who is 'cunning' is very capable in performing some specific tasks and capable of deceiving the other team. Notice the following:

  1. He was an extremely cunning teenager, and his parents almost never caught him.
  2. She is successful in business because of her cunning ideas.

nifty striker or poaches

The crowd really appreciates a nifty striker who poaches a lot of goals for his team.

A 'striker' is a player who is expected to score or assist in making goals. If a striker is 'nifty' is means that he is very good at what he does. Here, 'poaches' means 'scores' or 'makes.' Generally, a goal 'poacher' is a player who is very good at scoring at very close rage. Notice the following:

  1. We could have won the game if the other team had not had that nifty striker.
  2. He poached many really good shots during the game.

Vocabulary Quiz

debates • young • time
around • against • prima
lagging • cunning • striker
  1. He got a full scholarship at his university because he was the best in the state.
  2. I know you want a response today, but you need to give it some before you call again.
  3. They are best friends, but they are always having friendly about one issue or another.
  4. She had some problems with her teammates, because she acted like a donna player.
  5. She doesn't have anything long walks outside, as long as the weather is nice.
  6. He was a very boy, and he was always getting into trouble.
  7. She's angry right now, but she will come in a few days.
  8. He knew that he needed to train more, because he was always behind his team.
  9. American football is a very sport.
Answer the following questions about the interview.

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