England is a sports-loving nation. Sports in England take many forms: organized sports, which attract huge crowds to encourage their favourite team to victory, athletic games played for recreation and others.
Some sports are called spectator sports, when the number of spectators is greater than the number of people playing in the game. Other sports are called participant, sports attracting large crowds only on special occasions such as tournaments.
The game peculiarly associated with England is cricket. Many other games too are English in origin, but have been accepted with enthusiasm in other countries; cricket has been seriously and extensively accepted only in the Commonwealth, particularly in Australia, India, Pakistan.
Cricket is slow, and a spectator, sitting in the afternoon sun after his lunch, may be excused for having a little sleep for half an hour. Cricket is making no progress in popularity. Association football or soccer is very popular. Nearly 49 million spectators each year attend matches between the great professional teams organized by the Football League. The biggest event in England is the Cup Final played at the Empire Stadium, Wembley, in a London suburb.
Rugby football is played with an egg-shaped ball which may be carried and thrown (but not forward). Rugby is played mainly by the amateurs.
The games of golf and tennis are played by great numbers of people. Golf is played in the countryside. It consists in driving a small ball towards and into holes separated by considerable distances, by means of special "golf clubs" The aim is to go round using as few strokes as possible. There are many tennis clubs, but every town provides tennis courts in public parks. The world championship tennis matches are held at Wimbledon in London, during June and July.
Next to football, the chief spectator sport in Britain is horse-racing. A lot of people are interested in the races and risk money on the horse which they think will win. Britain is also famous for motor-car racing, boat-racing, dog-racing, and even races for donkeys. The famous boat-race between the teams of Oxford and Cambridge attracts large crowds of people.
Various forms of athletics, such as running, boxing, jumping, swimming are wide-spread in England. The English weather is not always cold enough to ski, skate, or toboggan, but winter is a good season for hunting and fishing.
Indeed sport in one form or another forms an essential part of daily life in Britain.