Sports play an important role in Britain. They are treated as popular leisure activities as well as a reason for national pride, no matter if you are a player, an active participant of competitive tournaments or only a spectator sitting in the stands. Although a lot of people associate the country mainly with football, there is a considerable number of other sports which were originated and are still extremely popular in Britain, such as cricket, golf or rugby.
To start with, football, also called soccer, is by far a favourite sport activity. Initially, the game was characteristic of its wildness and lack of rules. The history of football, in the form that we know today, dates back to 1863 when it was codified in London. It is also a date of the foundation of the Football Association which is the leading body of football in Britain and the oldest association in the world. Since the United Kingdom is composed of four countries, namely England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, the problem with a number of teams occurs when any football competition starts. In general, every country has its own team and plays independently of others. However, in the case of the Olympics, all the countries form one team which is called Team GB in order to represent sports in the UK. The status of football in Britain is completely confirmed by world-famous football groups, such as Arsenal London, Manchester United or Liverpool.
Another popular sport activity, which is also perceived as a national one in Britain, is cricket. It is played mainly on village greens as well as in towns every Sunday in late spring and in summer. The game came into being in the 16th century, though, its strict rules were created in the 18th century. Due to the expansion of the British Empire, cricket became popular also overseas, for instance, in India, Australia and the Southern Africa.
Britain is well-known for one of world’s top sports event – Wimbledon, which is also the oldest tennis tournament as it was firstly held in 1877. This competition, taking place in summer, is one of the most prestigious contest which attracts the attention of the best domestic and international tennis players.
When it comes to golf, it is not England that makes this game popular, but Scotland. There is a big number of golf courses which are mainly popular among newly rich people and among millionaires as the sport is considered to be one of the most expensive activity. However, there are also many public courses which are accessible to less well-off part of community.
Another sport which was initially reserved only to upper classes was rugby. The game originated from Rugby school in Warwickshire and in the space of time became well-known all over the country. There are differentiated two different types of rugby, namely Rugby League and Rugby Union. The former is played mainly in the north of England whilst the latter in the rest of England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland.
The sport of Kings, so horse racing, is an activity especially enjoyed by spectators who have countless opportunities to participate in the Derby. One of the best-known places in which the races are held are Ascot, Epsom, Goodwood and Newmarket. The one that is worthy of closer attention is Ascot, called as well Royal Ascot because of the fact that the Queen, being the real fan of races, always goes there. It is a perfect occasion for ladies of the upper classes to present the most extravagant and astonishing headgear, as well.
No matter which sport you would like to choose in Britain, there are plenty of sports clubs and specialized courses which you could join. Due to the popularity of sports activities as well as numerous British victories in a wide variety of tournaments, sports do not only play an important role in the life of British people, but are true passion.