Why sports matter?
Beyond the wellbeing benefits of playing sports or the transversal skills acquired through participation in sporting events such as teamwork effort, social skills, responsibility or work ethic, sports in general brings people together whether as fans or participants. Whether is rugby, soccer, Gaelic football, camogie, athletics or golf, it builds communities; it fosters diversity; creates lifelong friendships; and gives us skills that help guide us in life and business.
Soccer, or football as it is known abroad, is the most popular sport in the world with over three billion followers. It is absolutely no surprise that it ranks as one of the most popular sports in Ireland.
There is no more heated debate in the classroom among students than a discussion on football. More than once as a teacher I wish in the class there existed a mute button (just like on Zoom) to put a stop to a ‘conversation’ on football. Alas, it doesn’t exist…yet! Never have I seen such passion in debates over who was the better player; Messi or Ronaldo (Messi) Maradona or Pele (Maradona).
However, this does show how much football (and sports in general) can be so engaging for students. A student from Brazil once told me that there are three things that you should never talk about: Religion, Politics and Football. For just this once, I am going to break that rule!
When students come to Galway to learn English, sport is not at the forefront of their mind. The majority of their attention is placed on studying hard during the week, and then deciding where to have their party at the weekend! However, sport can be a great way to improve your English. You get the chance to meet loads of new people from Ireland and all over the world and put your English into practice in a real-life situation. GCI offers many activities for students to do after classes and one of them is playing football. During GCI’s 'Health Week', there was a football tournament that pitted Students against Teachers! It was an intense battle!
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