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Hi, guys! How are you? Ready for following your daring, adventurous streak, and striving for fluency in English? Let’s have a look at the words and best expressions to talk about adventurous activities!

Daring, adventurous streak- Striving for Fluency 6

1.Heck, Play Ball!

Sometimes it may seem like it, but eating, and waiting for the bus aren’t the only fun (!) activities that Americans enjoy. In general, Americans love their sports. They play sports, and they watch sports; moreover, their kids play sports, and they watch their kids play sports… you get the idea.

Organized sports make it easy for adults and children to join local teams and play their favorite sports competitively. For instance, local towns have sign-ups each season for various teams. Heck, our husbands think they’re superstars of the over-40 soccer team! (They still think they’re 21, but that’s a topic for another book.) Many companies sponsor teams, and their employees practice and play after work. On weekends, lots of people love to catch a game, either on TV or at the stadium.

Although Americans enjoy almost every sport, major league baseball is often considered the all-American sport. Couch potatoes enjoy watching every game on TV. The season’s high point is the championship series between the top two professional teams. Yes, even though the teams only come from the U.S. or Canada, the championship is called the World Series. I guess the baseball “world” is smaller than the real world.

When the seasons change, so do the sports. Above all, soccer (yes, we know the rest of the world calls it football) is becoming very popular, and a pickup game of basketball is always fun. Some U.S. presidents even shoot hoops on the White House basketball court. But in the winter, Americans love their football! (Yes, we know the rest of the world calls it American football.) And what could be better than combining two favorites: football and food.

The concession stands at any sports activity are always crowded. No health food here; therefore, the favorites are hot dogs, fries, hot pretzels, peanuts, and beer. In fact, the last football game of the season, the Super Bowl, is a hugely popular event with lots of parties and, of course, plenty of junk food. Yum!

Dialogue – Your daring, adventurous streak

LIA: Wow, look at that guy. He can really move!

ALAN: What’s the big deal? I can do that!

LIA: Ha! You want me to believe that you can run like a football player?

ALAN: You don’t think I can? Of course, I can! Okay, maybe I can’t. But I sure could run when I was in high school. I was a star of the school track team.

LIA: Wow, you can remember all the way back to high school? Well, let’s just watch the pros. Woo hoo! Touchdown!

JAE: I don’t know about anyone here running, but both of you sure can eat. You’re hogging all the snacks. If you guys don’t stop pigging out, there won’t be any left for the next half. Pass the nachos.

LIA: Here, dig in.

ALAN: Not me! I guess that’s a hint that I should watch my weight, haha!

During the Super Bowl is the perfect time to go to a restaurant or go shopping. The place will be empty because everyone will be home watching the game.

Useful Vocabulary

big deal: something important

catch a game: watch a game

competitively: playing to win

concession stand: place to buy snacks at a game

couch potato: someone who prefers to relax and watch TV

dig in: eat and enjoy!

he can really move: an expression of admiration at someone’s ability to run

heck: another exclamation; just for fun

hint: a gentle suggestion

hogging: keeping most of something for yourself

junk food: food that tastes great but isn’t good for you (Come on, we know you love it!)

major league: professional baseball; also an idiom meaning “really important”

nachos: a snack of crispy tortilla chips, melted cheese, and salsa

organized sports: local teams that meet on a regular basis

pickup game: an unscheduled, informal game that happens when people just start playing at a park or other place

pigging out: eating greedily

pretzels: a popular salty snack, sometimes soft, sometimes crunchy, in a twisted shape

pro: professional sports player

shoot hoops: play basketball

sign-ups: when people join a local team

stadium: it is an arena, or place where a game is played

touchdown: scoring six points in football (Yes, we mean American football!)

various: different

watch one’s weight: be careful about diet and avoid gaining extra pounds

Some sports events begin with eating contests! (We are not making this up.) Surprisingly,people will see who can eat the most hot dogs or chicken wings. (burp!)

The verb can is pronounced ken or kin depending on the stress. This is important to make your meaning clear. So, listen carefully to the dialogue to hear how the different stress affects the sound of the word.

2. Joining a Gym: Member Only!

So you’ve decided that watching TV sports is fine for Saturday afternoons, but instead of becoming a couch potato, you’d like to do something active to stay in shape. Maybe you prefer building muscle strength to improving your grip on the snack bowl… However, if you can’t work a sports team into your schedule, you can always join a gym. Consequently, there you’ll find all the fitness equipment you need to work out. Most gyms have special pricing plans that allow you to come in as many times as you’d like, that is to say, you can do your own thing or join classes.

You can even get a personal trainer to help with an individual plan. Many gyms even have a pool, and, of course, they all have locker rooms for changing and storing your stuff, as well as showers. Believe us: the people sitting next to you on the bus will be very happy you took a shower after your workout!

Dialogue – Daring, adventurous streak

LARRY: Hi. Fitness World Gym. Larry speaking. How can I help you?

LIA: Yes, I’d like some information on your gym memberships, please.

LARRY: Sure. We have two different types of membership: You can pay as you go, where you pay $5 every time you want to use the facilities and $5 for every class you attend. Then there’s the monthly plan where you pay a flat rate of $45 per month. With the monthly plan, you can come in as often as you want and go to as many classes as you want. Both plans require an annual fee.

LIA: Sounds good. What equipment do you have?

LARRY: All the usual stuff. We have a cardio room with treadmills, ellipticals, all that kind of stuff; a weight room with all sorts of weight machines and free weights.

LIA: What classes can I take?

LARRY: We have yoga, pilates, aerobics . . . There’s a whole bunch of them. Check out our website for information on the class schedules.

LIA: Is there a pool?

LARRY: No, but we do have a sauna, café, and babysitting facilities.

LIA: That’s great! What about the hours?

LARRY: We’re open every day from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. Would you like me to schedule a tour for you?

LIA: Hey great. Can you throw in a free day pass too?

LARRY: Sure. Drop in anytime, and I’ll give you a day pass.

Lots of places will give you a free day pass to try out their facilities. Just ask!

When thinking about a gym membership, remember to read the fine print in the contract. You may find out that there are penalties if you decide to quit before the contract is over.

Useful Vocabulary

all sorts of: a variety

annual fee: a yearly fee in addition to other fees

cardio: activities geared toward keeping the heart strong

checkout: look at

do your own thing: do something independently, without a group

drop in (also drop by): come in, visit

ellipticals: exercise machines

fine print: the small words in a contract that usually contain all the exceptions to the deal

flat rate: a payment plan where one fee includes all activities

grip: grasp on an object

kind of stuff: things of a similar type lots of: a lot of; many

pay as you go: a plan where you pay only for what you use

schedule: make an appointment

stay in shape: maintain (keep) a healthy body through diet and exercise

stuff: things

throw in: add something for free

treadmills: exercise machines

whole bunch, lots of: many

work out (v.): exercise workout (n.): an exercise session

3. Extreme Sports

Are TV sports and fitness workouts still too tame? If you have an adventurous streak, you’ll be able to find something more exciting. In fact, you’ll be able to find just about any exciting adventure you can imagine. How about scuba diving or sailing? Many rivers are perfect spots for whitewater rafting or tubing through the rapids.

There are commercial operations where you’ll be able to take helicopter flights or rides in a small plane over popular attractions. So, have you ever thought about a soaring adventure? A glider plane will quietly drift high over a scenic area, or maybe a ride in a hot air balloon at dawn is just what you need for a special relaxing experience.

On the other hand, or the opposite of relaxation, try skydiving—just don’t ask us to jump out of that plane with you. In some mountain areas, you’ll be able to take a cable car ride to the top of the mountain. And who doesn’t want to jump off a bridge? Bungee jumping is just the thing because inn many forested areas, you’ll be able to enjoy a zipline above the trees. We don’t know about you, but a nap on the couch is sounding better and better . . .

Dialogue – Daring, adventurous streak

LIA: Hey, do you guys feel like heading up the Delaware River next weekend? The weather should be great, so we’ll be able to go canoeing.

ALAN: You know me; I’m up for anything.

LIA: Cool. My brother has a boat on a lake nearby. We’ll be able to spend a day on the river and then go waterskiing the next day.

JAE: A boat? Count me out. I get really seasick.

LIA: Oh, don’t be such a chicken. It’s a small boat on a small lake.

JAE: Seriously, if it moves on the water, and I’m in it, I will throw up!

ALAN: Okay, Lia, it looks like it’s just you and me for waterskiing. Do you think you’ll be able to handle it?

LIA: What, put two pieces of wood on my feet and glide across the water? Of course, I can!

JAE: Sorry I won’t be able to join you, though I bet it will be pretty funny to watch! Maybe I’ll just watch a game on TV.

ALAN: It’s your loss! You’ll miss seeing your two friends waterski like pros!

There’s a reason some of these are called “extreme” sports, and that is because they can be dangerous. Companies that provide the experiences are very serious about safety precautions. Always follow the safety rules.

A gift certificate for an adventure experience is a great idea for a special holiday occasion for a very special person.

Useful Vocabulary

adventurous streak: the part of your personality that wants excitement

attractions: interesting or fun places to see

bungee jumping: jumping from a very high place, connected only to an elastic cord

chicken: a coward; someone who is afraid of something

count me in: plan on doing something or being included in something

count me out: plan on not doing something or not being included in something

dawn: very early morning before sunrise

drift: float

feel like: want to

glide: move easily

glider: a special light plane with no engine that sails on air currents

handle it: be able to do something

hot air balloon: a balloon for traveling through the air (A basket holds the people and the balloon is powered by heated air.)

nap: a short sleep

operations: businesses

precautions: things to do to keep safe

rapids: fast-moving parts of a river

scuba: self-contained underwater breathing apparatus (for the tank that supplies oxygen); deep sea diving

skydiving: jumping out of a plane for fun! AAAACKKK!!!

tame: calm, easy

throw up: a yucky (eeew!) phrase meaning to be sick to your stomach

tubing: going down a river in a special float shaped like a tire tube

up for: ready to do something

whitewater rafting: going down a fast-moving river in a special raft

your loss: a way of saying you’ll be sorry you didn’t do something

zip line: a cable connected to pulleys that lets you slide across

More fun with idiomatic expressions

Lots of idioms are based on sports. Here are a few common ones from baseball:

hit a home run; knock it out of the park: excel at some task Susan was nervous about performing the song in front of an audience, but she knocked it out of the park!

the home stretch: coming to the end of a project After spending all summer on the business proposal, the team was in the home stretch by the time the deadline got close.

a ball park figure: an estimate When they started to plan the party, they didn’t know exactly how many people would come, but they had a ballpark figure.

throw a curveball: face an unexpected complication Just when Irina thought she had all the expenses for the trip planned, the airline threw her a curveball by charging a fee for her extra suitcase.

cover all the bases: make sure there are no problems at any part of a project Although she saved her project document on the hard drive of her computer, she decided to cover all the bases and save the project to a flash drive too.

Hope now you can express yourself with confidence and follow your daring, bold streak! Go on learning about the Use of English and about passing your First Certificate Exam with flying colors!

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