martes, 14 de enero de 2014

Madrid Teacher series: Cheating in sports

Four Madrid teachers discuss cheating in sports this week. The conversation gets a bit technical today as some of the teachers seem to be in the know about different cheating methods sportspeople use these days. To make matters worse, they seem to be interrupting one another quite often, which makes it really difficult to keep track of who says what.

The three-minute video helps us once again to come face-to-face with 'real' English as opposed to 'textbook' English.

Let's have a look at some of the features we can come across in this debate:
  • Agreement: Yeah; of course; Yeah, exactly.
  • False starts: But if this is...; there was a rugby player who; If we, if you think; I’d… might
  • Fillers to gain thinking time: I don't know...; you know...; I mean...; Well...
  • Repetition: when it, when it burst it..; it’s competition… it’s competition,
  • 'So' as a linker: So the coach...; So that when it...; So we’re not...
  • Checking that one has understood correctly: That’s what you’re saying?
  • Use of auxiliary verb to emphasize our ideas: we do need some rules

Now it's over to you.
What do you think about cheating in sports?
What examples come to mind?
What's the place of 'fair play' in today's professional sport?
Try and use some of the features of spoken English the Madrid teachers have used in their debate.

I think sports is different things to different people.
Yeah, I don’t know if it was ever confused with ideas of honor or nobility. I think it’s competition. And competition between human beings, if you think about it, takes into all accounts.
But if this. . . in a competition both sides should be equal, should start off in equal positions…
I don’t know, maybe in a perfect world.
…and then the difference comes from strength or speed, you know… natural, natural… natural strength. And speed… I mean…
And cheating… and cheating… And cheating is probably… picaresque.
There are different kinds of cheating, too, I mean… there are some things are a bit more innocent. This recent case, there was a rugby player who… the team had, had used up all of their allowed changes of players. So the coach sent him out with a fake blood capsule in his mouth. So that when it, when it burst it looked like he was bleeding and he had to be sent off the field and they could send on a better player. It’s kind of clever.
Yeah, I mean it’s competition… it’s competition, you should use all the tools that you have.
All is fair in love, in love and war, yeah? That’s what you’re saying?
I mean… it’s something like this. If we, if you think about it from a philosophical point of view, those who are able to conquer their foes, with whatever means, be it cleverness or otherwise…
…maybe they don’t need as many rules to govern their actions.
They’re above law?
I don’t know. I think with sport, we do need some rules and guidelines, and rules of conduct and behaviour. Gentlemany, gentlemanly behaviour. You know? I think without that…
I don’t know how many people consider rugby or football a gentlemanly occupation. Perhaps cricket.
Maybe fifty years ago. Yes. But it’s true that things, things are changed a lot. Especially with technology now, they’re making kinds of advances in…
…of course…
…athletes’ training and…
Of course.
It gets very borderline as to whether it’s cheating or not.
With gene therapy they’re talking, I’ve heard about blood vessels that increase the capacity of normal human… or blood cells that increase the capacity of normal human capacity for oxygen. Which means you could perform for much harder and much longer without being winded.
Well they were doing this, also, with blood transfusions. I think plasma and other things to, inject more ... White blood cells is it?
I don’t know.
...into a person so yeah so more oxygen and the ability to produce, or have more oxygen in the body. And I think they’re, nowadays I mean with new technologies, biolo-, biological technologies they’re developing things like . . . they’re modifying the glucose cycle. The genetic modifications, all sorts of things.
So we’re not, now we’re not going to know who’s the fastest, who’s the strongest because it’s going to be… you know, if I race against you, you’re going to have some of these blood vessels in you, you’re going to win.
Yeah, yeah.
Sure, we’ll know…
Whereas on a normal day I think, I’d… might be able to beat you in a race.
Yeah, well. Yeah .
That’s going to be the future.
I think we’ll know; it’ll be the richest team. We’ll just see more Real Madrid’s on top.
Yeah, exactly.