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Tom Brown's Last Match
Excerpt From: Tom Brown's Schooldays
Thomas Hughes 1. Thomas Hughes (1822-1896) studied at Rugby School during the headmastership of Thomas Arnold. Based on his school experience, he wrote a novel, Tom Brown’s Schooldays.
Dr Thomas Arnold was academic,who had transformed Rugby School from a place where the indolent sons of gentlefolk were kept away from their parents, for the duration of their youth, to a scholastic institution where the Classics and sports flourished. Arnold ushered in a new era of learning, which would prove a model for the public school system.
In this book Tom Brown is transformed from a nervous, homesick, timid boy into a robust, manly student. He becomes a heroic figure recognised for his physical courage, sportsmanship, loyalty and patriotism. This transformation is brought about by the discipline of the public school and the culture of sports. Do you think sports add value to education? Give reasons.
2. Read the passage given below
ll three are watching the game eagerly, and joining in the cheering which follows every good hit. It is pleasing to see the easy, friendly footing which the pupils are on with their master, perfectly respectful, yet with no reserve and nothing forced in their intercourse. Tom has clearly abandoned the old theory of "natural enemies" in this case at any rate.
But it is time to listen to what they are saying, and see what we can gather out of it.
"I don't object to your theory," says the master, "and I allow you have made a fair case for yourself. But now, in such books as Aristophanes, for instance, you've been reading a play this half with the Doctor, haven't you?"
"Yes, the Knights," answered Tom.
"Well, I'm sure you would have enjoyed the wonderful humour of it twice as much if you had taken more pains with your scholarship."
"Well, sir, I don't believe any boy in the form enjoyed the sets-to between Cleon and the Sausage-seller more than I did - eh, Arthur?" said Tom, giving him a stir with his foot.
"Yes, I must say he did," said Arthur. "I think, sir, you've hit upon the wrong book there."
"Not a bit of it," said the master. "Why, in those very passages of arms, how can you thoroughly appreciate them unless you are master of the weapons? and the weapons are the language, which you, Brown, have never half worked at; and so, as I say, you must have lost all the delicate shades of meaning which make the best part of the fun."
"Oh, well played! bravo, Johnson!" shouted Arthur, dropping his bat and clapping furiously, and Tom joined in with a "Bravo, Johnson!" which might have been heard at the chapel.
"Eh! what was it? I didn't see," inquired the master. "They only got one run, I thought?"
"No, but such a ball, three-quarters length, and coming straight for his leg bail. Nothing but that turn of the wrist could have saved him, and he drew it away to leg for a safe one. - Bravo, Johnson!"
"How well they are bowling, though," said Arthur; "they don't mean to be beat, I can see."
"There now," struck in the master; "you see that's just what I have been preaching this half-hour. The delicate play is the true thing. I don't understand cricket, so I don't enjoy those fine draws which you tell me are the best play, though when you or Raggles hit a ball hard away for six I am as delighted as any one. Don't you see the analogy?"
"Yes, sir," answered Tom, looking up roguishly, "I see; only the question remains whether I should have got most good by understanding Greek particles or cricket thoroughly. I'm such a thick, I never should have had time for both."
"I see you are an incorrigible," said the master, with a chuckle; "but I refute you by an example. Arthur there has taken in Greek and cricket too."
"Yes, but no thanks to him; Greek came natural to him. Why, when he first came I remember he used to read Herodotus for pleasure as I did Don Quixote, and couldn't have made a false concord if he'd tried ever so hard; and then I looked after his cricket."
"Out! Bailey has given him out. Do you see, Tom?" cries Arthur. "How foolish of them to run so hard."
"Well, it can't be helped; he has played very well. Whose turn is it to go in?"
"I don't know; they've got your list in the tent."
"Let's go and see," said Tom, rising; but at this moment Jack Raggles and two or three more came running to the island moat.
"O Brown, mayn't I go in next?" shouts the Swiper.
"Whose name is next on the list?" says the captain.
"Winter's, and then Arthur's," answers the boy who carries it; "but there are only twenty-six runs to get, and no time to lose. I heard Mr. Aislabie say that the stumps must be drawn at a quarter past eight exactly."
"Oh, do let the Swiper go in," chorus the boys; so Tom yields against his better judgment.
I dare say now I've lost the match by this nonsense," he says, as he sits down again; "they'll be sure to get Jack's wicket in three or four minutes; however, you'll have the chance, sir, of seeing a hard hit or two," adds he, smiling, and turning to the master.
"Come, none of your irony, Brown," answers the master. "I'm beginning to understand the game scientifically. What a noble game it is, too!"
"Isn't it? But it's more than a game. It's an institution," said Tom.
"The discipline and reliance on one another which it teaches is so valuable, I think," went on the master, "it ought to be such an unselfish game. It merges the individual in the eleven; he doesn't play that he may win, but that his side may."
"That's very true," said Tom, "and that's why football and cricket, now one comes to think of it, are such much better games than fives or hare-and-hounds, or any others where the object is to come in first or to win for oneself, and not that one's side may win."
"And then the captain of the eleven!" said the master; "what a post is his in our School-world! almost as hard as the Doctor's — requiring skill and gentleness and firmness, and I know not what other rare qualities."
"Which don't he may wish he may get!" said Tom, laughing; "at any rate he hasn't got them yet, or he wouldn't have been such a flat to-night as to let Jack Raggles go in out of his turn."
"Ah, the Doctor never would have done that," said Arthur demurely. "Tom, you've a great deal to learn yet in the art of ruling."
"Well, I wish you'd tell the Doctor so then, and get him to let me stop till I'm twenty. I don't want to leave, I'm sure."
"What a sight it is," broke in the master, "the Doctor as a ruler! Perhaps ours is the only little corner of the British Empire which is thoroughly, wisely, and strongly ruled just now. I'm more and more thankful every day of my life that I came here to be under him."
"So am I, I'm sure," said Tom, "and more and more sorry that I've got to leave."
"Every place and thing one sees here reminds one of some wise act of his," went on the master. "This island now - you remember the time, Brown, when it was laid out in small gardens, and cultivated by frost-bitten fags in February and March?"
"Of course I do," said Tom; "didn't I hate spending two hours in the afternoon grubbing in the tough dirt with the stump of a fives bat? But turf-cart was good fun enough."
"I dare say it was, but it was always leading to fights with the townspeople; and then the stealing flowers out of all the gardens in Rugby for the Easter show was abominable."
"Well, so it was," said Tom, looking down, "but we fags couldn't help ourselves. But what has that to do with the Doctor's ruling?"
"A great deal, I think," said the master; "what brought island- fagging to an end?"
"Why, the Easter speeches were put off till midsummer," said Tom, "and the sixth had the gymnastic poles put up here."
"Well, and who changed the time of the speeches, and put the idea of gymnastic poles into the heads of their worships the sixth form?" said the master.
"The Doctor, I suppose," said Tom. "I never thought of that."
"Of course you didn't," said the master, "or else, fag as you were, you would have shouted with the whole school against putting down old customs. And that's the way that all the Doctor's reforms have been carried out when he has been left to himself - quietly and naturally, putting a good thing in the place of a bad, and letting the bad die out; no wavering, and no hurry - the best thing that could be done for the time being, and patience for the rest."
"Just Tom's own way," chimed in Arthur, nudging Tom with his elbow - "driving a nail where it will go;" to which allusion Tom answered by a sly kick.
"Exactly so," said the master, innocent of the allusion and by- play.
3. Discuss and Answer the following questions
How important is physical development, boldness, fighting spirit, and sociability in one’s day to day life? Give reasons.
Have you ever dreamed about being a sports star? What sport would you like to be associated with? What do you think it would be like to be one of the best in the world?
Explain what good sportsmanship means.
If you could switch bodies with an athlete for one week, who would you choose? How do you think you would do in their body for that week? Would you ruin their career or help it?
Read the following three extracts from Mahatma Gandhi’s writing and contrast them to the ideas on education and sport expressed by Thomas Arnold or Hughes (Tom Browns Schooldays).
ahatma Gandhi believed that sport was essential for creating a balance between the body and the mind. However, he often emphasised that games like cricket and hockey were imported into India by the British and were replacing traditional games. Such games as cricket, hockey, football and tennis were for the privileged, he believed. They showed a colonial mindset and were a less effective education than the simple exercise of those who worked on the land.
‘Now let us examine our body. Are we supposed to cultivate the body by playing tennis, football or cricket for an hour every day? It does, certainly, build up the body. Like a wild horse, however, the body will be strong but not trained. A trained body is healthy, vigorous and sinewy. The hands and
feet can do any desired work. A pickaxe, a shovel, a hammer, etc. are like ornaments to a trained hand and it can wield them … A well-trained body does not get tired in trudging 30 miles …. Does the student acquire such physical culture? We can assert that modern curricula do not impart physical
education in this sense.’
[From ‘What Is Education’, 11 February 1926, The Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi, Vol. 34.]
‘I should, however, be exceedingly surprised and even painfully surprised, if I were told that before cricket and football descended upon your sacred soil, your boys were devoid of all games. If you have national games, I would urge upon you that yours is an institution that should lead in reviving old
games. I know that we have in India many noble indigenous games just as interesting and exciting as cricket or football, also as much attended with risks as football is, but with the added advantage that they are inexpensive, because the cost is practically next to nothing’
[Speech at Mahindra College, 24 November 1927, The Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi.]
‘A sound body means one which bends itself to the spirit and is always a ready instrument at its service. Such bodies are not made, in my opinion, on the football field. They are made on cornfields and farms. I would urge you to think this over and you will find innumerable illustrations to prove my
statement. Our colonial-born Indians are carried away with this football and cricket mania. These games may have their place under certain circumstances …. Why do we not take the simple fact into consideration that the vast majority of mankind who are vigorous in body and mind are simple
agriculturists, that they are strangers to these games, and they are the salt of the earth?’
[Letter to Lazarus, 17 April 1915, The Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi]. Writing5. Imagine a conversation between Thomas Arnold, the headmaster of Rugby School, and Mahatma Gandhi on the value of cricket in education. What would each say? Write out a conversation in the form of a dialogue.
6. Role Play Enact out the dialogue with proper stress and intonation
7. Women And Sport
Till the last part of the nineteenth century, sports and vigorous exercise for girls was not a part of their education. Dorothea Beale, principal of Cheltenham Ladies College from 1858 to 1906, reported to the schools Enquiry Commission in 1864:
‘The vigorous exercise which boys get from cricket, etc., must be supplied in the case of girls by walking and … skipping.’ From: Kathleen, E. McCrone, ‘Play up! Play up! And Play the Game:
Sport at the Late Victorian Girls Public School’. By the 1890s, school began acquiring playgrounds and allowing girls to play some of the games earlier considered male preserves. But the competition was still discouraged. Dorothea Beale told the school council in 1893-1894:
‘I am most anxious that girls should not over-exert themselves, or become absorbed in athletic rivalries, and therefore we do not play against the other schools. I think it is better for girls to learn to take an interest in botany, geology etc., and not make country excursions.’
From: Kathleen, E. McCrone, ‘Play up! Play up! And Play the Game’. What does the sports curriculum of a nineteenth century girls school tell us about the behaviour considered proper for girls at that time?
8. Imagine you are a girl from that period of time. Express your feeling in the form of a diary entry.
9. Here are some women achievers in sports
Jackie Joyner-Kersee-- Won three gold, one silver and two bronzemedals over four consecutive Olympic Games.
Bachendri Pal-- First Indian
Woman to Climb
Arati Saha First Indian Woman to Swim Across English Channel (1959)
Writing a script 1. Create a timeline of ten woman achievers that according to you are the best.
2. Do you think women are disadvantaged in sports?
A television network is looking for ideas for a ten-episode new television series. Suggest a script, on WomeninSports. Include all the information that will help the president evaluate your idea-- including the show’s title, what kind of show it is with specific details or features of the show that would be appealing to teenage viewers and an example of what viewers might see in a typical episode
3. Present your views with the help of a PowerPoint presentation