Sports and Leisure Critical Reading Practice Exercises Set 3 (page 2)
Sports and Leisure Critical Reading
Questions 1–10 are based on the following passage.
The following passage is adapted from a magazine article entitled The Revival of the Olympic Games: Restoring the Stadium at Athens, published prior to the first modern Olympics.
For several months an unwonted activity has prevailed in one quarter of Athens. Herodes Atticus Street behind the royal garden, one of the most retired streets of the city, has resounded all day long with the rattle of heavy wagons bringing blocks of marble from Pentelikon. At sunrise and sunset crowds of workingmen are seen moving through this street, the lower end of which opens upon a bridge across the Ilissos, and on the opposite bank lies the Panathenaic Stadium, now being lined with marble for the Olympic games which are to be held in it early in April. The time is short, and the work is being pressed forward. When the International Athletic Committee, at a session in Paris last year, decided to have a series of athletic contests once in four years in various countries, it is not surprising that they selected Greece for the first contest. Although Greece now has as little of the athletic habit as any nation of the civilized world, its past is interwoven with athletics. Olympia is a magic word, and the committee were doubtless swayed partly by sentimental reasons in the choice of name and place.
But some may wonder why, since the games come to Greece, they are not to be held at Olympia, to justify the name which they have taken. This is because the originators of the scheme, although they have conceded something to sentiment, are no visionaries, but men of practical common sense. Even their concession to sentiment is likely to turn out to be a clever piece of practical management, calculated to launch the games upon the world with more success than could have been secured in any other way. The games also have a name which will be just as true in 1900 at Paris, and 1904 in America, as it is this year in Athens.
Now, however fine a thing it might be to let athletes stir real Olympic dust, and to let runners put their heels into the very groove of the old starting-sill, with the feeling that thirty centuries looked down upon them, it would not be practical. A successful athletic contest cannot be held in the wilderness. It demands a crowd and sustenance for a crowd. The crowd is the one essential concomitant of the athletes. But a crowd will not go where it cannot eat and sleep. To bring to Olympia a concourse sufficient to in modern times make the games anything like a success would demand the organization of a first-class commissary department, and that too for a service of half a month only. Shelter and food for such an occasion come naturally only in connection with some city with a market. Ancient Olympia, with all its magnificent buildings, was of course that sort of city, albeit practically a deserted city except for a few days once in four years.
The visitors at Athens next April—and it is hoped that there will be tens of thousands of them—will doubtless feel keenly enough the inadequacy even of a city of 130,000 inhabitants, to give them all that they seek in the way of material comforts. The problem of seating a large crowd of spectators did not come up before the International Committee. But it is this problem which has found a most happy solution in Athens. The Stadium at Olympia, although excavated at each end by the Germans, still lies in most of its course under fifteen or twenty feet of earth. But the Stadium at Athens has always been a fit place for a monster meeting, provided people would be contented to sit on its sloping sides without seats. When a local Athenian committee was formed, composed of most of the citizens conspicuous for wealth or position, and some resident foreigners, under the presidency of Constantine, crown prince of Greece, one of the first questions before it was this question of seating; and its attention was naturally directed to the Stadium.
A wealthy and generous Greek of Alexandria, George Averoff, who was known as a man always on the watch to do something for Athens, readily took upon himself the expense of restoring the Stadium to something like its former splendor, when it was lined with marble and seated fifty-thousand spectators. He has already given over nine hundred thousand drachmas, which, if the drachma were at par, would be $180,000, but which now amounts to only about $100,000. There is a sub-committee of the general committee above described, designated as the committee on the preparation of the Stadium, composed of several practical architects, but including also the Ephor General of Antiquities, and the directors of the foreign archaeological schools. The presence of the archaeological element on this committee emphasizes the fact that the new work is to be a restoration of the old.
- In line 1, the word unwonted most nearly means
- not welcome.
- out of the ordinary.
- Herodes Atticus Street (line 2) is located where in relation to the Stadium at Athens?
- behind the royal garden
- on Mount Olympus
- across the Illissos river
- just north of Pentelikon
- directly adjacent to
- Based on information in the passage, what year were the first modern Olympics to be held?
- One of the sentimental reasons the author refers to in line 16 is
- Athens was always the largest city in Greece.
- Panathenaic Stadium is the oldest stadium in Ancient Olympia.
- Olympia, Greece was the site of the original Olympics.
- Paris was a better choice for the first modern Olympic games.
- George Averoff was once the King of Greece.
- All of the following are reasons why the first modern games were held in Athens and not in Olympia EXCEPT
- Olympia was a much smaller city than Athens.
- Parts of the Stadium at Olympia were buried underground.
- Athens offered better facilities for the crowd in terms of food and shelter.
- The Germans voted against Olympia in favor of Athens.
- The city of Olympia would not attract the same crowd as Athens.
- Who was in charge of solving the problem of seating the crowds expected at Athens?
- the International Athletic Committee
- the Germans
- George Averoff
- the Ephor General of Antiquities
- a local Athenian Committee
- According to the passage, about how long were the games to be?
- two weeks
- the month of April
- four years
- three weeks
- a few days
- In line 62, the word drachma refers to
- a block of marble.
- the Greek word for marble.
- the name of Greek money.
- a type of stadium seat.
- a type of Greek food.
- In line 30, what does the author claim would not be practical?
- trying to revive the spirit of the ancient games
- holding the new Olympics in Olympia
- excavating the Stadium at Olympia for use at the modern games
- refurbishing the Stadium at Athens
- seating fifty-thousand spectators
- The phrase the feeling that thirty centuries looked down upon them(lines 29–30) refers to the
- political importance of holding the first modern games at the site of Ancient Olympia.
- decision to hold the second modern Olympics in France.
- importance of reviving the spirit of the ancient Olympic games.
- sentimental value of holding the modern games at the site of Ancient Olympia.
- need for the best amateur athletes to compete.
Questions 11–21 are based on the following passages.
The following passages detail two very different perspectives of life aboard a ship in the age of sail. The first passage describes an English pleasure yacht in the early 1800s. The second passage recounts a young boy's impressions of the first time he set sail in a merchant vessel.
Reader, have you ever been at Plymouth? If you have, your eye must have dwelt with ecstasy upon the beautiful property of the Earl of Mount Edgcumbe: if you have not been at Plymouth, the sooner that you go there the better. You will see ships building and ships in ordinary; and ships repairing and ships fitting; and hulks and convict ships, and the guard-ship; ships ready to sail and ships under sail; besides lighters, men-of-war's boats, dockyard-boats, bum-boats, and shore-boats. In short, there is a great deal to see at Plymouth besides the sea itself: but what I particularly wish now is, that you will stand at the battery of Mount Edgcumbe and look into Barn Pool below you, and there you will see, lying at single anchor, a cutter; and you may also see, by her pendant and ensign, that she is a yacht.
You observe that this yacht is cutter-rigged, and that she sits gracefully on the smooth water. She is just heaving up her anchor; her foresail is loose, all ready to cast her—in a few minutes she will be under way. You see that there are ladies sitting at the taffrail; and there are five haunches of venison hanging over the stern. Of all amusements, give me yachting. But we must go on board. The deck, you observe, is of narrow deal planks as white as snow; the guns are of polished brass; the bitts and binnacles of mahogany: she is painted with taste; and all the moldings are gilded. There is nothing wanting; and yet how clear and unencumbered are her decks! Let us go below.
There is the ladies' cabin: can anything be more tasteful or elegant? Is it not luxurious? And, although so small, does not its very confined space astonish you, when you view so many comforts so beautifully arranged? This is the dining-room, and where the gentlemen repair. And just peep into their state-rooms and bed-places. Here is the steward's room and the buffet: the steward is squeezing lemons for the punch, and there is the champagne in ice; and by the side of the pail the long-corks are ranged up, all ready. Now, let us go forwards: here are, the men's berths, not confined as in a man-of-war. No! Luxury starts from abaft, and is not wholly lost, even at the fore-peak. This is the kitchen; is it not admirably arranged? And how delightful are the fumes of the turtle-soup! At sea we do meet with rough weather at times; but, for roughing it out, give me a yacht.
My very first sea voyage was in a small merchant vessel out of New York called the Alba. I was only twelve years old at the time, and full of dreams of boundless adventure upon the high seas. I was to serve as the ship's boy. I was given the post by my Uncle Joseph, the weathered old captain of the Alba who uttered few words, choosing to speak more with his menacing gaze than with his mouth. The moment I stepped upon the bustling deck my Uncle Joseph set me straight about shipboard life. There were to be no special privileges afforded to me because of our relations. I was to live and mess in the 'tween decks with the other seamen, and because I was his nephew, I would probably have to work twice as hard as the others to prove my worth. From that point on I was to refer to my uncle as "Sir" or "Captain," and only speak to him when he addressed me. He then told me a bit about the Alba. I learned that she was a cutter, and all cutters were fore-and-aft rigged, and possessed only a single mast. After my brief lesson, he then sent me below deck to get myself situated.
What I found when I dismounted the ladder below was an entirely different world than the orderly brightness of the top deck. Here was a stuffy and dimly lit space barely tall enough for me to stand up straight in. It was the middle of July, and the heat was oppressive. There seemed to be no air at all, there certainly were no windows, and the stench that rose up from the bilge was so pungent it made me gag. From the shadows, a pair of eyes materialized. They belonged to a grimy boy no older than me.
"Hello mate, you must be the new lubber just shipped aboard. I'm Nigel. Follow me, we're just in time for dinner."
My new friend led me into the tiny dining room where the crew messed. The men ate shoulder to shoulder on wooden tables bolted to the deck. The horrific smell of so many men crammed together was overpowering. We received our food from the ship's cook, a portly man in a filthy apron who, with the dirtiest hands I'd ever seen, ladled us out a sort of stew. We found two open spots at a mess table and sat down to eat. The stew was lukewarm and the mysterious meat in it was so tough I could barely chew it. I managed to swallow a few spoonfuls and pushed my dish aside.
With a smile that was graveyard of yellow sincerity, Nigel pushed the dish back to me and said, "I'd get used to the grub, mate. It ain't so bad. Besides, this is the freshest it'll be on the voyage."
After dinner, Nigel showed me our berth. It was a tiny lightless cubbyhole near the bow of the boat that was barely six feet long and only five feet high. There was a small area where I could stow my clothes, and at night we would string up our hammocks side by side with two other boys, both of whom were on duty at the moment.
That night when we were under way, the boat ran into a vicious Atlantic storm. The waves tossed the Alba around like it was a tiny raft. The ship made such noises; I was afraid it would simply break apart at any moment. The seawater that crashed upon the deck leaked through the planks and dripped upon my head. It would have bothered me if I were not already horribly seasick. As I lay there miserably rocking back and forth in my damp hammock, I asked myself, "What have I gotten myself into?"
- According to both passages, it is not uncommon for ships to
- meet rough seas.
- run out of fresh drinking water.
- not return home for quite a while.
- leak in heavy weather.
- have children onboard.
- In the last sentence of Passage 2 the narrator suggests that he
- may never recover from the seasickness.
- does not like Nigel.
- made a mistake taking the voyage aboard the Alba.
- should have eaten the stew.
- should have stayed in school.
- Which statement best summarizes the narrator's description of Plymouth in lines 3–8?
- The port at Plymouth is full of rowdy sailors.
- Plymouth is a dreary and overcrowded place.
- Plymouth is a deserted and over-industrialized area
- There are many interest sights to behold at Plymouth.
- The British Royal Navy anchors at Plymouth.
- What do the yacht in Passage 1 and the Alba in Passage 2 have in common?
- They were both built in England.
- They both have only a single mast.
- They are both made of iron.
- They both have lifeboats.
- They are both fast.
- How do the yacht in Passage 1, and the Alba in Passage 2 differ?
- The yacht does not carry cargo.
- The yacht is much bigger than the Alba.
- There are no passengers aboard the Alba, only crew.
- The yacht is much more luxurious than the Alba.
- The yacht is much faster than the Alba.
- Why does the captain in Passage 2 (lines 11–12) demand that his nephew call him Sir or Captain?
- The captain wanted his nephew to understand who was in charge.
- The captain did not want any member of the crew to know the narrator was his nephew.
- The captain was afraid that if he showed affection to his nephew, he would lose his authority over the crew.
- The captain was not really the narrator's uncle.
- It was important that the crew understood that the boy was no more privileged than anyone else aboard.
- In Passage 1, line 26, the use of the word repair most nearly means
- fix things.
- sit in pairs.
- get dressed.
- The narrator of Passage 1 most probably
- is a seasoned sea captain.
- is very wealthy.
- is an experienced yachtsman.
- suffers from seasickness.
- was in the Royal Navy.
- In Passage 2, line 36, the narrator describes Nigel's smile as a graveyard of yellow sincerity. What figure of speech is the narrator employing?
- Together, these two passages illustrate the idea that
- the reality of two seemingly similar situations can often be extremely different.
- boating is a very dangerous pastime.
- dreams sometimes fall very short of reality.
- Plymouth is much nicer than New York.
- hard work pays off in the end.
- The word berth, found in Passage 1, line 31 and Passage 2, line 39 most nearly means
- a sailor's hometown.
- the sleeping quarters aboard a boat.
- the kitchen aboard a boat.
- the bathroom aboard a boat.
- the lower deck of a boat.
- b. A context clue to help you answer this question is found in lines 2–3, when the author states that Herodes Atticus Street is one of the most retired streets of the city. Of the given answer choices, out of the ordinary best describes the activity of heavy construction on a normally quiet street.
- c. The author states in lines 6–7 that the lower end of Herodes Atticus Street opens upon a bridge across the Ilissos, and on the opposite bank lies the Panathenaic Stadium—the Stadium at Athens.
- b. Lines 11–12 state the Committee decided that the Olympics would be held once in four years, and the next two Olympics to follow would be held in the years 1900 and 1904 (line 25).
- c. As stated in line 16, the organizers of the first modern Olympics were swayed partly by sentimental reasons in the choice of name and place. The ancient Olympics took its name from the city where it was held every four years: Olympia, in Greece. To honor those ancient games, the organizers named the modern games the Olympics and would play the inaugural contests in Greece.
- d. The Germans were involved in excavating the ancient Stadium at Olympia (lines 47–48). Nowhere in the passage does it mention that there was a vote to decide between Olympia and Athens.
- e. Lines 44–46 state that the problem of seating a large crowd of spectators did not come up before the International Committee (choice a). In fact, it was a local Athenian committee (choice e) composed of most of the citizens conspicuous for wealth or position, and some resident foreigners (lines 52–53) that were posed with the question of seating for the games in Athens.
- a. Lines 35–37 state that if Olympia were to be considered a viable site for the modern Olympics, it would demand the organization of a first-class commissary department, and that too for a service of half a month only. Half a month is roughly two weeks, choice a. It is true that line 40 states that the games were just a few days (choice e) every four years, but that is in reference to the ancient Olympic games.
- c. Before Greece switched to the Euro in 2002, Greek money was called drachma. The answer to this question lies in line 61–63, where it states that nine hundred thousand drachmas were worth about one hundred thousand dollars.
- b. In lines 31–32 the author states that a successful athletic contest cannot be held in the wilderness and demands a crowd and sustenance for a crowd. Holding the games at Olympia would have sentimental value because of its history, but it would not be practical because Olympia does not have the proper facilities and resources to accommodate the crowds that would descend upon the games.
- d. In lines 29–30, the author uses the phrase the feeling that thirty centuries looked down upon them to emphasize the sentimental value of holding the modern games at the site of Ancient Olympia (choice d). But the author goes on to say that despite the sentimental value, it just wouldn't be practical.
- a. In lines 34–35, the narrator of Passage 1 mentions At sea we do meet with rough weather at times. In Passage 2, lines 44–45, the boy recounts that his boat ran into a vicious Atlantic storm, and the waves tossed the Alba around like it was a tiny raft. Choice d may seem like an attractive answer, but there is only evidence that the Alba leaks (line 47), not the yacht, and the question requires support from both passages.
- c. In the last sentence of Passage 2 the narrator questions his decision to take the voyage aboard the Alba by asking himself What have I gotten myself into? This self-doubt indicates that he believed his decision may have been a mistake. This choice best answers the question.
- d. In lines 2–3, the author of Passage 1 tells of the beautiful property belonging to the Earl of Mount Edgcumbe and implores the reader to visit Plymouth if they ever get the chance. He then goes on to describe the bustling harbor at Plymouth and finishes with: there is a great deal to see at Plymouth besides the sea itself (lines 8–9). In short, he describes all the interesting sights to behold at Plymouth. All the other choices either do not make sense or are not specifically supported by details from the text.
- b. In lines 10–12 of Passage 1 the narrator states that the yacht is a particular type of ship known as a cutter. In lines 14–15 of Passage 2, the Captain explains to his nephew that the Alba is cutter, as well. In that same conversation the nephew learns that all cutters share a similar trait: they possess only a single mast (line 15). Therefore, choice b is the correct answer.
- d. When answering this question, the key is to be sure to find the only choice that is supported by specific examples from the text. Nowhere in the text of Passage 1 does it state that the yacht carries cargo, but on the other hand it never mentions the fact that it does not. The same reasoning goes for choices b, c, and e. The yacht may be bigger and faster than the Alba, and the Alba may carry only crew, but these facts are never mentioned in the texts so we can't know for sure. That leaves only one possible answer: choice d. The yacht is most certainly more luxurious than the Alba, and this statement is backed by both narrators's descriptions of the their respective vessels.
- e. The captain knew it was important that the crew understood the boy was no more privileged than anyone else aboard the Alba. Evidence for this choice is found in the narrator's statement in lines 10–11: because I was his nephew, I would probably have to work twice as hard as the others to prove my worth. All the other choices do not make sense or are not backed by specific examples from the text.
- a. As used in Passage 1, line 26, the verb repair most closely means take themselves, or more simply, go. Today, repair is most commonly used as a verb that means to fix something (choice b). However, in the context of the sentence, this makes no sense. The easiest way to answer this question is to replace repair in the sentence with each the answer choices, and see which one fits best in context. By doing this you should narrow down your choice to just one: choice a.
- c. The narrator's familiarity with yachts and the harbor at Plymouth (lines 1–12) in Passage 1 seems to indicate that he is an experienced yachtsman. He reveals his passion for yachting in lines 17–18, when he declares, Of all amusements, give me yachting. All the other answer choices either do not make sense or are not supported by specific examples from the text.
- e. Nigel probably had rotten or missing teeth. The narrator of Passage 2 chose to describe Nigel's smile as a graveyard of yellow sincerity, describing his yellow teeth as tombstones in a graveyard. When a writer uses a descriptive word or phrase in place of another to suggest a similarity between the two, this figure of speech is called a metaphor (choice e). If the boy had instead said, Nigel's smile was "like a graveyard of yellow sincerity," it would have been a simile, choice b.
- a. Both passages are basically concerned with a similar situation—life aboard a cutter. The author of Passage 1 sets a pleasurable tone in the first paragraph by describing the idyllic scene at Plymouth and the anchored yacht. He later describes the yacht as elegant, tasteful, and luxurious (line 18), and the smell of the food delightful (lines 23–24). In stark contrast, the boy narrator in Passage 2 begins the passage by describing the menacing façade of his uncle and the immediate reality check the boy receives when he steps aboard (lines 6–9). His description of the heat and smell below deck (lines 20–22), and the horrible food (lines 33–35), effectively sets the dark and oppressive tone of the passage. Together, these two very different descriptions prove that the reality of two seemingly similar situations can often be extremely different, choice a.
- b. The word berth, when used as a noun, often refers to the sleeping quarters aboard a boat or a train. In lines 39–43 the boy describes his berth as the place where he could stow [his] clothes, and at night string up [his] hammock.
For more practice on sports and leisure critical reading questions, review:
- Sports and Leisure Critical Reading Practice Exercises Set 1
- Sports and Leisure Critical Reading Practice Exercises Set 2
- Sports and Leisure Critical Reading Practice Exercises Set 3 You are here
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