Sports and Leisure Critical Reading Practice Exercises Set 1 (page 2)
Sports and Leisure Critical Reading
Questions 1–3 are based on the following passage.
In the following passage, the author attempts to define what separates a sport from a leisure activity.
The seemingly simple question of "what defines a sport?" has been the fodder for argument and conversation for years, among professional and armchair athletes alike. There seems to be no doubt that vigorous and highly competitive activities such as baseball, football, and soccer are truly "sports," but when the subject of other activities such as darts, chess, and shuffleboard is broached we find ourselves at the heart of a controversy.
If say, billiards, is not a sport, then what exactly is it? Those who would dispute it to be a sport would respond that it is a simple leisure activity. They would go on to claim a true sport first and foremost requires some form of physical exertion. More to the point, if a player does not break a sweat, what he or she plays is not a sport. Beyond that, more important criteria would be the need for decent hand-eye coordination, and the ever-present possibility of sustaining injury. Billiards only fits one of those specifications (hand-eye coordination), so according to the doubters, it is not a real sport.
To help resolve this dispute, the first text to consult would have to be the dictionary. According to one dictionary, a sport is defined as "a diversion" or a "recreation." Assuming one strictly adheres to the simple guidelines laid out in that definition, it would seem that almost any activity that provides enjoyment could be classified as a sport. And if, according to the dictionary, watching a sport on television is a sport itself, I guess that would make a couch potato an athlete. Play ball!
- The author's tone in this passage could be described as
- The word vigorous in line 3 most nearly means
- According to the criteria given in lines 11–14, all of the following would be considered a "true" sport EXCEPT
- race car driving.
- horse shoes.
Questions 4–8 are based on the following passage.
The following passage describes the Native American games that were predecessors to the modern sport of lacrosse.
The roots of the modern-day sport of lacrosse are found in tribal stick and ball games developed and played by many native North American tribes dating back as early as the fifteenth century. The Native American names for these games reflected the bellicose nature of those early contests, many of which went far beyond friendly recreational competition. For example, the Algonquin called their game Baggattaway, which meant, "they bump hips." The Cherokee Nation and the Six Tribes of the Iroquois called their sport Tewaarathon, which translated into "Little Brother of War." Rules and style of play differed from tribe to tribe and games could be played by as few as fifteen to as many as 1,000 men and women at a time. These matches could last for three days, beginning at dawn each day and ending at sunset. The goals could be specific trees or rocks, and were a few hundred yards to a few miles apart. Despite these differences, the sole object of every game was the same: to score goals by any means necessary. Serious injuries caused by blows from the heavy wooden sticks used in the games were not uncommon, and often expected. Not surprisingly, the Native Americans considered these precursors to today's lacrosse excellent battle preparation for young warriors, and games were often used to settle disputes between tribes without resorting to full-blown warfare.
For the Six Tribes of the Iroquois, certain matches of Tewaarathon held religious significance, as well. One of the most important gods the Iroquois worshipped was the Creator, Deganawidah. In Iroquois legend, the Creator united the Six Tribes into the one nation. Tewaarathon was played to please the Creator, and the competition was viewed as a recreation of the Iroquois Creation Story, where supernatural forces of good and evil battled each other in an epic struggle.
- In line 4, bellicose most closely means
- family minded.
- The passage describes the early versions of lacrosse as
- strictly regulated competitions.
- intense games played against the Pilgrims.
- serious and meaningful matches.
- played only by the best athletes selected from each tribe.
- friendly exhibitions.
- Which of the following titles would be the most appropriate for this passage?
- Little Brother of War
- Lacrosse: America's Most Violent Sport
- The Origins of the Modern Lacrosse Stick
- Deganawidah and the Six Tribes
- Hockey: the Little Brother of Lacrosse
- In line 15, the author's use of the phrase by any means necessary emphasizes the
- unpredictable nature of the game.
- mild nature of the game.
- violent nature of the game.
- fact that both women and men participated in the games.
- importance of scoring goals.
- The author's main purpose for writing this passage is to
- illustrate the differences between the early games and today's lacrosse.
- condemn the violent tactics often used by the Native American players.
- show how ancient games influenced many games played today.
- teach the reader about the Iroquois Creation Story.
- describe the importance of these games in Native American culture.
Questions 9–13 are based on the following passage.
The following passage is adapted from a critical commentary about commercialism in today's society.
Traditional body signage seems largely to have disappeared. Well, many of the old symbols and names are still around, of course, but they are part of the commercial range of options. Seeing someone in a Harvard or Oxford sweatshirt or a kilt or a military tie now communicates nothing at all significant about that person's life other than the personal choice of a particular consumer. Religious signs are still evocative, to be sure, but are far less common than they used to be. Why should this be? I suspect one reason may be that we have lost a sense of significant connection to the various things indicated by such signs. Proclaiming our high school or university or our athletic team or our community has a much lower priority nowadays, in part because we live such rapidly changing lives in a society marked by constant motion that the stability essential to confer significance on such signs has largely gone.
But we still must attach ourselves to something. Lacking the conviction that the traditional things matter, we turn to the last resort of the modern world: the market. Here there is a vast array of options, all equally meaningless in terms of traditional values, all equally important in identifying the one thing left to us for declaring our identity publicly, our fashion sense and disposable income. The market naturally manipulates the labels, making sure we keep purchasing what will most quickly declare us excellent consumers. If this year a Chicago Bulls jacket or Air Jordan shoes are so popular that we are prepared to spend our way into a trendy identity, then next year there will be something else.
- The main purpose of the passage is to
- discuss basketball's importance in today's fashions.
- relate the tribal history of tattoos.
- tell a story about the good old days.
- help the reader discover his or her own true identity.
- discuss commercialism's powerful influence upon personal identity.
- What does the author mean by the commercial range of options (line 3)?
- the variety of commercials on television and radio
- the numerous products available to today's consumer
- the ability to shop on the Internet
- let the buyer beware
- technology's impact upon the world
- In line 20, disposable income refers to
- recyclable goods.
- spending money.
- life savings.
- a donation to charity.
- The author would agree with all the following statements EXCEPT
- A person wearing a New York Yankees baseball hat is not necessarily a fan of the team or a resident of New York.
- Pride in our school or community is not as strong today as it was years ago.
- In today's society, being trendy is more important than keeping tradition.
- You can tell a lot about somebody by what they are wearing.
- The last resort of the modern world is the marketplace.
- Which statement best simplifies the author's point of view of today's society in lines 12–14?
- Times have changed.
- People's lives today are very similar to those of a generation ago.
- Fashion is very important in today's world.
- People today don't have proper nutrition.
- Life is short.
Questions 14–22 are based on the following passage.
The following passage is an excerpt from Jack London's The Cruise of the Snark. In this selection, London discusses his experience of learning to surf in Waikiki in the early 1900s.
A wave is a communicated agitation. The water that composes the body of a wave does not move. If it did, when a stone is thrown into a pond and the ripples spread away in an ever-widening circle, there would appear at the center an ever-increasing hole. No, the water that composes the body of a wave is stationary. Thus, you may watch a particular portion of the ocean's surface and you will see the same water rise and fall a thousand times to the agitation communicated by a thousand successive waves. Now imagine this communicated agitation moving shoreward. As the bottom shoals, the lower portion of the wave strikes land first and is stopped. But water is fluid, and the upper portion has not struck anything, wherefore it keeps on communicating its agitation, keeps on going. And when the top of the wave keeps on going, while the bottom of it lags behind, something is bound to happen. The bottom of the wave drops out from under and the top of the wave falls over, forward, and down, curling and cresting and raring as it does so. It is the bottom of a wave striking against the top of the land that is the cause of all surfs.
But the transformation from a smooth undulation to a breaker is not abrupt except where the bottom shoals abruptly. Say the bottom shoals gradually from a quarter of a mile to a mile, then an equal distance will be occupied by the transformation. Such a bottom is that off the beach of Waikiki, and it produces a splendid, surf-riding surf. One leaps upon the back of a breaker just as it begins to break, and stays on it as it continues to break all the way in to shore.
And now to the particular physics of surf-riding. Get out on a flat board, six feet long, two feet wide, and roughly oval in shape. Lie down upon it like a small boy on a coaster and paddle with your hands out to deep water, where the waves begin to crest. Lie out there quietly on the board. Sea after sea breaks before, behind, and under and over you, and rushes in to shore, leaving you behind. When a wave crests, it gets steeper. Imagine yourself, on your board, on the face of that steep slope. If it stood still, you would slide down just as a boy slides down a hill on his coaster. "But," you object, "the wave doesn't stand still." Very true, but the water composing the wave stands still, and there you have the secret. If ever you start sliding down the face of that wave, you'll keep on sliding and you'll never reach the bottom. Please don't laugh. The face of that wave may be only six feet, yet you can slide down it a quarter of a mile, or half a mile, and not reach the bottom. For, see, since a wave is only a communicated agitation or impetus, and since the water that composes a wave is changing every instant, new water is rising into the wave as fast as the wave travels. You slide down this new water, and yet remain in your old position on the wave, sliding down the still newer water that is rising and forming the wave. You slide precisely as fast as the wave travels. If it travels fifteen miles an hour, you slide fifteen miles an hour. Between you and shore stretches a quarter of mile of water. As the wave travels, this water obligingly heaps itself into the wave, gravity does the rest, and down you go, sliding the whole length of it. If you still cherish the notion, while sliding, that the water is moving with you, thrust your arms into it and attempt to paddle; you will find that you have to be remarkably quick to get a stroke, for that water is dropping astern just as fast as you are rushing ahead.
- The author compares surfing to
- an ever-increasing hole forming in the water.
- a chemistry experiment gone wrong.
- a boy sledding down a hill on a coaster.
- a transformation of time and space.
- flying through the air like a bird.
- All of the following questions can be answered based on information from the passage EXCEPT
- When a wave crests, it gets steeper.
- If a wave is moving at eight miles per hour, so is the surfer on that wave.
- A wave is constantly recomposing itself with new water.
- A flat board is the most popular type of surfboard.
- The conditions at Waikiki make are excellent for surfing.
- According to the author, why is Waikiki ideal for surfing?
- The weather is great and the water is warm.
- The waves break abruptly as they approach the shore.
- The waves at Waikiki are a communicated agitation.
- Waikiki has some of the biggest waves in the world.
- The waves break gradually as they approach the shore.
- The word shoals in line 9 refers to
- the sand kicked up as the waves break upon the beach.
- water becoming shallower as it approaches the shore.
- the steep cresting of a wave.
- the salty smell of the sea.
- water becoming deeper as you move away from the shore.
- What part of a wave is responsible for the forming of surf?
- the upper portion of the wave
- the lower portion of the wave
- the strongest part of the wave
- the trailing portion of the wave
- the roaring part of the wave.
- The word impetus in line 40 most nearly means
- a moving force.
- a serious obstacle.
- a slight annoyance.
- a slight hindrance.
- an area of very warm water.
- The author's description of the transformation of a smooth undulating wave to a breaking ave (lines 18–21) indicates that
- The distance of a wave's break is dependent upon the bottom of the approaching the shoreline.
- It is rare for a wave to break gradually.
- It common for a wave to break abruptly.
- The size of a wave has to do with its speed through the water.
- A wave only travels through deep water.
- The sentence A wave is a communicated agitation (line 1) is best defined by which statement?
- the roar of a wave sounds angry when it breaks upon the shore.
- waves are a display of the ocean's fury.
- a wave is a surging movement that travels through the water.
- the size of a wave can vary. the ocean has baffled sailors for centuries.
- the ocean has baffled sailors for centuries.
- What is the secret referred to in line 35?
- why a good wave for surfing must to be at least six feet tall
- A six-foot wave is between a quarter mile and a half mile in length.
- how a surfer can slide down a six-foot wave for a quarter of mile
- The smarter surfers paddle out to the deep water to catch the best waves.
- The water that composes a wave remains with the wave until it reaches the shore.
- b. The author's tone in this passage could only be described as light-hearted. The subject of the passage itself is not of a particularly serious nature, and the author's deduction in lines 21–23 that watching a sport on television would technically characterize couch potatoes as athletes is humorous and subtly mocks those who would argue over what is a "true" sport.
- e. Vigorous, as it is used in the passage, is an adjective that describes an activity carried out forcefully or energetically. In other words, a vigorous activity requires a physical exertion (line 11) that would cause one to break a sweat (line 12). This type of activity is best described as strenuous, choice e.
- d. Cheerleading (choice a), skiing (choice b), race car driving (choice c), and gymnastics (choice e) are all strenuous activities that require good hand-eye coordination and run the risk of injury. Playing horse shoes (choice d) only requires good hand-eye coordination.
- b. Bellicose most closely means warlike. There are two major clues in this passage to help you answer this question. The first clue lies in the translation of the name Tewaarathon, meaning "Little Brother of War." Another clue lies in lines 18–19, where the passage states that these games were excellent battle preparation for warriors.
- c. The answer to this question can be found in lines 17–20, as well as in the entire second paragraph. The passage states that the games played by the Native Americans were often substitutes for war, and from time to time the games held religious and spiritual significance. Don't be fooled by choice e; the Native Americans may have played friendly exhibition matches, but this is not discussed anywhere in the passage.
- a. "Little Brother of War" is the best choice for the title of this passage because, in the first paragraph, the games are described as fierce and warlike. Choice a is also the name of the original Iroquois game, which was the subject of the entire second paragraph. The other choices do not fit because they are unsupported by the passage, or describe only a small portion of the passage.
- c. The answer can be found in the two sentences that follow the phrase. The sentences state that the games were often highstakes substitutes for war, and it was not uncommon for players to suffer serious injuries at the hands (and sticks) of others. These statements describe the fierce nature of the games, and suggest that players would not hesitate to resort to violent tactics to score, by any means necessary. Choices d and e are true and mentioned in the passage, but they do not fit in context with the phrase.
- e. The author's primary purpose in writing this passage is to illustrate the importance of these games in Native American culture. The author does this by giving examples of the spiritual and peacekeeping significance of the games to the Native Americans. The passage does inform us that lacrosse evolved from these ancient games, but it does not specifically describe any aspect of modern lacrosse or any other sport, therefore choices a and c are incorrect. Choices b and d are both mentioned by the author, but they are not the main subjects of the passage, and nowhere in the passage does the author condone or condemn the violence of the games.
- e. The author's primary purpose in writing this passage is to discuss his belief that commercialism's strong presence in today's society strongly influences a person's view of his or her personal identity. A good illustration of this can be found on line 23–24, where the author states, we are prepared to spend our way into a trendy identity.
- b. The commercial range of options in line 3 is the numerous products available for purchase by today's consumer. Line 6 holds a clue to answering this question: The author refers to the modern practice of wearing old symbols such as a kilt as the personal choice of a particular consumer.
- b. The term disposable income refers to the specific amount of a person's income that is allotted as spending money. This is the only choice that makes sense in the context of the passage.
- d. The statement that one can tell a lot about somebody by what they are wearing is directly contradicted by the claim the author makes in lines 3–6: Seeing someone in a Harvard or Oxford sweatshirt or a kilt or a military tie now communicates nothing at all significant about that person's life other than the personal choice of a particular consumer.
- a. The author's point of view of today's society in lines 12–14 is that today's world is much smaller and more hectic than it used be, which makes it harder for people to put down solid roots and identify with a singular way of life. In short, times have changed.
- c. In line 27 the author states a surfer should lie upon a surfboard like a small boy on a coaster, and then goes on in lines 32–33 to say that the surfer slides down a wave just as a boy slides down a hill on his coaster.
- d. The question asks for the statement that cannot be answered based on information given in the passage. In lines 25–29, the author describes the shape and dimensions of a flat board, and tells the reader how to paddle and lie upon it. But nowhere in the passage does the author state that a flat board is the most popular type of surfboard.
- e. The answer to this question is found in lines 18–22. The author states that the bottom shoals gradually from a quarter of a mile to a mile toward the beach at Waikiki, producing a splendid surfriding surf.
- b. When the word shoal is used as a verb it usually means to become shallow (as in water) or to come to a shallow or less deep part of. Lines 9–10 state that as the wave approaches the shore the lower portion of the wave strikes land first and is stopped. If the sea bottom is rising, the water will therefore be not as deep, in other words—it will be shallower.
- b. The answer is explained in lines 9–17, and spelled out in lines 16–17: It is the bottom of a wave striking against the top of the land that is the cause of all surfs.
- a. As it is used in the passage, impetus most nearly means a moving force. In this case, a wave is a moving force through the water. If you did not know the correct definition, the best way to answer this question would be to replace impetus in the sentence with each of the given answer choices to see which one makes the most sense in context.
- a. The best approach to this question is to reread lines 18–21 for each answer choice to see which choice is directly supported by the given text. For this question you would not have to go far to find the answer: choice a quickly summarizes the text of those lines. All the other answer choices are unsupported or contradicted by the given text.
- c. Context clues are your best aid in answering this question, and an important context clue is given in lines 1 and 2. The author goes on to state that the water that composes the body of a wave is stationary, and gives the example of the thrown stone causing ripples in the water. The rock that is thrown is the cause of the agitation of the water. The ripples (or the waves) that surge away from that agitation are the communication of that agitation moving through the water. Therefore, choice c is the correct answer.
- c. In line 33, the author compares surfing to slid[ing] down a hill. But unlike a six-foot hill, a surfer can slide down a six-foot wave for more than a quarter of a mile without ever reaching the bottom. The author explains that this is possible because the water that composes the wave is, like a hill, standing still and new water is rising into the wave as fast as the wave travels, preventing the surfer from reaching the bottom (lines 41–43). So while it looks like a surfer is sliding along moving water, he or she is actually stationary on a wave as it moves through the water. That's the secret.
For more practice on sports and leisure critical reading questions, review:
- Sports and Leisure Critical Reading Practice Exercises Set 1 You are here
- Sports and Leisure Critical Reading Practice Exercises Set 2
- Sports and Leisure Critical Reading Practice Exercises Set 3
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