2 SPORTS – podcast episode 2 – transcript


Tonight! New York Giants VS New England Patriots.

Let’s listen to our episode number 2 about SPORTS in the USA.

As usual, you can find it on iTunes or here:


And here’s the transcript!  Enjoy!  Marta


M – Well today we’re going to talk about SPORTS !

M – First of all, Cindy, let me tell you one thing that I noticed about team sports in the States: there are 4 main team sports. Not one but F o u r !

C – Yes, Basketball, Baseball , Hockey and Football.

M – And when you mention Football you don’t mean European Football that is soccer to Americans, do you?

C – No, soccer has grown in The States, but it still doesn’t carry the fan base it holds in the rest of the world.

M – So 4 team sports that have an incredible number of fans.

C – That’s possible because the championships are played throughout the year, so the sporting seasons don’t overlap each other much, giving each sport its own season. For example Major League Baseball runs roughly April through October, while American Football the NFL (National Football League) is played September through January.

M – …..ending with America’s biggest TV sport event.

C – Yes, the famous Super Bowl ! Everyone watches the Super Bowl game and of course the Half Time show! Friends and family gather in pubs or at home to watch. Great food is prepared. Rivalries intensify. Truthfully it’s mainly about food and breaking your friend’s balls on facebook. It’s a lot of fun.

M – Well Maybe you should tell our listeners about the The Half Time Show …

C – It’s a concert, a performance given during the break between the second and third quarter of the game. Great performances, artists like Bruce Springsteen, U2, The Rolling Stones, Michael Jackson… This year we saw The Black Eved Peas Usher and Slash from my personal favorite Guns and Roses.

The Super Bowl is always an exciting event. The TV commercials are famous too. Advertisers pay extraordinary amounts of money for Super Bowl air time. Last year 30 seconds of advertising time was expected to cost 2.6 million US dollars.

You know, we may say that in general football attracts more television viewers than baseball, although baseball attracts significantly more ticket sales due to its much longer schedule.

M – And there are also Basketball and Hockey, as well. (NHL) National Hockey League runs October though April and the NBA National Basketball Association November through April.

C – Hockey is more popular in the colder climates of the northern United States such as New England and in the Midwest. And our neighbors in Canada are crazy about Hockey! But that’s a topic for another show.

M – I can tell you for sure that Hockey is very popular in Michigan, I was there a couple of years ago during the Stanley Cup finals and I was supposed to perform a live concert, because you know I’m a singer, well, that night I had to wait for the match to be over before the music could start, because everyone was glued to the TV screen!

C – Awesome!! Isn’t that what sport is about? Supporting your favorite team . Going crazy when they win or lose? Wearing those T-shirts proudly, cheering on your heroes and supporting them when they’re down. It’s a great atmosphere. It really brings family and friends together, and it even unites countries.

M – Do you know what I like about American sports culture?

C – What’s that?

M – You can turn any match into great entertainment. When I went to a Baseball game in Miami , for example, I was fascinated by the whole thing. Starting from the tailgate parties in the parking lot before the game..

C – Oh, wait a minute, Marta, let’s explain tailgate parties. A tailgate party is a pic-nic, a pic-nic in the parking lot before the game.

M – And after that there was the national anthem to be sung all together, do you know that? “…the land of the free and the home of the brave!!!”

C – You’re awesome.

M – And then the fireworks, the cheerleaders, there even was a concert at the end of the game…

C – I mean, you can spend a whole night partying with your friends and family. Marta, was there any baseball being played somewhere between the barbecue and the concert ?

M – Yes, and do you know where the fun began?

C – Where?

M – With the parking attendant asking me how many people usually attend the baseball game of my local team in the little town I am from in Italy.

C – A little different, uh?

M – And I answered “ 15” and he asked “thousand” ? And I said : ‘No, fifteen. Period.’

C – Well, the parking attendant would have expected at least 15 hundred.

M – Yes, actually that’s a good point about numbers for our listeners, watch out, you can say one thousand and five hundred or 15 hundred. That’s the same. (1500)

C – Yes, so you had a great time at the game?

M – Yes, that’s America, always entertaining.

C – And speaking of entertainment, how about sports and Hollywood? Can you think of any films centered around one of these sports?

M – “Space Jam” about Basketball starring Michael Jordan, or “Field of dreams” about baseball.

C – Do you remember “Jerry Maguire” with Tom Cruise and Cuba Gooding Jr ? –Show me the money!!

M – And “Any given Sunday” or “Leatherheads” both about football.

C – Or “The Longest Yard” with Adam Sandler. Love that movie. It was a remake of a 1974 Burt Reynolds film. Oh, and “The Blind Side”.

M – “The Blind Side”, that makes me think of another aspect of American sports that I noticed.

C – That’s true.

M – High Schools and Colleges are equipped with fields and arenas and gymnasiums … teams and championships are nearly as important as national ones. Just think of the NCAA .

C – The National Collegiate Athletic Association. Marta, I live in The States just outside of Chapel Hill, North Carolina home of the University of North Carolina Tar Heels basketball team. And the Tar Heels feel it is their birthright to be part of the final four and go on to win the ACC tournament, the Altantic Coast Conference. College basketball is taken very seriously in North Carolina where many NBA players first started out , Michael Jordan for one. Gifted high school athletes who make an impression are sometimes sought-after at the college level and then have a good chance to continue their career in the NBA or NFL.

M – You start a rookie and you become – through hard work, study, dedication and determination – a champion. By the way Cindy, how would you explain the word “rookie” to our listeners .

C – A rookie is a beginner, someone who is in their first year of something, not necessarily sport. You can be a rookie mum, if it’s your first child and everything is new to you.

M – Or you can be a rookie English student !

C – Yes, you know what? It’s amazing how sports are part of our everyday life. We use a lot of idioms derived from sports. For example, when you asked me to do this podcast about sports I thought: Marta you are really barking up the wrong tree with this one. It’s a long shot, I know nothing about sports. I felt like I was behind the 8 ball. But you’re calling the shots. So I thought it’s time to fish or cut bait. The cards are stacked against me but I’m gonna get into full swing, keep my eye on the ball and hit a home run.

M – Wow, Cindy, slow down, you used a whole lot of idioms, I guess we need to go through them with our listeners. So, first of all you said: you are barking up the wrong tree.

C- That’s a great one, isn’t it? This is a hunting reference, referring to the hunter and his confused dog who has mistakenly led the sportsmen to the wrong tree. So if I go to the bakery for example and ask for a pound of sausage I’m barking up the wrong tree.

M – All right that’s clear now. Then you said : It’s a long shot. What does that mean?

C – If you bet on a horse that is unlikely to win, that’s a long shot. It’s doubtful that you will win the bet. If you apply for a job that you’re seriously underqualified for, that’s a long shot.

M – Ok. How about : To be behind the 8 ball ?

C – It means to feel under pressure. It’s a reference to shooting pool, billiards. For example, at school, if you have a lot of exams coming up, you feel under pressure and behind the 8 ball.

M – All right. Then you said: you’re calling the shots.

C – That means : You’re the boss.

M – Oh, thank you!

C – You’re the referee of the game. When I was a kid, my father called the shots in my family, he was the boss.

M – Clear. Now that one was interesting: It’s time to fish or cut bait.

C – I love this! This is a reference to fishing, it means to get serious, stop wasting time, do the job or go home, just like a fisherman who has spent his day waiting for a fish to bite. He must make the decision to continue on fishing or cut his line and go home. An example could be a boy who really likes a girl but he’s afraid to ask her out on a date. There would be a time where he has to fish or cut bait. Ask her out or give up the dream.

M – What about : The cards are stacked against me but I’m gonna get into full swing.

C – It’s like the odds are not in your favour but you’re gonna go for it and make the best of it. Get into full swing, means to give it your all and be enthusiastic. It can also be used for parties: the party was in full swing and everyone was having a great time!

M – Then we had: Keep my eye on the ball and hit a home run.

C.- Both baseball references : keep your eye on the ball means stay focused and hit a home run means to succeed.

M – Ok. Well, now you’d better repeat it all for our listeners, now they can understand you.

C – I said : when you asked me to do this podcast about sports I thought: Marta you are really barking up the wrong tree with this one. It’s a long shot, I know nothing about sports. I felt like I was behind the 8 ball. But you’re calling the shots. So I thought it’s time to fish or cut bait. The cards are stacked against me but I’m gonna get into full swing, keep my eye on the ball and hit a home run.

M – All right, Cindy, now let’s stay focused on sports idioms and keep the ball rolling, that means keep the conversation moving. I have a few idioms that refer to the boxing world.

C – Oh great, we haven’t talked about boxing yet.

M – To hit below the belt, that is an illegal move, so it means to act unfairly.

C – Arguments for example may become heated and angry words are hurled at each other, you may say something really hurtful, that’s hitting below the belt.

M – Another one: Saved by the bell, the end of the round saves the boxer from defeat, so it means to be saved from a situation that you don’t like because you run out of time.

C – At school, if the bell rings and the class is over before it’s your turn to speak, you’re saved by the bell.

M – And : Knockout. If I say “she’s a knockout” that’s a hell of a compliment, isn’t it?

C – You’re a knockout, Marta.

M – Thank you, you too!

C – It means she’s stunningly attractive, she knocks men out with her beauty, she makes them weak in the knees.

M – What else? Throw in the towel, that signals the end of the match, so you admit defeat, you surrender.

C – This podcast is getting more and more difficult for our listeners to understand, let’s hope that they don’t throw in the towel and give up on us.

M – No, guys, hang in there, we’re almost finished here anyway. But as a very famous baseball player once said “it ain’t over till it’s over”

C – oh, Yogi Berra wasn’t it? He’s almost more famous for his Yogiisms than he was for his amazing baseball career.

M – “…and baby it ain’t over till it’s over”

C – Lenny Kravitz, right? Fantastic!

M – All right. Before we go, let me remind you that you can find the transcription of this podcast including all these sport idioms on martainnocenti.com

Well thanks for joining us everyone, and remember to keep your eye on the ball, and your ball is -of course- your English lessons.

C – Are we finished ?

M – I guess so.

C – Oh, saved by the bell.

M – Cindy, are you throwing in the towel ?

C- no, I think we did a great job and kept the ball rolling and for two rookies I think it was a knockout performance!

M – It was.

C – Thanks everyone, bye bye!….

M – Bye-bye! See you next time!


to BE GLUED TO THE TV SCREEN  :   to be stuck on a TV program

TAILGATE PARTY  :   a picnic in the parking lot before the game is played.

NATIONAL ANTHEM  :  the official national song of a country

1500  :   15 HUNDRED    or   1 thousand 5 hundred.

ROOKIE  :   a beginner



– you are barking up the wrong tree

– it’s a long shot

– to be behind the 8 ball

– you are calling the shots

– it’s time to fish or cut bait

– I’m gonna get into full swing

– keep my eye on the ball

– hit a home run

– keep the ball rolling

– to hit below the belt

– saved by the bell

– to be a knockout

– throw in the towel

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