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Nov 9, 2015

American football is an autumn sport here in the U.S. The season goes from September until December approximately. Out of my three sons, only my youngest likes to play it; infact, he loves it. His last game was a couple of weeks ago, as middle schoolers have a short season. We went to the local High School stadium, and sat with a small crowd to watch the game. It was a chilly day, so most people had brought blankets and warm coats. I am more accustomed to football (soccer) and rugby, and so, it has taken me a while(1) to get used to the stopping and starting that take place in American football. The sport was based on rugby when it was first invented, but evolved during the 1870's into what it is today. Here, in the U.S, it is called 'football'; they call 'football' 'soccer' to distinguish between(2) the two. In order for a team to win it has to, first, have possession of the ball, and then advance into the opposing team's end zone. A 'touchdown' is the term used for a 'goal', just as in rugby we say a 'try'. There are also goal posts that the ball can be kicked through. So, you can see how American football is a hybrid of rugby. My son's team ended up(3) losing, but it was a great game. A few times the possession of the ball changed from one team to the other, and that is always exciting. The sport is the most popular in the country, and the amount of children who play it increases each year. It's following on television is also huge, with last year's Superbowl having 114 million American viewers.

1. ' It takes a while / it has taken (a person) a while to + verb'  is a very common expression which shows how time is needed in order to accomplish something.

a. It takes a while to get onto the highway because the traffic in town is bad.

b. It takes me a while to wake up in the morning!

 2. 'To distinguish between' is similar to saying 'to show/tell the difference between' when contrasting two things.

a. We can only distinguish between the twins when they are wearing different clothes! / We can only tell the difference between the twins ....

*Note 'to tell the difference' is used when we figure out/ calculate the difference, whereas 'to show' the difference is used when you are teaching or explaining what the difference is.

b. Can you distinguish between your father's voice and your grandfather's?

3. 'They ended up losing..' is a very natural sounding way of saying 'the end result was that they lost'. You could simply say 'they lost' of course, but 'they ended up' refers back to all the effort and time that went into their activity.

a. We won eight out of ten matches and ended up going to the state competition!

b. My car broke down and I missed the bus. My bicycle had a flat tire, so I ended up walking to work.

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