Alex talks about playing the world’s most popular sport in his country.
When did he start to like soccer?
What did he use to make the ball?
Was he a good player?
Why did he stop playing soccer?
Do people in Kenya call it soccer or football?
Todd: Alex, when you were little, what did you like to do?
Alex: When I was small and I was in junior high school we used to like playing soccer with my friends. Actually in Kenya, what’s different from other countries, we used to make our own soccer ball to play. So, it’s very easy.
Todd: Wow. How do you make the soccer ball?
Alex: We used to collect like plastic papers and bind them with string, around them to make something round. So it was like, you didn’t have to spend any money.
Todd: Wow, that’s ingeneous. That’s great. So were you a good soccer player?
Alex: Not really. I used to like playing soccer but I was not very good, actually to tell the truth.
Todd: Yeah, me too. I wasn’t a very good athlete. I mean I like sports but I was never any good. Um, so do you play soccer in Japan?
Alex: Sometimes, until last year when I was in school I still played soccer. Right now, actually I’m not playing anymore because I’m like busy.
Alex: Yeah. You can’t play soccer without a big group of people and everyone is busy right now so I’m not playing anymore.
Todd: Yeah, that’s a bummer. Like I always want to play sports but it’s hard as
you get older. When’s the last time you played soccer?
Alex: About one year ago. I think November of 199?,…2003, November.
Todd: OK. Actually in Kenya do you call it soccer or football?
Alex: In Kenya you call it football.
Todd: Football. I’m sorry.
Alex: Actually, I’ve been in Japan for sometime so I’m used to calling it soccer. In Kenya you call it football.
junior high school or used to
When I was in junior high school, I used to play soccer with my friends.
‘Junior high school’ is the school you go to before senior high school. It is usually for grades eight and nine and is frequently shortened to ‘junior high’. We use ‘used to’ to talk about something that was a repeated action or state in the past that is not true now. Notice the following:
- He was very popular in junior high school.
- He used to have problems talking to girls.
plastic papers or bind them
We used to collect plastic papers and bind them with string.
‘Plastic papers’ are papers that have been covered in plastic so they’re more durable. To ‘bind’ things together is to attach them to one another, in this case like a book. Notice the following:
- We need to make some plastic papers for the convention.
- Make sure to bind your notes so you don’t lose them.
That’s very ingenious of you to make your own ball.
An ‘ingenious’ solution is one that is clever, imaginative or resourceful. It is not a common thought or solution to a problem. Notice the following:
- She always has very ingenious ideas for new products.
- I think that is an ingenious plan.
to tell the truth
I was not very good at playing soccer actually, to tell the truth.
We add the phrase ‘to tell the truth’ when we want to make an honest statement that may not be very popular, but it is how we really feel. Notice the following:
- To tell the truth, this isn’t the best way to solve the problem.
- I don’t think you would be the best person for the job, to tell the truth.
It’s a bummer that you can’t play anymore because everyone’s busy.
We use ‘it’s a bummer’ as mild slang to mean ‘it’s a disappointment’, ‘it’s sad’ or ‘it’s terrible.’ Notice the following:
- It was a real bummer that it rained every day of vacation, but we had fun anyway.
- It’s a bummer that you broke your ankle and can’t play soccer this year.