Take a deep breath and hold it. Hold, hold, ready, three, exhale. Let your eyes relax and let your body float. Imagine yourself floating, floating down, right through the chair. As you concentrate on the floating, Iím going to concentrate on your left arm and hand. Your left hand will lift upward, your left elbow bend, your forearm float into an upright position. Now, your hand in this upright position becomes, for you, a signal to enter a state of meditation. Are you for your body or are you not? Are you for living or are you not? Now, of course, if you are not for living, keep on smoking, arrange for a cremation and end it all in smoke.
Yes, thatís just one of the ways to give up smoking - through hypnosis and meditation. Millions of smokers all over the world are trying to fight the war against nicotine, but in the United States, itís become a battle. Even if you want to carry on smoking, itís almost impossible - the anti-smoking lobby is just too strong. We spoke to some air hostesses on a plane in California, and ask them what they felt about dividing the smokers from the non-smokers:
- Do you think itís right to ostracise people because they smoke, to put them in separate parts of restaurants or in aeroplanes?
- I feel that itís a thing to please everyone (everybody, thatís right ). It makes everybody feel more comfortable. And when we first started on the airlines we had maybe a couple of rows of non-smokers, which is maybe 10 per cent of the aeroplane. Now itís like, 75 per cent. And usually where, where we have the smokers, thatís where people drink also. I donít know why, but, usually, if you have a cigarette in your hand, thereís drinking also. When we come to those non-smoking areas we usually just serve soft drinks and very seldom do we have a lot of drinkers up in that area.
- What is happening in the States?
- Theyíre just not allowing you to smoke, really, is what it comes down to. Theyíre doing everything for you not to smoke.
- California seems to be on the avant-garde of non-smoking regulations. Do you think theyíre going too far? Where are the places that you can smoke, now?
- You know, I respect what they are doing. I think there should be non-smoking and smoking sections. Iím in favour of that. If you know ahead of time itís a non-smoking restaurant, thatís fine; you can choose to go or not to go. But even in, even in restaurants where they, they have non-smoking and smoking sections, if youíre in the smoking section, the people are complaining.
And now back to that aeroplane, where something unexpected was going on:
Well, suddenly, the plane nearly went up in smoke ! The non-smoking section had been overbooked, so some of the non-smokers were moved into the smoking section - where, of course, they began to complain about the smoke. The smokers stuck up for their rights, and there was nearly a riot. Was this a typical scene, we wondered?
The general trend is that the non-smokers are very vehement, very adamant. What you witnessed today is the exact opposite of what we normally see. Uh, non-smokers tend to scream, yell, jump up and down, pound their chests, beat on the floor and scream about their rights to live. Smoking is a real big issue in the US nowadays. It is, itís a fighting issue. The smokersí rights groups, the we-deserve-clean-air-to-breathe groups are adamant; they are overpowering, they are, and theyíre winning. And theyíre winning because they scream real loud.
Going back to our passengers, one gentleman smoker explained his attitude. I must say it made me want to give up smoking immediately. They do say that smoking damages the brain cells ...
- Are you a smoker?
- Yes, I am.
- Do you feel made to feel guilty about smoking in American society?
- Well, can you simplify that a little bit ? What do you mean, really?
- When youíre with a crowd of your friends, and theyíre non-smokers, do you feel guilty about lighting up?
- Usually I donít. If Iím with my friends that donít smoke, I donít smoke. You know, if Iím around people that smoke, you know, my friends that smoke, I will smoke a lot.
- Do you think on the whole Americans are very conscious about smoking and non-smoking?
- What do you mean conscious?
Another smoker wanted to give up, but just couldnít find that perfect moment:
- Do you think you will give up smoking one day?
- What do you think is going to make you make that decision ?/
- Nothingís going to make me make that decision. Itís just when I feel itís convenient in my life to tackle.
(from English Super Plus 2, by H.Sommers, V.Vermes)
Children in sport
IHello and welcome to todayís ĎYou & Yoursí. On todayís problem we look at children who are trying to be champions in the world of sport, and the pressures they can be under to win, win, win. Now I spoke to Allan Baker, the former British Athletics coach, and he had this to say.
A.B.Well, the problem is that you want to find these children at quite a young age, to train them and motivate them as early as possible. Umm Ö at that age they donít have social problems, you know, they donít have boyfriends or girlfriends, so they give their sport the whole of their life. Umm, but theyíre so young that they can lose their childhood, and they are adults before theyíre 16. But of course theyíre not adults at all. Physically they can be quite developed, but emotionally theyíre still children. Everybodyís looking for the new young star of the future, because thereís a lot of money to be earned.
ITennis is one of the sports where youngsters can play against their elders with more than a chance of success. In America there are tennis schools which accept children from as young as 9. So from the age of 9 a boy or a girl is playing tennis for four or five hours every day, and doing ordinary school work around that. I spoke to the team manager of the English Lawn Tennis Association, Pam de Gruchy.
P.G.You see weíve already seen two 14-year-old American girls, thatís Tracy Austin and Andrea Jaeger, playing at Wimbledon, and now, both at 18, they are now already showing the pressures on their bodies and their minds, and people are beginning to question whether this is a good thing for children. A 14-year-old just canít cope with the pressures of Wimbledon, the tournament, the Wimbledon crowds,and thepress reporters. Well, I say to my girls,í Stay at home, stay at school, do the things that teenagers like doing. If you like swimming, well swim; if you like going to dances, just go!í And if when theyíre older theyíd really like to be professional tennis player, well, theyíll be a little older than the Americans, but theyíll be better people for it, of that Iím perfectly sure.
IPam de Grushy thinks that young players shouldnít be allowed to become professionals until the age of 17 or 18 at least. I asked her what was responsible for the pressures on the young players - was it the money that can be earned, the parents, or perhaps the children themselves?
P.G.Oh no, itís the parents, without a shadow of a doubt. They want to push their children. I get letters from parents saying,í My little Johnny enjoys playing tennis all day, and heíd like to learn only that and be trained by a professional coachí, and quite frankly I just donít believe it.
IBut what about the youngsters themselves? Robert, a 100-metre and 200-metre runner gave me an idea of his training programme, and his own very simple way of avoiding trouble.
R.Well I train under the coach for three days a week, and uhm Ö and Ö then decide how much running to do. If Iíve trained hard, well then maybe I run five miles, you know, if not so much, then eight miles. Well, of course, Iíd like to go to the next Olympics and represent Great Britain, and of course Iíd like to win a gold, but there are lots of other things I like doing with my life too. Uhm, I, I, play in a rock group and Iím also a keen photographer. Well, I suppose for me the most important thing is enjoyment. If, if you win, youíre happy, and if you lose, itís the same. I mean if you start getting upset every time you lose, I think itís time to stop.
IThe sport stars of tomorrow, and good luck to them.
(from Headway Intermediate, by J. and L.Soars. Unit 2)