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Unit 14 The Confidence Game. By Pat Carr. Unit Overview. In this unit you will :  Read about the right sportsmanship Learn to guess meanings of words from word-formation Take a test in fast reading Read the story of a girl who fought to success

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Unit 14 The Confidence Game

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unit overview
Unit Overview

In this unit you will : 

  • Read about the right sportsmanship Learn to guess meanings of words from word-formation
  • Take a test in fast reading
  • Read the story of a girl who fought to success
  • Read more materials about the importance of self-confidence
About the author:

Pat Carr was born in Dublin 1949,one of a family of four children. He developed a religious outlook during childhood and this stayed with him during adulthood, providing him with great support during what he terms an unbalanced emotional development which led him to have recourse to the services of psychiatry for over 30 years.

language notes
Language notes:

1. My confidence started to disappear the day Angela Brady showed up at the pool for workout.


Show up means to arrive as expected or arranged.

2 .....and now I was actually in the running to compete at the Nationals.


In the running means having some hope of winning.

3. I stroked harder, but I could still feel someone closing in on me. I soon felt a light touch on my foot.


Close in on means to surround gradually and usually from all sides, especially in a threatening way.

4. In swim workouts, it's one of the rules that when a teammate taps your foot you move to the right to let that swimmer go ahead of you.


Note that the that-clause after the word rule is in the subjunctive mood.

5. How do you psych yourself up for a race?


Psych somebody up means to make (especially oneself) keen and ready.

1.Discuss sportswomanship in Angela and Tobi's story.

According to their coach, sportswomanship refers to the fact that one athlete accepts a better athlete in a spirit of friendly competition. As Toby realized that Angela had some advantages over her, she began to behave unsatisfactorily. She came to the training late and even cheated in the training, so the coach wanted to warn her that when one athlete performed better than her, what she should do was to learn from her rather than be jealous.

2. What is meant by the confidence game?

In the text, confidence game refers to how one makes oneself ready for something. In Tobi's opinion, she played confidence game when she was to take part in a race. Before the race really started, Tobi thought about all the good things she had done in the previous race and regarded herself as the best swimmer. This was a way for Tobi to give encouragement to herself and to help her get rid of nervousness before race. This game proved to be very effective when Angela learned to play it with the help of Tobi.

3. If someone does better than you in your class, how would you act towards him or her?

Learn from him or her and try to improve myself.

About Naumburg Competition:

Established in 1926, the Naumburg International Competitions have been described by the New York Times as "in its quite way the most prestigious of them all." The competitions are organized by the Walter W.Naumburg Foundation, which was funded by Mr. Walter Naumburg. Mr.Naumburg's desire was to assist the young gifted musician in America. It was his firm belief that such competitions were not only for the benefit of new stars, but very much for those talented young artists who would become prime movers in the development of the highest standards of musical excellence throughout America. The competition is held every year and involves different musical instruments such as cello, violin, piano.

language notes9
Language notes:

1. I walked up Amsterdam Avenue because I didn't want to see anybody, didn't want to run into anybody, didn't want anyone to ask what I was doing.


Run into means to meet someone by chance.

2. I even talked Miss Delay into giving my lesson at night.


Talk somebody into doing something means to persuade somebody to do something.

3. I was nuts.


Here nuts is used as an adjective and is often used informally. In this sentence it means mad or crazy.

4. I was completely obsessed with getting back into shape, with doing well in this competition.


Be obsessed with means to completely fill the mind of somebody so that no attention is given to other matters.

5. "Nadja, you've dedicated yourself to this thing. Ready or not, do your best."

("娜德佳,你已经为此竭尽全力了。准备好也罢, 没准备好也罢,拿出你的最佳状态。")

Dedicate oneself to something means to give oneself completely to a particular cause, purpose, or action or to devote oneself to something.

6. She said I was so tense, I was beyond shaking.


This sentence means that I was so nervous and attentive that I couldn't shake.

1. What does self-confidence have to do with Nadja's success?

It was just through self-confidence that Nadja made her success. Nadja knew that she played the Tchaikovsky very well, but she chose to play the Prokofiev, which she had never played onstage before, in the semifinals, because she wanted to save the Tchaikovsky for the finals. Till this time, we know that Nadja was confident about her performance. Therefore, we may see that self-confidence plays a very important role in making success.

2. Besides self-confidence, what personal qualities contributed to Nadja's success ?

Of course, only self-confidence is not sufficient to make one successful. Besides self-confidence in Nadja, we may perceive another good quality of her, that is perseverance. In order to win in the competition, Nadja trained very tenaciously. She even lived like a hermit; she ate very badly. It was just her spirit of perseverance that led her to success.