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Little League World Series Brings a World of Fun Each Year to Williamsport


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Welcome to AMERICAN MOSAIC in VOA Special English.

I'm Doug Johnson. On our show this week:

We listen to music from the television movie "High School Musical Two" …

Answer a question about buying a car in the United States …

And report about the worldwide baseball program called Little League.

Little League

Last month, an American baseball team from the state of Georgia defeated a team from Tokyo, Japan, to win the Little League World Series.  Children of all ages in more than one hundred countries around the world play in more than seven thousand Little League programs.  Barbara Klein has more.

Little League began in the state of Pennsylvania in nineteen thirty-nine. It was the result of efforts by a man named Carl Stotz who lived in the small city of Williamsport.  He developed the first rules for a summer boys' baseball program.

The teams were all from Williamsport.  The first Little League game was played on June sixth, nineteen thirty-nine.  The program began to expand to nearby areas, then to other parts of the country.  A team from Williamsport, the Maynard Midgets, won the first Little League World Series in nineteen forty-seven.  Then the organization became international.  Canadian children began playing Little League baseball in nineteen fifty-one.

In nineteen fifty-seven, a team from Monterrey, Mexico became the first team from outside the United States to win the Little League World Series. Since then, teams from Japan, South Korea and Venezuela have also won the World Series.

All the Little League World Series games have been played in Williamsport.  The games are no longer for boys only. Girls can also take part in Little League. And the organization has added softball to its programs.

The organization notes that many famous professional athletes played Little League Baseball when they were young.  One is Cal Ripken, who recently became a member of the American Baseball Hall of Fame. Others grew up to play American football, like Troy Aikman, an award-winning former quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys.

Actor Danny DeVito played in Little League.  So did writer John Grisham, United States Senator Joseph Lieberman and former Secretary of Defense William Cohen.  And we cannot leave out the only former Little League player to become president of the United States. As a boy, George W. Bush played catcher on a Little League team in Midland, Texas.

Buying A Car

Our VOA listener question this week comes from Vietnam. Misan Ho wants to know if it is possible for a recent college graduate to own a house and a car.

Many American college graduates are able to find a job and begin to earn money quickly. However, houses and apartments in the United States are usually too costly to buy right away. Instead of buying a house, most recent college graduates rent an apartment with roommates.

However, many college graduates are able to buy their own cars. They may need a car to travel to their jobs.

Their first car will probably be a used car because they cost much less than new ones. The prices of used cars can be very different, depending on the kind of car, how old it is and how well it works. A small, older car costs much less than a large, newer one.  For example, the average price for a used nineteen ninety-nine Honda Civic is about eight thousand dollars. However, the average price for a used two thousand seven Ford Explorer is about twenty-five thousand dollars.

There are several ways to find used cars. Places that sell new cars usually have used cars for sale as well. The car dealerships get these used cars from people who trade them in for new cars. These cars might cost more than other used cars, but they are more likely to work well. Also, many dealers can promise that the car will work for a period of time or they will fix it for free.

Some people buy a used car directly from the owner. Car owners advertise these cars for sale over the Internet or in the newspaper. It may cost less to buy a car from the owner, but it can also be a bigger risk.

Before you decide to buy any used car, it is a good idea to make sure it works well. You should take the car for a test drive. Also, you should get a professional car mechanic to inspect the car.  And you should make sure that the car has all of the required legal documents. There are many good used cars available for sale. You just might have to shop around.

High School Musical 2, 3 ...

The top selling record album in the United States last year was from the television movie "High School Musical."  Reports say the movie has earned one hundred million dollars. People in one hundred other countries have seen it.  That success led the Disney Company to plan more "High School Musical" movies.

The second movie was shown for the first time on American television last month. Reports say seventeen million people watched.  That makes "High School Musical Two" the most watched show ever on an American cable television network. Faith Lapidus tells us about it.

"High School Musical" is about two American teenagers who try to get parts in the school play and learn about themselves in the process.  "High School Musical Two" is about those students and their friends during summer vacation.  At the start of the show, they sing about what they expect.

(MUSIC: "What Time Is It?")

The story centers around a high school basketball player named Troy. He is attracted to a rich girl named Sharpay and forgets about his other friends, including his girlfriend Gabriella. But events force him to reconsider and decide what values are important to him. Zac Efron plays Troy. He sings about the problem in the song "Bet On It":

The movies are especially popular with girls from ages nine to fourteen. Their parents approve of the movies as well. They say the films are fun and send good messages to kids.

The Disney Company is already preparing for "High School Musical Three" to be released in movie theaters next year.  But now, we leave you with another song from "High School Musical Two."  It is called "All For One."

I'm Doug Johnson.  I hope you enjoyed our program today.  It was written by Erin Braswell and Nancy Steinbach.  Caty Weaver was our producer. To read the text of this program and download audio, go to our Web site, voaspecialenglish.com.

Send your questions about American life to mosaic@voanews.com.  Please include your full name and mailing address.  Or write to AMERICAN MOSAIC, VOA Special English, Washington, D.C., two-zero-two-three-seven, U.S.A.

Join us again next week for AMERICAN MOSAIC, VOA's radio magazine in Special English.


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Source: Little League World Series Brings a World of Fun Each Year to Williamsport
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