We are all used to playing bingo, whatever the setting, for a bit of relaxation, fun, and the excitement of perhaps winning a bob or two. There is nothing better on these cool autumn evenings than being able to snuggle down in our favourite chair perhaps with a class of wine (or two!) in hand, log in and join the online community for a fun packed evening of bingo and chatter.
However not everyone plays the game for the usual reasons. There was an article in a national newspaper about a football player who is using bingo to help him towards a better grasp of the English language. It all sounds a little incredulous, but Anthony Martial, whose name you will recognise as Manchester United’s French striker, has turned to bingo to help him with the challenge of picking up the complexities of a language that is foreign to him. You can imagine how difficult it must be to communicate with his fellow players and trainers, not to mention his manager, when he doesn’t understand what is being said all around him.
So the person at the club who acts as his interpreter suggested that Anthony might find it an easier approach to get a grasp of the English names for our numbers first before moving on to more complicated sentences. Online bingo is the ideal way to do this; plenty of repetition with visual reinforcement. Many of you may just remember from your schooldays learning languages and finding it difficult. Bingo cards were used in our French class matching pictures with the spoken word. It added a bit of fun and excitement to what many found challenging. Learning a new language is not easy but any method that makes the whole process more palatable certainly has my vote.
The best and quickest way to pick up a new language is to live amongst it, which is why the school foreign exchange holidays work so well. Anthony has everything in his favour now hearing his second language being spoken all around him. He will probably continue to struggle for some time but his determination will be his greatest asset. His enthusiasm and energy on the field will need to be matched off the field if he is to progress enough to get involved in locker room conversations before the season is out.
Other footballers involved in gaming include Gerard Pique, Tomas Brolin and Teddy Sheringham. All have played poker at various stages in their career, sometimes to competition level. I expect that they try and replicate the excitement of playing football by playing poker; less energetic and relying more on mental agility than physical.
In the meantime bingo is Anthony’s second game of choice after football and if he perseveres with the language it won’t be long before he can join in the chat rooms too and appreciate the full online bingo experience. The entertainment aspect of the game will eventually outweigh the learning element and by then he might just be hooked like the rest of us.