A Curious Entertainment

I’ve heard a lot about “The World Cup” over the last few weeks, and it sounds like a bit of a hoot, so I thought I’d give it a go last night, especially as our national team were playing. They seem like a fine bunch of lads according to the papers, upstanding, moral and intelligent.

And do you, know, I enjoyed it. It’s a much more subtle game than I had anticipated, and it took me a while to figure out the gameplay and scoring. Here’s my understanding of it – please do let me know if I’ve got anything wrong.

There are two teams of ten men, and two stewards or “goal keepers”, whose job is to tend to a wooden frame with a net strung across it. The purpose of the game is to get a ball close to the net without it going in – if there is a danger of this happening, then the “goal keepers” are on hand to save the day. These two gentlemen, resplendent in purple and yellow, did sterling service, and the unqualified disaster of the ball touching the net remained unfulfilled.

To make the job more difficult for the players, the ball itself seems to be under some form of radio control, perhaps directed by the flag-wielding opposition lined up around the arena. Certainly, the players seemed to have problems in controlling the ball, and seemed to be forever tripping over it or missing it entirely.

The game ended in a perfect nothing to nothing score, with which everyone must have been very pleased. The game seems to be an enactment of the quest for nirvana, or nothingness, a struggle that ends with a greater understanding of the void in which we all must toil. The ongoing musical accompaniment by a troupe of trumpeters added a further meditative air to proceedings.

It was, on the whole, a most relaxing and thoughtful way to spend a couple of hours. It makes a refreshing change from the game it most resembled, “foot ball”, with much less emphasis on the Western bias towards competitiveness and “winning”.


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Writer. Film-maker. Cartoonist. Cook. Lover.

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