What it was ...

  • Posted: Tuesday, July 15, 2014 6:25 a.m.

Their costumes were colorful, unlike anything I’d ever seen. Some wore cheerful wigs which resembled blue cotton candy. There was catchy music and more than once a certain samba replayed in my head. Superman and Wonder Woman sat together, apparently off duty at the moment, rejoicing like mere humans. Faces of ordinary folks were painted and flags were draped over shoulders to express one’s loyalty. The air was electric with joyful anticipation. Just attending the event invoked singing and dancing and bonding with strangers.

Commentators used phrases like “lovely pass” to commend an action and “chums” to designate team mates. Cards in bright colors were handed out for naughtiness. There was kissing and hugging and rolling in the grass. However, this behavior was neither naughty nor frowned upon but perfectly acceptable and even expected.


As the contest continued, arms dangled heavily as though devoid of use, unless of course one was attired in a blouse of contrasting color to one’s chums. In that case, the excessive use of arms and hands was joyfully celebrated. Loud whistles from opposing spectators indicated displeasure.

Occasionally random contestants would hurl themselves to the ground for no apparent reason and writhe in seemingly horrible pain. Once they were down for a sufficient amount of time, up they would pop with no ill effect. Occasionally a gang of stout fellows would run to the aid of the afflicted, placing them in large orange containers. It seems this transportation was reserved for the actual wounded as opposed to the pretend wounded. They could clearly tell the difference.

A clock was displayed but it was inaccurate. Rather than counting down to the minutes left in the contest, the incorrect clock counted upwards to a particular time known only to those familiar with the festivity. Members continued on, though time ticked upward and past the pre-ordained end. Apparently a mystery clock reigned elsewhere. Someone with true understanding of wasted minutes, probably of noble birth, exercised power and wisdom as he called for stoppage of the festivities once the proper time had elapsed. At the end of the event, grown men peeled sweat-soaked shirts from their bodies and presented them to one another as gifts to commemorate the special occasion.

In the immortal words of North Carolina’s favorite son, Andy Griffith, “What it was, was football!”

Make that fútbol!

One avid fan commented, “Some people say soccer’s a matter of life or death, but it isn’t. It’s much more important than that.”

As a fan of American football, I am counting down the days to opening season, which begins with the Hall of Fame game on Aug. 3. But I have to say… this whole soccer thing might just catch on.

Olé, Olé, Olé, Olé!

Lynna Clark lives in Salisbury.

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