Colombia played against Greece at 11:00 am. local time and the city where I live Envigado, which is part of the metropolitan area of Medellin almost ground to a halt. I wish the city were always so quiet and easy to traverse as it would make living here a much more pleasurable experience. As my students who have English class with me on Saturday wanted to watch the match I didn’t have any classes during that time and I too could watch it.
Colombia came out as clear winners beating Greece 3-0. Each goal was greeted with jubilant shouts which echoed around the buildings and bars, and the final whistle led to spontaneous celebrations across the city. I’m sure it was the same in other parts of the country. There were fireworks, people driving around in their cars, blowing their horns and waving the Colombian flag out of the windows, and the city remained in a carnival mood all day. Anyone visiting from another country would be forgiven for thinking that Colombia had probably won the world cup rather than just the opening game.
The following day was the voting to elect the President and this was won by the current occupant Juan Manuel Santos. I think for the majority of the population the World Cup took preference over the elections, however, those who supported Santos, were able to add to their jubilancy and extend the celebratory spirit even further.
Football has a long history, and the name itself refers to different games depending on the country you are in. For example, I believe that in North America the word football usually refers to American football and that they use the word soccer for the game that is being played in Brazil at the moment.
In Britain we use both words, football and soccer, to refer to the same game, but we also have rugby football which is separated into two branches of rugby union and rugby league and which have different rules. There are also Australian Rules football, Canadian football and Gaelic Football. The correct name for the game most of us know and consider as being football is association football.
The Romans played a game called Harpastum which was probably adapted from the Greek game Espiskyros. Then in China there was the game called Cuju which was a form of exercise from a military manual dating back to the third and second centuries BC. Variations of Cuju spread to Japan and Korea where they were called Kemari and chuk-guk.
There was also a game played by the Inuit Eskimos in Greenland called Aqsaqtuk which was played on ice. Bearing in mind how easily some football players fall to the ground these days looking for free kicks, penalties or in an attempt to get a player from the opposing team sent off, I can’t imagine how it would be if they played on ice.
These, and other variations of the game of football, may well go back a long way, but the main sources of modern football codes appear to come from Western Europe, especially England with the codification of the game at English public schools in the 18th and 19th centuries.
The first Football League was founded in England in 1888 after rugby football and association football separated to follow different courses in 1863.
Who would have imagined then that players would earn such astronomical salaries, get huge sponsorship deals and that people would take it so seriously that they would spend their savings on travelling around the world to watch their team play?
I enjoy watching good quality football, but for me it’s just a game so I don’t get too carried away, and should my team win or lose it doesn’t have a great impact on my current mood.
Enjoy it, have fun, but don’t take it so seriously! It’s just a game.
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