Men With Balls #2
by Kevin Ahern

Meanwhile, at a large bowl-shaped venue out of doors, another group of men, different from the one yesterday, engaged in a different activity with a somewhat different inflatable object. Unlike the ball in the first event, this one was not round, but rather terminated in points at its two ends.

Similar to the first event, it was observed by a large group of people (larger, actually) who spent a considerable amount of time screaming epithets at the men on the field. In contrast to the men at the first event, the men playing with the ball wore metallic shells encasing their heads and the men were very large, but not as tall as the men in the first event.

Men at this event regularly hurled themselves towards each other with great abandon. Numerous sounds of this engagement could be heard along with grunting of the participants and sounds of ecstasy or angst from the people watching, depending on the outcomes of actions on the playing surface.

Like yesterday’s event, there were two groups of men distinguished by their dress and their respective aims. One group of men would carry or toss the oddly shaped ball in one direction while the other group of men would oppose said movement and attempt to extract the ball from the carrier of it or snag it from the air when it was tossed. On some occasions, this occurred and then the new possessors of the ball would attempt the same operations as the first group of men, but in the opposite direction. These actions would then be opposed by the first group of men.

Unlike the layout for the first, game, this game had a much larger surface for engagement, with lines crossing it from one side to the other and numbers identifying the lines. They began numbering at one side with the digit ’10’ and increasing by 10 per mark until reaching the middle of the play area where the numeral ’50’ was marked. Then, continuing in the same direction, the numbers counted backwards until 10 was reached again.

The point where the digit ‘zero’ would be placed at either end of the playing surface seemed to have significance, as when a man carried or, in some cases, caught the ovoid object past this point, people watching the event could erupt in boistrous yelling and even dancing. On other occasions, audible groans could be detected from the same people watching when this occurred.

There appeared to be a relationship between the nature of sounds being emitted and which group of men was successful in their endeavors. This occurred most often when the men on the field crossed the ‘zero’ point’ with the ball. Such a result would often elicit tribal patterns of behavior - dancing, chanting, gesturing or, often, jumping in the air in pairs while intersecting their chests with each other.

A group of men in white striped shirts with whistles controlled this event, like the one yesterday, but here the number of striped shirt men was greater. One interesting aspect of their behavior differed from the first event. Striped shirt men at this event, after whistling, would often wave their arms over their heads as if to indicate something or draw attention to themselves. In some cases, one of them would toss a tiny yellow cloth into the air and after doing this, would display hand gestures in a kind of sign language, presumably to indicate something to people hard of hearing, as the cloth tosser would also announce over loudspeakers what had necessitated tossing of the yellow cloth.

About 50% of the time, after a yellow cloth was released, members of the crowd observing the events would curse and compare the individuals in striped shirts to vacuum cleaners, oddly enough. Some would question the parentage of these individuals and, where that was known, would make comments about their maternal ancestors.

Another curious element of this event that was not understood by this observer was the role of large pitchfork-shaped spires at both ends of the event venue. Members of the crowd indicated pleasure or displeasure at attempts to kick the ball through these structures, again related to whichever group of men was making these attempts. In contrast to the first event, no attempt was made to throw the ball through the pitchfork structure.

Also, in contrast to the first event, observers of this one seemed generally pleased on exit, as if a different outcome had occurred than for the first event.


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