Mexico has caused quite an excitement here with its recent showing in World Cup Soccer, enhancing a world record for advancements into the Group of 16, the finals – and beating out the record-setting political assassinations in Mexico for media ratings.
A version of the game has been around a long time in many areas of the world. Mayans had a strange version where they used only their hips to knock a ball through a vertical hoop above their head (a combination of soccer, basketball and the mambo). It was a game that never caught on, because nobody ever scored. The emperor declared the winning team based on which team lost the fewest loincloths.
Another soccer-like game I just recently witnessed in Florence, Italy is called Calcio Storico, another game that never caught on outside of Florence, where it is played each year on the feast of San Giovanni (The Baptist). Two teams, dressed in Renaissance garb, play a soccer\rugby\dodgeball sort of scrabble on a field while players try to dump the ball into the opponents goal, which looks like a horse drinking trough. This all takes place while other players are fist-fighting in the middle of the field while play goes on around them. Rules appeared to be the same as Pamplona’s running of the bulls.