A Spanglish blog dedicated to the works, ruminations, and mongrel pyrotechnics of Yago S. Cura, an Argentine-American poet, translator, publisher & futbol cretin. Yago publishes Hinchas de Poesia, an online literary journal, & is the sole proprietor of Hinchas Press.
Wednesday, April 7, 2010
READING DAVID GOLDBLATT'S, "BALL IS ROUND: A GLOBAL HISTORY OF SOCCER" (2008)
Starting in on this behemoth, it seems best to flit through the pages first like a window shopper or shoplifter. I read through parts of the Intro and went straight to chapter 1 which was comprehensive and Levianthanesque. I mean, Goldblatt starts at the beginning of the beginning with the history of soccer, "Certainly, the China created and ruled by the Han dynasty (206 BCE-221 CE) widely played a game called cuju, simply translated as kick-ball...the Chinese invented a lot of things first...It seems most likely that cuju, although played in the era of the Warring States (3rd and 4th Century BCE) was first formalized as an organized sport under the Han." (5)
But it was "Mesoamerica alone [that] had balls that bounced, because it alone had rubber. Today rubber can be found all over the tropics but prior to the conquest it was indigenousto the forest of Mesoamerica" (Goldblatt 10). Therefore, I guess the critical thing to ask when asking who were the first people or group of people to play soccer you have to ask youself, what type of ball did they play with? Because unless the ball had some rubber in it like all balons or futbols have today then "Archaelogical fragments suggest that ball manufacture had begun as early as 1500 BCE, but it was around 1200 BCE that the expanding Olmec Empire, with its emergent cities, public architecture and hierarchical religious and political institutions, provided the context in which the rubber ball and the insatiable desire to play with it could be framed by settled rules to create a contested team game" (Goldblatt 11).
Therefore, who was the first is just another way of asking, the first with what type of ball, balon, futbol, soccerball, etc.