A young Scotsman named Charles Miller came home from boarding school to Brazil in the late 1800s carrying two footballs under his arms. He became the founder of Brazilian football, his memory revered and his grave a shrine. I wonder, did he have any idea of the consequences of importing his favorite pastime, introducing a whole culture to a life-changing new religion…and what did football replace, or was it the vessel that gave form to a national identity? I am told polo was a Mongol game introduced by Genghis Khan which they played with the heads of their enemies —well, there aren’t many human bits that are circular and can roll with relative ease—and that makes me wonder about the origins of golf… .
Cricket was played throughout the British Empire in those days and now the British Commonwealth, and shrewdly served as a means of diversion uniting diverse religions and cultures. It’s a more civilized kind of one-upmanship, going to war for spoils that bring kudos to your flag. Football players are become like racehorses, million-dollar investments in flesh (of another kind) that can earn multiple returns. Their legs are their fortunes, sir, she said. No wonder every bright-eyed boy wants to be a footballer – fêted, photographed, getting the beautiful girl, driving the spectacular car, living the glamorous life. So, who needs an education anyway…?