On a blanket of artificial grass amongst the sound of loud-mouthed announcers, men run from one side to another, moving like in a dance arms and legs back and forth, back and forth…
Armando Orozco Tovar
They advance, they retreat, they fall down, and they get right back up. Others stay down, writhing on the grass in pain, while players fly off in pursuit of the blue sphere.
Each is colourfully dressed in yellow, blue, green, white, red or even black. On each side, a seemingly calm terrace can suddenly erupt as people throw themselves into the air to catch an object that looks a little like Planet Earth.
The teams pass the ball to each other, launching it across both short and long distances. They run across the pitch, dancing up and down, followed by a figure with a threatening object in hand. Players are replaced when their numbers are shown on a board.
Coaches from the two teams are watching from the side-lines: they are on their feet one moment and sitting down the next, nervously pacing, turning from side to side to follow the game. Their unease is etched across their faces; anxiety when the sphere crosses the wrong lines, or glee when the same happens to their rivals. The one player not out on the pitch with the rest leaps into the air to catch the globe, or lets it thunder past him like a cannon ball as he stretches into open space, before falling to the ground like a wounded animal.
Beyond the players and their entourage, the masses watch on, transfixed. Some have left families, jobs, offices, studies or homes behind.
They travelled to get there on dilapidated public transport and run-down roads, or on the latest trains, planes and automobiles.
Everyone in the stands is dressed in the same colours as the titans clashing on the pitch, chasing the ball.
The noise from trumpets small and large is nothing short of deafening. They shake their flags, painted faces proudly displaying their country’s distinctive emblems. They flaunt the brightly coloured t-shirts and caps that adorn each head and chest.
Suddenly, as if stung by some invisible creature, they all jump up as one, bellowing, whining, shouting. Thousands are packed underneath the concreate domes or face the onslaught of the elements without shelter.
Eventually the crowd in the stands also come to resemble modern gladiators, who fight for the ball with all of their strength, speed, determination and intelligence. They hit and kick each other, sending countless objects flying into the air.
Soon it seems as if those within the boundaries of the pitch and those beyond them in the terraces have heard the call of a primitive past. Blood coursing through their veins with all of the fighting spirit of ancient tribes, they shout to the stars, as if all they want is for someone to hear them.
Photos: Pixabay – (Translated by Roz Harvey)