Monday, 14 June 2010

World Cup sparks international interest in "football"

The sport of football has been receiving unprecedented news coverage recently, as a worldwide tournament began this week.

The fictional sport, invented by author J.B. Wrigglesworthy in his popular Chrimberley Jones series of children's stories, was never intended to be played in the real world. But avid devotees of the series (now seventy-three books long) began setting up informal matches, based on the rules laid out by Wrigglesworthy, and these soon attracted international success.

Games of football can last up to two or three days, and so scheduling an international competition, between teams from dozens of countries, has proved a logistical nightmare for the organisers. However, the passion felt for the sport by thousands of amateur and professional players, as well as millions of fans, has provided the World Cup project with an unstoppable momentum.

Many players of more traditional sports are supportive of the growing football movement. Professional quidditch player Jimothy Kendalmint, for instance, is an outspoken football enthusiast.

"It's a great game," he said, "and it deserves our support to help keep it going. With something like quidditch, which has been a traditional pastime in this country for centuries, you can always rely on your established fanbase. But football's still getting off the ground, so it's really inspiring to see this World Cup idea doing so well.

"Plus, with quidditch there's always the worry of it becoming too elitist. Not everyone has the opportunity to go to a magical school and learn to fly broomsticks, so there's a danger that it ends up being exclusive or inaccessible. Football's much easier for anyone to get into. You just get a ball and start kicking it around.

"In retrospect, it's surprising nobody thought of it sooner," he added.

Characters in the Chrimberley Jones series also believe in a form of reincarnation, in which those who are pure of heart are rewarded in the afterlife, by a blissful eternity in a picturesque Welsh town. The name "football" itself comes from an abbreviation of the phrase: "Focus Only On The Beauty Awaiting you when you pass from this world and are reborn in LLanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch."

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