I was watching the TV the other day 
and the World Cup was being played 
football a sport that is played with the feet 
and sometimes the head if the ball it does meet 
it started in England in years gone by 
when villages from one to the other would try 
to kick a pig’s bladder and make it go 
as far as it could along the road. 

From one village to another by using the feet 
and the playing field was the village street 
that joined the two and it could be miles 
and to the winner’s so worth while 
and the whole village would turn out 
to run and kick and scream and shout 
for this was a contest that had to be won 
for the shame of losing was not any fun. 
All the villagers would join in 
all trying to kick at that pigskin 
and when a winner was eventually found 
there was feasting and drinking, and joy abound 
that the Village was champions for one year 
until next time the contest drew near 
and then to have another showdown 
in the hope of retaining the crown 
Today the game has many laws 
and Referees to enforce the cause 
to make it fair so both teams can win 
although to the players with much chagrin 
they never agree what the Ref implies 
pleading their innocence without any joy 
but the Referee has the last word 
and no amount of pleading can be heard. 
No longer villages of any number of players 
now each team has eleven in their number 
and only one can use his hands 
the Goalkeeper is the last to stand 
to stop the others from scoring a goal 
as between the posts the ball must roll 
and sometimes the game will end with a tie 
with nobody scoring although hard they did try. 

The game is now played in each space 
no longer rushing to win the race 
from village to village which was fine 
instead on a field all marked with lines 
and distances all basically the same 
with length and width that can be changed 
to fit into the available space 
to control the game and not make it a race. 

The ball is now perfectly round 
and made of leather and can only be found 
inflated with air to a certain degree 
making it easy for all to see 
to head or kick or control with grace 
the players themselves are of different race 
unbelievable skills to make them the best 
what they do with a ball they are truly blessed. 

To the rest of us as we did grow 
and played the game although very slow 
hoping one day to be so skilled 
a Professional player our dreams fulfilled 
but knowing that we are not the best 
instead, we play along with the rest 
enjoying our moments out on the pitch 
dreaming our dreams and fulfilling our wish. 

One group of villages changed the game 
instead of leaving it the same  
decided instead of kicking the ball 
would use their hands before it could fall 
and pass it off from hand to hand 
to advance the ball along inland  
they ran with the ball as though in a race 
and the game of Rugby took its place. 

Now both games are played side by side 
and to the extent they are played worldwide 
instead of a village wearing the crown 
now a Country can be renowned 
for winning the World Cup and champions be 
the best in the World the top Country 
at playing the game that started so small 
from village to village with a pigskin ball. 
Written December 9, 2022. Read my other poems at https://pondblog2011.com