Published in the ‘Journal of Passienic Anthropology’ on 1st April 2017, from Man the Footballer: Homo Passiens.

Puskas F., Yashin L., Gascoigne P., Best G., Smith G., Messi L., Ronaldo C.

On any day, but particularly on any Saturday, of any week, of any month, of any year, stretching both far into our past and also infinitely into our future, an ancient and deeply beloved ritual takes place, in every hamlet, every village, every town, every city and every metropolis around the world; a ritual that describes and defines what it is to be a human being – with flat face and brow, domed head, two arms with opposable thumbs, narrow pelvis, knock-knees, and the ability to stand upright on two flat and levered feet, with non-opposable big toe, moving by forward kicking each leg in sequence, whilst standing or pivoting on the other foot, and from time to time utilising this curious locomotive facility to kick a moving object, known as a ball, usually in the direction of a region of space defined by a rectangular skeletal or wooden construct, comprising two upright posts some eight yards apart, supporting a horizontal bar eight feet from the ground, and known as a goal, and whenever the ball passes between the posts and beneath the bar, a goal is scored.

This lovely ritual usually takes place on a flat field of ground, often (although not always) with grass underfoot, on a rectangular pitch, one hundred yards in length and fifty in breadth, marked into precise geometric patterns, and divided into two halves, which define the rules of the cultural practice.

The participants divide into two teams, based on social “kickship” ties (as opposed to kinship ties), usually comprising eleven individuals, known as players (collectively, as teams), on each side. One player from each team, known as the goalkeeper, is selected to protect the aforementioned goal. The goalkeeper is allowed to use his hands and opposable thumbs to catch or deflect the ball, to avoid a goal being scored between the posts and beneath the bar. Outfield players may kick or head the ball to propel it towards – or into – the goal. Only if the ball crosses the side-lines may outfield players throw or shy the ball into play, using their opposable thumbs; otherwise, if they handle the ball at any time, an offence or foul is committed.

The outfield players are organised into defence, midfield and forward positions, although these are flexible, and they can adopt any position to reflect the flow of play. An official known as a referee, with allegiance to neither team, regulates the play of both, according to an agreed set of rules that may also vary over time.

This ancient and beloved ritual is the most universal expression of two-footed, bipedal game-playing in human culture. It confirms our neotenous and curious evolutionary history, which means that we never fully become adults as a species, and we play games from birth to death – a practice not found in any other species we know of.

Both sexes play and love the Game – male and female. The sibling species are Femo passiens and Homo passiens, and the billions who follow the Game around the world, are known as football supporters or football fans. Infants, children, juveniles – and those we call adults – attend the Game, or follow it electronically on radio, television and the internet, in newspapers, magazines and other literature, and expend large sums of their income on doing so. Apart from the high cost of attendance, they choose to purchase team flags, banners, pendants and items of clothing that carry team colours and team badges. If Football was a country, it would have the largest population in the world, and its economy would exceed that of the world’s current largest – the United States of America.

Science has discovered that every football fan present at, or viewing or listening to a game, enters a unique blend of physiology and psychology, known as a super-lucid wake-REM dream-state. It is characterised by the manifestation of specialised gamma-waves, along with expression of hopamine goal award-seeking, combined with hopiate-generated emotional homeostasis.

No other game-playing or artistic practice, no musical event, painting, sculpture, literature or poem, reaches or compares to the extraordinary electro-wave field levels as the highly charged game of football when attended by thousands of fans, where a super-lucid, pass, move, block, tackle, save or goal may reach such beauty of articulation that a fan gamma-wave electromagnetic storm crescendo is released across the stadium, that is sufficient to light a small town, and that may be viewed from, and measured by, satellites in distant space.

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