Royal Shrovetide Football

Now here’s something that I’ve wanted to do for a few years now.

A town near where I live holds an annual game the day before and the day of Ash Wednesday. The origins of the game are lost in the mists of time, but basically it involves hundreds of local residents and visitors in a game of ‘Royal Shrovetide Football‘.

Shrove Tuesday is the day before Ash Wednesday, which is where the ‘shrove’ comes from, and the game is similar to (English) football (what Americans call soccer) in that the ball is round and there are two teams of multiple participants trying to get the ball through one of two sets of goal posts. The ‘Royal’ title came when King Edward was the official starter of the game in the 1930’s. So we now have Royal Shrovetide Football. Sorry, I just like things like etymology 🙂

The main differences between this game and normal football is that there are hundreds of people in a game, the local shops are boarded up and closed, residents and visitors are told to park well outside of town and the ‘field’ consists of several fields (usually wet and muddy), plus parts of the local river.

My kind of game!

Which is exactly why I seriously want to take a day off and attend at least once. This year’s game days are kind of out, since I’m headed to Germany for work, but I can at least schedule time off for next year! February 24th, 2009, here I come!