I fly to Brazil in one week’s time! After all the preparation it’s finally nearly time to go… I’m really excited and a little nervous, but once I get my bike off the plane in one piece (fingers crossed) and meet my friendly local hosts in Porto Alegre I’ll be fine and ready to get on with the challenge ahead. Let the week of final packing commence.
Yesterday me and Al went along to The Ball 2014 Kick Off in Battersea Park, an event which celebrated the 150th anniversary of the first EVER official game of football played to FA rules, which also took place in Battersea Park, on 9th January 1864! An amazing and largely forgotten bit of history if you ask me. To commemorate this there was an 11-a-side game played (including the band members of New Model Army) using the original rules, which was pretty bizarre since it was quite similar to rugby in that passes had to be played backwards, but long hoofs forward were allowed, and marks could be taken if the ball was caught (yes, using hands anywhere on the pitch) on the full, then a punt forward taken with all teammates starting behind the kicker then chasing forward, and finally goals scored by kicking the ball anywhere between the posts (so no crossbar), oh and in 1864 there was no referee so goodness knows how they actually applied the rules! After the game a plaque was unveiled by the leader of Wandsworth Council who admitted he previously hadn’t known that the first game of football was played here!
The Ball itself will now go on an epic 6 month, 30,000 km journey to the FIFA World Cup in Brazil, crossing Europe and North/Central/South America on its way there! Thousands of people will sign The Ball during its journey, so I made sure I was one of the first to do so yesterday:
I then cycled home to drop off my bike and headed to Covent Garden to meet Al (again) and Stu for a beer in The Freemasons Arms, which is where The Football Association was formed, or as the pub’s website says: “The pioneers of soccer met at the original Freemasons pub over six evenings in the autumn of 1863 to thrash out the laws of a game now played in more than 200 countries across the globe.” so now you know.
PS. I just saw about Davina McCall’s Sport Relief 2014 challenge – good for her!