Footie - Scotland's National Sport

Date: Today of course
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I realise that what I am about to write may offend those with sensitive sensibilities who, on the great journey of life, are resolutely determined to keep taking the detour round Humourtown.

But I'll write it all the same: no matter how often your curiosity about Scotland's National Game brings you to the Sports section of
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you will wait till a' the seas gang dry, my dear, and the rocks melt wi' the sun before you will ever see me refer to it as...

It's FOOTBALL!!!!!!! in emphatically small capital letters with added exclamation marks.

And at the risk of annoying Google and other search engines, I'll say it again: FOOTBALL!!!!!!! FOOTBALL!!!!!!! FOOTBALL!!!!!!! FOOTBALL!!!!!!! FOOTBALL!!!!!!! FOOTBALL!!!!!!! FOOTBALL!!!!!!!

The only possible argument for calling it "soccer" is that a foot wears a sock, but by that reasoning it should be called sockball.

And besides, since you also wear boots over your socks and it's the boot that makes contact with the ball, it would be more accurate to call it "bootball".

But it isn't called that. It's called "football". Because you are supposed mostly to use your foot to kick the ball.

You also sometimes use your head to head the ball. You are even allowed to use most of the other parts of your body: shin, knee, chest, bahookie... But you are specifically prohibited from using your hands or your arms.

This is because a hand is not a foot and an arm is not a foot. Controlling the ball with your hand or your arm is easy-peasy whereas controlling the ball with your foot (or head or shin or knee or chest or etc) is not easy-peasy and football, or the beautiful game as Pelé called it, is meant to be a game of consumate skill. Which is why, if you do use your hands or your arms, the referee is supposed to blow his whistle for a foul and award the other team a free kick.

Which one of their players takes with his foot.

Not a free "throw".

Nor any other word that makes you think of hands.

On the other hand (yes it was intentional), American Football is a game where a player uses his hands to throw the ball backwards between his legs, without using his feet, to a team-mate who catches the ball with his hands which are not his feet, then uses the same hands to throw the ball to another team-mate who uses his not-feet-hands to catch the ball and then runs hell for leather towards the opposition goal-line where he touches the ball to the ground using his hands and the only time anyone has used their feet has been to dodge the clawing hands and arms of opponents who will grab hold of you with their hands or arms and throw you to the ground where they will beat you to a pulp in which case we go back to the point where a player uses his hands to throw the ball backwards between his legs to a team-mate again.

And occasionally a kicker comes on and kicks the ball.


Then he goes off again.

Leaving no kickers on the field.

In a football team!!!???

I will grant you that "National Football League" is a lot easier to say than "National Thumping-into-each-other-including-those-players-who-aren't-even-carrying-the-ball-in-their-hands-which-are-not-their-feet League" but I'm afraid the name "football" was taken long before 1920 when the American Professional Football Association was formed and if you don't believe me you can follow this link to the History page of The Scottish Football Museum. Please Mister, can we have our (round) ball and our name back?

However, to show that we Scots can in fact be a lot more generous than the world gives us credit for, we are perfectly happy to give the NFL a new name for their game completely free of charge. Why don't they call that game "socker"?

The players spend enough time sockin' each other.