30 June 2010

History is Written by Winners or "De vita et moribus tredecim virorum paraguaycorum"

If crashing out of the World Cup is not bad enough for England, the Catholic Church reports that Association Football actually may have originated in Paraguay, which of course has advanced further than England in this year's tournament.:
Amidst the enthusiasm over the World Cup Soccer tournament, L’Osservatore Romano published an article this week arguing that the Guarani Indians of Paraguay were the inventors of the game.

In an article titled, “The Guarani Invented Soccer,” reporter Gianpaolo Romanato asserted that soccer was born in the 17th century in the region known today as Paraguay. His source for the claim is an account by a Spanish Jesuit priest, Jose Manuel Peramas, who lived for several years at the St. Ignatius of Mini mission south of Asuncion, which was one of the 30 native missions established by the Jesuits in colonial Paraguay.

Father Peramas described the pastimes enjoyed by the Guarani in his 1793 book, “De vita et moribus tredecim virorum paraguaycorum” (Of the life and death of the 13 men of Paraguay).

“They often played with a ball that, although it was made completely of rubber, was so light and quick that instead of them hitting it, it bounced around without stopping, driven by its own weight. They did not throw the ball with their hands like we do, but rather they kicked it with the upper part of their bare feet, passing it and trapping it with great agility and precision,” the priest wrote.

“Three centuries ago the Guarani were surely masters of the ball. They are truly the descendents of the real inventors of soccer,” L’Osservatore Romano reported, although many British soccer enthusiasts would be quick to dispute such a claim.

On the other hand, one touts Paraguayan success with some trepidation.

In other news, R Klein and S Collins lead RogersBlogGroup, and my heart and my head continue a close battle. The big finance groups UBS, JP Morgan and Goldman Sachs battle it out for sub-mediocrity. Stay tuned.


  1. Thought soccer was invented by the auto industry to support the mini-van market? Go figure.

  2. At this level, 'football' could have been invented many times independently all over the globe. It's pretty certain that no athletic Englishman ever watched the Guarani play and thought what a splendid game it would make.

    The game, as an organized activity, was invented, and the rules codified, in England.

    Generally, the origin of sports is quite a sensitive matter, as can be tested by informing a Scotsman that golf was invented in China.

  3. With all due respect to the Vatican, surely indigenous American peoples have played football since before the birth of Christ? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ulama_game

    OT and probably out of order: Irish TV just produced and broadcast a program on climate change which featured Jean-Pascal van Ypersele saying "Overall it would be less costly to prevent than to adapt." I've seen Richard Tol here and was curious if he'd been consulted on the production and if not then why not?

    It was certainly alarming to hear an Irish professor of resource economics stating "20 years from now almost everybody in Ireland should be living in a house that is almost zero energy use." Hot food is my only vice.

    Those poor investment banks have my sympathies for their poor performance in the football.

  4. A bit of history: The Football Act 1424 "Of playing at the fut ball" was passed by the Parliament of Scotland in the reign of James I . It became law on 26 May 1424.

    The Act stated, "that it is statut and the king forbiddis that na man play at the fut ball under the payne of iiij d (4 pence fine).

    The modern passing football game, goalkeepers and all, can be traced all the way back to 1633 in Aberdeen, Scotland.

    The modern representative football game can be traced back to the 1830's at a place called the Roman Camp Country House, Perthshire, Scotland.

  5. The rules of association football as codified in England highlights that English football of the time had more resemblance to rugby league than to modern football.

    The modern passing game orginates in Scotland, indeed the early Scottish professional players who played in England were considered to be ungentlemanly because the passed the ball around and over the opposition players rather than take the man on.

  6. "The modern passing game orginates in Scotland,"

    Malcolm. I had a feeling about that :-)

    We lost our footballing artistry when we lost our poverty. Brazil still has it.

    The scary thing about the England crash is that Capello saw it coming and got a new 5 year deal before it all went wrong. The FA obviously saw it the other way ! Even I predicted a crash before a ball was kicked. The omens were there. Panic decisions and policy U turns, bad results in warm up. Rooney losing his cool etc. England have had one good team in my memory, 1990. Otherwise they have never been at the races.

    Now they have a choice. Keep him and be unpopular, sack him and lose a fortune.