You may be wondering which football it was that Dan and Karel played. Maybe not.
Well, I think it's interesting, so I'll tell you about it.
It's closer to our world's American Football or Australian Rules Football than to either Soccer or Rugby. But there is a big difference.
Some time in ancient history, a wise king had decreed that there would be no games played against an opponent. The language of that kingdom had a singular article, think "un" or "una" in spanish, and the king used it in his decree -- not against "an" opponent.
So the people started arranging their games against multiple opponents. Since multiple opponents implies cooperation, fanatical partisanship was significantly reduced, and the games became much less bloody, much less wasteful of the human resources of the kingdom.
As ball games replaced games with the sword, club, and lance, ball games also tended to be played with multiple teams in a match.
The football Dan and Karel played had a circular field, with three end-zones and three goals. Even though the flow of the game for any one ball would be stop-and-go, with downs, punts, goal-kicks, touchdowns, kickoffs, etc., there would be three balls in play at any particular time during the game.
Yes, the ball was an ovoid, to make it roll funny.
Each team had twenty-two players. In the most common configuration, ten would be defending their own goal, and the other twelve would be divided six-and-six to attack the other two goals. To have any hope of successfully attacking either opponent's goal, their offense would have to team up with players from the other opponent's team.
Thus, the play tended to be rather cooperative, and the spectators tended to root for all the teams instead of just for their own. The whole attitude of the game tended to resemble a carnival more than a war, and tailgate parties would often include fans of both of the opponents' teams.
Another configuration, common in the early years of the game, but less common in Dan's and Karel's day, was to have nine players on defense, to free one player to be a rover.
The rover was allowed to go anywhere on the field at any time. He could run with the ball, pass it, or kick it. The three things he was not allowed to do were (1) to take the snap from center on a down, (2) to run the ball over an opponent's goal line in either direction, or (3) to receive the ball to score. He could pass it in or kick it for a score, but he could not receive it for a score or run it in. If he received the ball when he was behind the goal line, he would have to pass, not run, it out before someone else could try to score.
Why do I think this is important enough to mention here? We shall see.
[Backup and edit history are here: http://joel-rees-economics.blogspot.com/2017/02/backup-soc500-01-03-football.html.]
[This chapter was not in the rough draft. It might come around chapter 02, http://free-is-not-free.blogspot.com/2016/05/economics-101-novel-ch02-introducing.html, or chapter 03, http://free-is-not-free.blogspot.com/2016/05/economics-101-novel-ch03-introducing.html.]