Obviously, Football is a syndrome of religious rites symbolizing the
struggle to preserve the Egg of Life through the rigors of impending
winter. The rites begin at the Autumn Equinox and culminate on the first
day of the New Year, with great festivals identified with bowls of plenty.
The festivals are associated with flowers such as roses; fruits such as
oranges; farm crops such as cotton; and even sun-worship and appeasement of
great reptiles such as alligators.
In these rites, the Egg of Life is symbolized by what is called "The Oval",
an inflated bladder covered with hog skin. The convention of "The Oval" is
repeated in the architectural oval-shaped design of the vast outdoor
churches in which the services are held every sabbath in every town and
city. Also every Sunday in the greater centers of population where an
advanced priesthood performs. These enormous churches dominate every
college campus; no other edifice compares in size with them, and they bear
witness to the high spiritual development of the culture that produced
Literally millions of worshipers attend the sabbath services in these
open-air churches. Subconsciously, these hordes are seeking an outlet from
sexual frustration in anticipation of violent masochism and sadism about to
be enacted by a highly trained priesthood of young men. Football obviously
arises out of the Oedipus complex. Love of mother dominates the entire
ritual. (Notre Dame and Football are synonymous).
The rites are preformed on a green rectangular area orientated to the four
directions. The green area, symbolizing Summer, is striped with ominous
white lines representing the knifing snows of Winter. The white stripes are
repeated in the ceremonial costumes of the four whistling monitors who
control the services through a time period divided into four quarters,
symbolizing the four Seasons.
The ceremony begins with colorful processions of musicians and semi-nude
virgins who move in and out of ritualized patterns. This excites the
thousands of worshipers to rise from their seats, shout frenzied poetry in
unison and chant ecstatic anthems through which runs the Oedipus theme of
willingness to die for the love of mother.
The actual rites, performed by 22 young priests of perfect physique, might
appear to the uninitiated as a chaotic conflict concerned only with hurting
the Oval by kicking it, then endeavoring to rescue and protect the Egg.
However, the procedure is highly stylized. On each side there are eleven
young men wearing colorful and protective costumes. The group in so-called
"possession" of the Oval first arrange themselves in an egg-shaped
"huddle," as it is called, for a moment of prayerful meditation and
whispering of secret numbers to each other.
Then they rearrange themselves with relation to the position of the Egg. In
a typical "formation" there are seven priests "on the line," seven being a
mystical number associated not, as Jung purists might contend, with the
"seven last words" but actually, with sublimation of the "seven deadly
sins" into "the seven cardinal principles of education."
The central priest crouches over the Egg, protecting it with his hands,
while over his back quarters hovers the "Quarterback." The transposition of
"back quarters" to "quarterback" is easily explained by the Adler School.
To the layman the curious posture assumed by the "Quarterback," as he
hovers over the central priest, immediately suggests the Cretan origins of
Mycenaean animal art, but this popular view is untenable. Actually, of
course, the "quarter-back" symbolizes the libido, combining two instincts,
namely, a) Eros, which strives for even closer union, and b) the instinct
for destruction of anything which lies in the path of Eros. Moreover, the
"pleasure-pain" excitement of the hysterical worshipers focuses entirely on
the actions of the libido-quarter-back. Behind him are three priests
representing the male triad.
At a given signal, the Egg is passed by sleight-of-hand to one of the
members of the triad who endeavors to move it by bodily force across the
white lines of Winter. This procedure up and down the enclosure, continues
through the four quarters of the ritual.
At the end of the second quarter, implying the Summer Slostice, the
processions of musicians and semi-nude virgins are resumed. After forming
themselves into pictograms representing alphabetical and animal fetishes,
the virgins perform a most curious rite requiring far more dexterity than
the earlier phallic Maypole rituals from which it seems to be derived. Each
of the virgins carries a wand of shining metal which she spins on her
fingertips, tosses playfully into the air, and with which she interweaves
her body in most intricate gyrations.
The virgins perform another important function throughout the entire
service. This concerns the mystical rite of "conversion" following success
of one of the young priests in carrying the Oval across the last white line
of Winter. As the moment of "conversion" approaches, the virgins kneel at
the edge of the rectangle, bury their faces in the earth, then raise their
arms to heaven in supplication, praying that "the uprights will be split."
"Conversion" is indeed a dedicated ceremony.