For the first time in over a decade, this has been my first year of not actually being in Atherstone for their annual Shrovetide Ball Game (or "Atherstone Ball Game" or more commonly known as "Ball Game"), so I've had to rely on social media to know what's happening.
Now, for those of you that don't know where Atherstone is (be it if you're within the UK or from some foreign land), it's a small town (in England) situated along the A5 between Tamworth and Nuneaton... it's in the Coventry postal district (CV9) and within the county of Warwickshire (and farting-distance of the Leicestershire county border) ... right, you know where it is now, yeah? So anyways...
Every year on Shrove Tuesday (or Pancake Day to pretty much everyone else) Atherstone holds a Ball Game where, at 3pm, a big ass ball gets chucked from the upper window of Barclays Bank into a crowd of towns folk (and some are quite meaty buggers too - the types that'd even make Vladimir Putin shit his knickers) and the ball gets passed/kicked up and down the main street ("Long Street") for about an hour and a half - giving a chance too for the youngsters to have a little photo taken kicking the ball, then around 4:30pm, the game turns a tad bit more, shall we say, "manly".
The last 30 minutes is usually the crucial time for most people, some playing on their own and some within teams (usually representing a pub/club/organisation, etc.) and this is when you'll find that wherever the ball is at 4:30pm is roughly where it'll stay for the next 30 minutes ... it'll get popped and then it's every man for himself. Blokes pile up on top of each other (not in the Brokeback Mountain type of way, more of a "This is MY fucking ball, and I'm having it! No matter what!" way) and they will fight to get and hold onto this ball until the 5pm klaxon - and yes, I did say fight. Fists are thrown at people, faces/body's are booted in too - the rules are quite lax when it comes to violence (the only official rule is that you're not allow to kill a person).
Once the 5pm klaxon sounds, then whoever is holding the ball at that time is declared the winner.
Now, at the time of writing this the winner's name has been mentioned on the local paper for Atherstone's website and it says that the winner of the Atherstone Ball Game 2015 was Kirk McCabe.
I will, once more pictures become available, post some on here of todays event, but at least you're up to scratch on the Ball Game. And also hopefully I'll be back in Atherstone for Ball Game 2016.