The term Nacirema is American spelled backwards. It was first introduced by Horace Miner in, "Body Ritual Among the Nacirema." Today, it is mainly used by anthropologists to distance themselves, and avoid personal bias, when writing about American culture, its rituals and its customs.
In Nacirema country, the autumn term (known as fall semester in Nacirema speak) has finally arrived. At this time of year, the Nacirema engage in an ancient tradition of football. Despite its deceptive name, football involves neither a foot nor a ball (in the spherical sense), rather, it is more akin to handegg as the participants usually throw an oval-shaped inflatable device to one another.
To explain the tradition of football I must draw upon another ancient tradition of the Roman gladiators. Similar to the gladiator games, football is held in a giant arena where people (usually elites) come to watch young men (usually from humbler backgrounds) battle each other. Like Roman gladiators, the football gladiators usually wear armor as this practice can often get violent.
The football gladiators are not paid for their services, rather they receive compensation by being adorned in the finest garb and accepted into society, granted, these rewards are conditional on their success in the arena. Although football gladiators do not battle to the death as the Roman ones often did, these modern gladiators still suffer from complications to their health and welfare, usually stemming from repeated blows to the head.
The Nacirema regard themselves as modern folk, yet, it is difficult to understand why this primitive sport has lived on into “modern times.” In my ethnological studies, I have found that tribe mentalities have helped to support this dated tradition. It has come to my attention that the customs associated with football go beyond the battles of the arena.