Watching Italy play Germany today I was nudged into mental scrolling and searching by the hair of Mauro Camoranesi. I've only caught bits of Italy's earlier World Cup games, but each time I've seen this player I've felt a blast from the past.

Camoranesi has been playing with his hair pulled back in an oxbow type bun wrapped with string or cloth. Though he plays for Italy, he is Argentine. His facial structure is reminiscent of ancient tribes and races. He could be a Mayan ballplayer playing a life or death game, a Plains Indian brave counting coup, an Eskimo hauling in a whale, or a Samurai warrior:

Samurai warriors took great care styling their hair, which they pulled back into a topknot called a "chomage." For battle, samurai warriors shaved the tops of their heads, which reduced the heat under their heavy helmets, and wore their hair straight on the sides. When not wearing helmets, they pulled the side and back hair into a topknot.

"Topknot" or whatnot, this soccer player's choice of hairstyle has been given yellow cards by many fans on web chats. Some have called it a "geisha onion bun". My middle son felt that soccer was an inferior sport because it didn't involve hats. My youngest felt it was a superior sport for the same reason. I appreciate the lack of tattoos compared to hatless basketball.

Soccer may descend from the oldest of all organized sports, the Mesoamerican ball game. Watching Camoranesi, the word "pelota" popped into my brain. Pelota? Wasn't that Spanish for ball? When I got to googling "pelota" I found one of the best educational websites ever, The Sport of Life and Death: The Mesoamerican Ballgame. You've got to check it out!

That's about when I realized that the recording cassette had run out again, and I had missed recording another game-making moment for my son. Soccer is still a life or death game for those of us in charge of the VCR!

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