Endlet Ball on Dakai is very big deal. As Brunteling has fallen out of practice of late (the rigid social etiquette of that game has become ludicrously outdated in the eyes of most), Endlet Ball has seen an enormous upswing in play, more than filling the recreational hole left by Brunteling's absence. Most major cities, Ayaroka, Cyrim, and Poscente included, field well-funded professional teams.
The people of Dakai take Endlet Ball exceedingly seriously, with team allegiances even influencing politics. Within the past astroflux, Lord Maley, mayor of Ayaroka, has become embroiled in a political scandal centered around his supposed infidelity to the Ayarokan Endlet Ball team. An Engineer published an article in the Brechan Daily which said that Lord Maley was a strong private supporter of the Cyrim team and soon Lord Maley's many opponents had taken up the charge: "Maley plays for the other team". This imbroglio has yet to unravel completely, but at the moment, Lord Maley's political future is very much in question.
PlayEditThe rules of Endlet Ball are at best confusing, at worst, pull-your-hair-out maddening. It is not uncommon for a single game to last 6 or 7 days, and if a member of the League of Extraordinary Windbags is not immediately present to referee the many disputes that arise during play, one such member must be summoned before play can continue. The longest Endlet Ball game on record began in 6 D.C. and only just ended. Because players are not permitted to leave the field during play, small shanty towns are constructed during long games near the perimeter of the field, where they didn't much hinder play.
The rules of game play are (roughly) as follows:
- Play is between two teams. The exact number of players on each team is calculated by a complex formula involving the phase of the Astrolux, the coordinates of the playing field, and the date of the game. Because of the very difficult and subjective nature of the calculating formula, different referees often get different numbers of players (one particularly cretinous referee arrived at "craahfe berry" as the figure). In recent years, as a way of bypassing all such disputations, a general consensus has solidified around 13 as the go-to number of players in Endlet Ball matches. Often teams will dispute this ruling as a way of buying themselves more warm-up time.
- The object of the game is to get a small ball (1 forb in diameter [think about the size of a fist]) into the endlet, which is a hole in the center of a wall at each end of the field. The hole is slightly less than a forb in diameter.
- The real thrill of Endlet Ball is in the interactions between the ball, the players, and the crowd in attendance. The ball's size is inversely proportional to the ambient noise—this thanks to clever Brechan Engineers. Any sudden aural outburst from cheering fans, especially those from deep-voiced fans, can cause the ball to rapidly shrink. It is in this state that one must strive to get the ball into the endlet.
- Play lasts for 9 periods, each of which ends when the ball has been successfully put into the endlet.
- Sure, that sounds real simple. But everything is open to interpretation. For example, if one fan's loud cheering assists the wrong side in gaining possession of the ball, a penalty may be called (and discussed at length). People attending the game with no particular team allegiance can bring the game to a standstill while referees assign them to a side.
- And it's worth noting (though hardly necessary to mention it here given most of our reader's familiarity with the game) that none of the players are, at any point during play, permitted to touch the ball.
Endlet Ball, and the trivialities and nuances of its play, are one of the many preoccupations of the League of Extraordinary Windbags. The organization regularly produces books of codified rules and assembles referee conventions to discuss the sport. While the attention lavished upon the sport by the League and the hoi polloi may seem silly to you and me, Endlet Ball's profound effect on Dakian politics cannot be ignored.
--Commissar Ben 01:52, October 5, 2010 (UTC)