On the Horizon: Opening Game in Zion
One June day in 1927 the Americans in Jerusalem, hitherto outwardly respectable, were seen making their way to the open spaces of the city wearing common caps, old pants, and abraded shoes. People heard settlers and tourists from the United States, who had only casually greeted each before, jabbering together with lodgebrother intimacy about something which a good polyglot Palestinian, who averaged a sort-of-command of seven languages, including English, could not follow for a single sentence.
The meaning of all this unusual activity became clear when the Palestine Bulletin announced that, in honor of the Fourth of July, the American community was going to stage an exhibition of their national pastime—the first ever to be held in the country. The place, the Maccabee football field; the time, four o’clock; everybody welcome, admission free. Even the Hebrew press carried an announcement, though it could find no better equivalent for “umpire” in the ancient tongue than the watered-down shofet—judge.
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