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A Guide to the Dallas Cowboys Handegg Club for My Fellow Brits

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The Dallas Cowboys, complete with their famous silver trousers, play their first game in London on Sunday. You should tear yourself away from Swansea vs. Arsenal (or as they would call it in America, "Swans - Gooners") and watch a man with a malfunctioning spine attempt to defeat a team that, against all available alphabetical evidence, is pronounced "Jag-wahs." Shortly, I will explain why you might find such a thing compelling, but first, a brief glance at the unfamiliar parts of handegg.

Much like rugby, which shares the egg-shaped device on which the game focuses, a lot of the emphasis is put on passing. However, where there would be dozens of passes in a rugby attack, in handegg there is just one, and it goes forward. Of course, it is a very American conceit to replace the notion of teamwork with just one outstanding individual who can do whatever he wants and have all others live off the scraps of his success or failure. In Texas, they call that "freedom." It's the sporting equivalent of Reaganism.

The other thing you'll notice is that the game stops every 10 seconds or so for a period of time that ranges from twenty-five seconds to just "indeterminate," or exactly enough time to play the advertisements that have been paid for. If you've been watching the BBC for too long, you might have forgotten what televised advertisements look like. Basically, 20 marketing professionals come together to try and write a joke despite the fact they are marketing professionals and not comedians or writers, and then they try to put their product into the joke, but in a way that promotes the product. It's as bad as it sounds. Sometimes they just put up slow-motion close-ups of melted butter, which is far more effective.

Further differences from rugby include the addition of "wuss-pads," as we would refer to them, the kind that a coward might wear on a rugby field, and the replacement of that true test of British manliness, the scrum, with a line of men hurling the egg backwards between their own legs as fast as they can, lest they have to actually compete for the thing.

All of this might lead you to believe that American handegg is not very good. On the contrary, it can be thrilling. The moment when Spine Problems Chap flings the egg as many yards downfield as his back will allow and you can't quite see what's going to happen is actually engrossing. Sometimes the bearer of the egg will find a way through the pile of fat men trying to stop him despite all available ocular evidence, and will run and run and run. This is also quite exciting. However, when he is tackled, there will be no ruck. This isn't rugby. The game will simply stop, because again, real competition for the egg is very limited in this sport.

The Jag-Wahs will also be very excited, because this is the largest number of people they have ever played in front of. Their home games, much like a Wigan or a Man City, will draw six, maybe seven people, all of whom support the other team.

In summary, if you like the idea of advertisements in between which fat men compete for an egg, then you should proceed directly to Wembley, which will no doubt have its turf ruined for next week's England game by this festival of egg-flinging. Everyone here in Dallas will be donning their ceremonial silver trousers in honor of their Dallas Cowboys Handegg Club, and while such a pair of trousers would be unthinkably flash in Britain, you might wish to do the same as long as you remain inside and lock the door to your room.

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