In the beginning was the Whistle. In this World Cup year, it sounded for me in Battersea Park on the first day of Spring. I had prepared myself for the quest in London, knowing that I would be travelling far from by birthplace, but now that I was in motion, the momentum was starting to build around me.
The Ball crosses the Prime Meridian
At Greenwich, my presence was ill-received by the Custodians of The Line. “It is more than my Sacred Duty is worth,” one of their number warned me. “You must have the Written Word of the One in Authority.” Nonetheless, I crossed secretively from west to east, for I was drawn by the gravity of my task, and they were not vigilant.
The Ball leaves the UK
I picked up speed rapidly in Brighton, and by the night of the Full Moon was rolling ever faster through the Kentish countryside to greet the Channel at dawn. I reached escape velocity at the white cliffs of Dover, flew low over the 22 miles of water, and, with a single bounce on the beach at Calais, proceeded to Ypres for my first official engagement.
The Ball finds the field in Flanders
As the Guardians of the Documentation returned me to 1914, I rolled to a rest on the ground where, on the Christmas Day of that year, German and British troops on the battlefield had made time for me. A German soldier had raised a christmas tree above the parapet of his trench, and, in the ensuing truce, I was kicked around Nomansland until the Germans won 3-2. Bitterly disappointed at the outcome, the British asked me to return on Boxing Day, but a new outbreak of fighting banished my presence forever.
The Ball remembers
I retired injured to Amsterdam, and immediately sought solace in the local customs, hoping to ease the pain of my rejection from the field of war. In a manner which befits the dignity of my progress, I shall keep my own counsel on this matter.
Written by The Ball on Monday, April 1st, 2002