pigskin and football matches
Usually, the two nouns mentioned in the subject of this entry are quite clearly related. Such is not the case in this particular instance.
A few weeks ago, I was the first assistant to the de-skinning and de-boweling of a pig. This task involved, firstly, me forcing myself to watch a pig being slaughtered (via a swift knife in the heart) - something I decided all meat-eaters should probably do at some point in time, especially if you're as big a fan of ham as I am - secondly, me pouring water over the blow-torched skin of said pig so that Sasha, the friendly butcher, could scrape said skin off, and, thirdly, me holding onto what I think might have been the pig's spinal column while Sasha dumped the pig's intestine into a bucket (my hand was at the bottom of that bucket, by the way, still holding onto the spinal column as instructed). Thankfully, the rewards for my work far exceeded any sacrifices, as I was given the choiceset pieces of meat for my shashlik (basically a meat kebab), as well as a tenderloin that was refrigerated and consumed for lunch the following day. Funny that all of my quirky little Ukrainian anecdotes always occur when I'm away from my site. Such is the fate of a city-dweller, I suppose.
Unless, of course, we consider the football game that I attended yesterday, in which Tavria (the hometown team) faced off against Shocktar (from the industrial east - Donetsk - and having a far cooler name, not to mention standing in the Ukrainian football league). The game was sans any sort of hooliganism, at least in my close vicinity. We did spot a shirtless fan being swarmed by militiamen and escorted off the field, but, really, he was asking for trouble. And, thankfully, he was really far away. The game ended in a tie (2-2) and my own personal realization that, when cheerleaders are not supplied to a group of fans, they will clearly self-appoint their own.