augury doggerel

Sunday, September 01, 2002


Speedway, which is Poland's most popular spectator sport, is on the pub's TV tonight and turned way up for the eight other customers and the barman. The TV is behind me but, because I am fairly certain that three or four motorcycles are going round and round in a circle, I don't need to look. (Three more men are led in from the sidewalk by the sound of motorcycles revving.) I understand the popularity of football here � any group of boys can find a ball and an open lot � but Speedway is a man on a motorcycle, and motorcycles are not cheap or common here. (Two more guys come in.) (Five more. I'm going to run out of space at the bar.) But some Poles have been good at it � even world champions � and the chance that "we" (including guys who have never even touched a motorcycle) might win is the sort of thing that excites guys at bars. And there are local teams and national racing leagues, so they can always root for the home team and sneer at the guys in other cities. Counting me, there are now 21, 22, maybe 23 men here. No women. It's wrestling night in a 1950s American bar. (A man does come in with his wife and daughter, but he parks the women under the TV, where they can't see the races and won't get in the way, and then sits by himself at the bar.) (Another guy comes in. He can have my seat.)


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