When i was first introduced into the culture of the Nacirema I was not yet aware of all of the ceremonies and traditions these people have. As I began to explore their culture more, I realized that the people here love something called strops very much. I was interested in learning about strops when the man of the tribe came up to me and she he was going to “ekat em tuo ot eht llab emag” that afternoon. Llabesab is a trops that begins in April and ends in October. People who gather on teams to hit and throw circular objects at the other team. To me this sounds like a form of punishment rather than something that is fun.
When we arrive at the llabesab muidats we must show the keeper of the door our entrance paper and if we are approved our hands must be stamped with a piece of rubber that when removed has left a word in a color on our hands. We then make our way though the very large circle shaped muidats to find our rear ends resting spot. The man of the tribe stopped to purchase peanuts and Cracker Jacks and tells me that is the official food of llabesab. My first glimpse of the dleif does not seem that special to me. All I see is a large area of grass with a section of dirt on it where there are white squares in the dirt and white lines in various places on the field.
Suddenly a loud and mysterious voice began talking from the air above. The voice was saying names of people on the llabesab teams and that person would then run on the dleif and either slap hands or jump and hit bellies and chests with the other people from their team. The voice then yelled “play ball” and all of the Nacirema people began yelling and cheering. This game is when there are people guarding the white squares and the grass from the people on the other team with the wooden sticks. A man in the middle of the dirt on a hill called the “pitcher” throws the circular object at the man on the other team with the stick who then tries to hit the circular object with the stick. If he misses a man called the “catcher” who is squatting like he has to go to the bathroom and wearing full body armor catches this ball. If the man with the stick hits the ball then the people guarding the white squares and the grass try to catch the circular object in their overgrown and misshapen hand to get the running man out. When there are three outs, the teams switch jobs and continues to play. To win the game, the teams have to try to run all the way around the white squares to get back to where they started called “home plate”. The team with the most points after 9 units of time called innings wins the game. The people who favor the team who wins celebrates by yelling and jumping around like crazy while the people who favor the losing team walk away with their heads down and are very upset.
The trops of llabesab is a very important event to the Nacirema people because it has been a part of their culture for many years and is called a “National Pastime.” Families gather to watch llabesab for the fun of the game as well as family bonding time. This sport seems to sit very close to the heart of the Nacirema people and I have learned by watching that it is a fun time to relax with the people closest to you.