The beings of Promise practice many sports and leisure activities.
Lowball is one of the most popular sports in all of Sweetwater. Played with a specially treated ball of purple hart leather with just enough air magic to enforce the rules. The challenge of lowball is that the ball is not allowed to raise over half a meter from the ground. Properly enchanted balls will bounce off this height as if there were an invisible ceiling there, allowing for increasingly tricky shots to be made by skilled players, especially on hard surface arenas where the ball can be sent ricocheting up and down the field in absurd zig zags.
The goal of the game is to land the ball in the goal net, much like the Creator sport of soccer. There is a goalie on either team, and five additional members who are trying to get the ball into the opposing net. Traditionally, one of the five will play defense in assistance to the goalie. Getting the ball into the net is worth three points. Nets have a shallow trench a little to the left in the goal area. If the ball stops there, an additional point is awarded.
Rough contact depends on the league and group playing. Most professional venues will be very lax in their measures, with only rules to prevent serious injury, which sometimes even works. Personal games are up to the players. Children are usually discouraged from such rough housing, but, reader, I am sure you have played a few games and been tackled roughly to the ground a few times in your youth. It's just another part of growing up in Sweetwater.
Outright brawls are always forbidden. The goal is to move the ball, not win a fist fight. A body check, tackle, or trip is spice to a fast paced game, but thrown kicks and punches have no place on the lowball field.
Any town of more than a few hundred souls, at least here in Sweetwater, will put together a lowball team. It's a mark of maturation for the community to have the time and money to put together a field and secure a lowball. Lowballs are not too onerously expensive, since they typically last several years between ensorclements. The divine numerology involved can be done by an apprentice air magician, making it a great little chore if the community has one.
Firmament holds a tournament of lowball yearly, housing and feeding the teams of every town of Sweetwater that sends one and pitting them against one another for community pride, and prizes to bring home to their town. The team that emerges at the top are given medals and a handsome prize of funds, with the second and third placing teams receiving smaller prizes. The reward is more than enough to make up for what it took to have the team in the first place, with enough left over to enrich the community, creating a large demand for successful teams.
The lowball tournament of Firmament, known as the Sweet Cup, was started by a Good King, Reginald Good, in 180, not long after his ascension to the throne. His words were, 'My people should test themselves against one another. Let them see measure of their sharp wits and fit bodies. The winners of these bloodless wars will bring home some of the riches of the nation, and everyone will know the communities that gave rise to heroes." It has run with only one interruption since then. In 270, an attack by the Magic City of Cliffside landed inopportunely during the cup, causing it to be cancelled that year.
Lowball is played in other countries, though not with the same popularity of Sweetwater. As of this writing, I know of no other tournaments, but it is not uncommon to see a lowball for sale amongst other curiosities in foreign markets. Perhaps, someday, we will have an international tournament. Just imagine, the beings of all nations gathering for competition. It would be a glorious sight, and one that I hope I live to see.
Written in 402 by Jerome Silverstein, Shelled Folk of Firmament.