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As a convert to the earlier form of America's Game, let me be the one to point out that this is before American football was cobbled together out of rugby and a desire to keep the game from being banned (thus the elimination of the scrum, the invention of the forward pass, and safety padding).

What Twain was watching was a rugby match.

Also, more on point, I'd just like to point out as a resident of Australia that the entire country still shuts down for the Melbourne Cup. It's eerie: businesses are open, but nobody's shopping. Everyone is clustered around a TV (usually in a breakroom or simply in the back of the business) watching the runup to the race, which of course only lasts a handful of moments. I worked for a few years at a busy supermarket in a shopping center that was usually bustling all through the day -- on Melbourne Cup Day, it might as well have been inhabited only by ghosts.

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