Authorities in the obscure prairie village of Skokie, Illinois are bracing for ethnic and sectarian strife as local Indians and Jews prepare to do battle in a bizarre conflict known as the “Indo-Jew Bowl.”
The clashes, which flare up annually around the Thanksgiving holiday, have caused widespread injuries in years past, and consume the energies of a significant portion of the local adult male population.
This year, villagers fear a more brutal confrontation than usual, as last year’s contest ended in a 20-20 triple-overtime stalemate, which leaders on both sides have vowed never to repeat.
One Jewish participant, speaking on condition of anonymity, warned: “If Steve Feder [field coordinator for the Brüno movie] returns, we will utterly destroy them. If not, we will still win convincingly, though without a pass rush.”
A young Indian professional, who abandons his medical duties each year to join the melée, warned: “They [the Jews] have not won in the past two years. We have finally turned the tide.”
The neighboring communities, far from decrying the violence, support it enthusiastically. They bring their young children to witness the clashes, ensuring that the conflict will continue into the next generation.
Legends persist of an “eye-injury truce,” when a local Jewish doctor tended to the wounds of an Indian defensive lineman. Yet that brief moment of harmony was an aberration amidst twelve years of bitter rivalry, which scholars believe arose from stiff competition for limited opportunities at local universities.
“We had peace with the [American] Indians in 1620,” said a distraught member of the village’s Christian minority. “Why haven’t they learned to get along?”