Football is derived from the sports of rugby and soccer, in Canada dating back to 1861. The game is played on a field 110 yards long (100 in the US) and played with an oblong-shaped ball. The object of the game is to score points by running and carrying the ball, or throwing it to a team mate past the opposing team's goal line (a "touchdown"). You can also score field goals by kicking a ball through the uprights in the other team's goal posts. Each team has 11 players on the field playing either "offence" (the team with the ball) or "defence" (the team blocking) from a complement of over 30 players. In the Canadian Football League, teams play three "downs" or attempts to score a touchdown or a field goal. In the US, they play with four downs. The season usually starts in June and runs through until November (in the US, it finishes with January's Superbowl game). Football is a demanding sport that combines speed, agility, strength, and precision.
Football varies on cost depending on competitive level. To play flag or touch football all you really require are football cleats and athletic wear (and of course the football). To play tackle football you'll need football cleats (shoes), gloves, mouth guard and a protective cup. Together, these items will cost about $130-$150, and are available at selected sporting goods stores around town. Most teams will provide you a helmet, shoulder, thigh, knee and tail bone pads (there might be a rental or league fee for this).
Tackle football is an extra curricular activity in most high schools. Flag football is offered in various leagues; contact Calgary Parks and Recreation(268-3888).
There's plenty of football entertainment in Calgary. Amateur competition is offered at numerous high school games. You can also watch the university Calgary Dinosaurs and the Calgary Colts junior football team at McMahon Stadium (with admission charge). The Calgary Stampeders of the Canadian Professional Football League also play at McMahon Stadium.