Jul 07, 2014 1:40 AM GMT
Brenda Pontes, right, the reigning queen of the Peladão’s beauty pageant, getting ready for a television appearance at the A Crítica television station where she works.
NYT: The World Cup does have many things — consuming attention, enthralling soccer and a carnival atmosphere — but it does not have beauty queens.
In the Amazon rain forest, though, there is a tournament that is equal parts soccer and beauty pageant. It is one of the largest and most unusual amateur soccer competitions in the world, and perhaps the only one with a reality show. Pontes is the reigning queen.
The tournament is called the Peladão. The name is a reference to pelada, a Portuguese word that can mean a naked woman. But in this case it means soccer disrobed of big money and glamour and revealed in its informal essence — pickup games played in Brazil on dusty fields, on sandy beaches and even on ferries in floating villages.