And other sports your dad will not pressure you to do

Like repeating a word until it loses its meaning, thinking about a sport for a prolonged time makes it seem more and more bizarre. Even major league sports such as basketball, baseball, and hockey are all borderline crazy when you give them a little thought. Throwing a ball through a ring in the air? Skating on ice with metal blades and trying to hit a little rubber thing with a curved stick? What the fuck?

With all major league sports, there came a time when they stopped seeming weird and became a normal part of our daily existence. Here’s hoping that the same happens for these so-called fringe sports.


This sport should be familiar to all you Wu-Tang disciples, even if it’s only because you’re familiar with the track “Da Mysteries of Chessboxin’”. In reality, Chessboxing is exactly as it sounds. You play chess and then you fight each other. A typical bout is fought inside a ring and begins with a four-minute game of chess, followed by a three minute round of boxing. This pattern alternates for eleven rounds until a winner is decided by four possible outcomes: knockout, checkmate, judges decision, or by exceeding the time limit for chess play.

Want to become a chessboxer? The World Chess Boxing Organization recommends getting in shape by working on your 400-metre chess, “a fast-paced lap around the running track alternated with a three-minute ‘blitz’ match of chess, 11 rounds long” or with some vigorous gong chess, “three minutes at the sandbag followed by four minutes of chess.”

Cheese Rolling

Cheese rolling is the 200-year-old tradition of the British town of Gloucester, a sport that has recently gained worldwide exposure. It begins when a block of Double Gloucester cheese is thrown down a cliff, referred to by participants as a “hill,” and after a one-second head start, is chased down by a group of soon-to-be-injured people.

Supposedly, the first person to catch the cheese wins, although, as the cheese attains speeds of 112km/h, this is quite difficult. In reality, the winner is the first to cross the finish line at the bottom of the cliff, where ambulances are waiting to cart the cheese roll victims and spectators to the local hospital.

The Cheese Roll website states that “some merely finish and many get injured, even the spectators. Mostly sprains and minor injuries, but also broken bones. To the competitors it seems to be a risk worth taking, as many come back year after year, some from great distances, to win the highly prized cheese.”

Competitive Moustache Growing

Do you have excessive hair growth on your body? Now you can harness the power of your out of control hair follicles by becoming a professional beard grower. The three official categories are partial, full beard, and moustache, and each category has set styles such as the Dali moustache, or the Imperial beard, which are judged at each official contest. The most popular, however, is the freestyle category, where anything goes, such as the previous winner in the full beard freestyle, who shaped his beard into a snowshoe.

The United States has achieved recent dominance and hopes to further establish themselves at this June’s World Championships in Bend, Oregon. In the previous World Championship, the United States was awarded 29 medals, including an unprecedented 12 golds. Don’t think it’s worth your time to spend months growing a ridiculous beard? Think again. Last year, according to the official beard growing website, “the winners took home engraved pans,” and this year’s prize money is rumoured to be a whopping $5000.

Extreme Ironing

British people are weird. Take extreme ironing for example, another strange British creation in which participants take their ironing board, an iron, and a wrinkled piece of clothing, and attempt to press their garments while in the most extreme circumstances possible.

Participants have ironed clothes underwater, while rock climbing, and even while snowboarding, although a new branch of extreme ironing called bungee ironing, is described by one practitioner as “the ultimate in the thrill of extreme ironing.”

Although extreme sports are generally solo-efforts, an Extreme Ironing World Championship took place near Munich in 2002. The six extremely silly countries of England, Australia, Austria, Germany, Chile, and Croatia fielded twelve teams and vied for the top prize of a washing machine and several other household items. Categories included urban, forest, water, rocky, and freestyle ironing and athletes are judged on “their creative ironing skills as well as the creases in the clothing.”

//Mac Fairbairn
Sports Editor

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© 2011 The Capilano Courier. phone: 604.984.4949 fax: 604.984.1787 email: editor@capilanocourier.com