Hands up if you have little interest in so called ‘winter sports’ but have taken a perverse fascination in watching athletes crash out in the current Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang. It’s not that you would like to see anybody seriously injured but it becomes a metaphor for life’s vulnerability when somebody self-destructs in an explosion of powdered snow in the downhill skiing or ends up ingloriously on their bum in the men’s figure skating.
What it does demonstrate is that people watch sport for many different reasons – some possessed by a furious sense of jingoism bellowing “Aussie, Aussie Aussie, Oi Oi Oi”, others as sporting purists with a genuine love of the activity or perhaps as gamblers who would bet on two flies crawling up a wall – and then there’s me. Frankly I have always looked at competitive sport as one of our more absurd pastimes, not necessarily a bad thing but one that is often far removed from the basic realities of life. I guess that’s why it exists in the first place, as a massive distraction from the drudgery and boredom of everyday existence.
If we do accept that many sporting activities are bordering on the ridiculous then why not push the boundaries even further. It’s time to throw out some of the more boring sporting endeavours and raise the ante to new realms of excitement. Here are just a few suggestions:
GRANDMOTHER HURLING: As introduced to the UK by the late great Spike Milligan. Fully consenting grand mums are catapulted over an enormous cliff with the object being to land them safely in the sea rather than the rocks below. Mercifully the attrition rate is very low.
DOWN HILL TEXTING: Here’s a new winter sport in which contestants carry not only two ski poles but a mobile phone. Points are awarded for the longest coherent text message the skier manages to send before he reaches the finish line.
DOWN HILL SEXTING: Similar to the above but additional points are awarded for salaciousness.
CAGED PANDA FIGHTING: Forget about the loathsome UFC and enjoy an entirely new spectacle as men (and women) in panda suits grapple for supremacy in a bamboo cage. Occasionally, as a special surprise, a real panda could be introduced, provided they were trained not to eat the actual cage.
AIR TENNIS: A derivative of the air guitar contest whereby tennis is played without an actual ball. Players score points with the most creative and exuberant moves as they pound an imaginary ball backwards and forwards.
BEACH WATERMELON: A variation of beach volley ball whereby a large water melon is substituted for the actual ball. Players are required to take a bite each time the watermelon passes over the net. The team that takes the final bite of the rapidly disappearing melon is declared the winner.
LAWN MOLES: Players release trained moles who burrow underneath the green as they attempt to locate the heavily scented jack. Not a great spectator sport as most of the action takes place underground but when the mole finally breaks the surface it’s a genuine gee whiz moment.