Is scuba-diving a sport? I only ask because to me, it seems that the older you get, the less you actually enjoy participating in sport. Scuba-diving, however, is the gift that just keeps on giving, whatever age you pretend to be. I learnt to do it quite late. I had a friend who ran a dive shop on Dominica and he invited me out to learn. Dominica is not to be confused with the Dominican Republic. The latter is a package holiday hellhole whereas the former is a beautiful island complete with rainforests and black volcanic beaches that keep the rubbish tourists away.
I arrived on the island while the first Pirates of the Caribbean was being filmed there. This made my first scuba experience even weirder. By day I'd dive under the Black Pearl as she bobbed up and down in the harbour and then bump into Johnny Depp in the bar by night. Normally this close contact with a Hollywood A-lister might excite me but it didn't. I was a scuba addict and totally hooked on my new drug. Before I took up scuba-diving I was a fairly keen "leisure" snorkeller and would spend hours paddling around on the surface staring down at the forbidden depths below. I was perfectly content. How I laugh looking back at this. Scuba-diving is akin to flying. You are weightless, adrift in an alien world that you can fly over and around with a flick of your fin. It's an extraordinary sensation that makes you glad to be alive.
With all this in mind, I was flicking through the hundreds of weird channels available to me from my armchair when I came across a piece on bog-snorkelling. This is a "sport" in which contestants must complete two consecutive lengths of a 55-metre, water-filled trench cut through a peat bog in the shortest time possible. Contestants (or "morons" as they are known) wear a mask, snorkel and flippers and are not allowed to use "conventional" swimming strokes but must propel themselves forwards only using their flippers. Looking it up on Wikipedia, I discovered that the "World Bog-Snorkelling Championship" is held every August in the "dense Waun Rhydd peat bog in mid-Wales".
The article goes on to admit that "the 2007 event was not sponsored..." I love that kind of tacit admission. There is not a single business in the land that feels that any form of linkage to this event would be of benefit to them. That's got to be a pretty broad hint that what you are doing is truly pointless.
I did watch the event with a kind of grim fascination. A good indication of whether a sport is "proper" or not is what you decide to wear for the event.
Bog-snorkelling, like cheese-rolling, seems to be an excuse for a bit of a fancy dress-up and a day out for the cross-dresser. Contestants dressed as old women, sumo wrestlers and suicidal businessmen launched themselves into a fairly accurate recreation of a trench scene in the Somme while a gaggle of wet spectators watched in mild curiosity. There seemed to be more camera crews than spectators as this kind of "fun" is a staple for the "and finally" section of every news programme. Unbelievably, there are other "sports" now joining the bog-snorkel stable. "Mountain Bike Bog-Snorkelling" is alive and well and also has its own world championships.
The bikes are, apparently converted for the sport by filling the tyres with water and the frames with lead. They then do the same thing as the snorkellers except, they're on a bike and, that's it. Soon there will undoubtedly be "Topless Skateboarding Bog-Snorkelling" (I'd probably watch that actually). The possibilities are endless.
I have always harboured a desire to be a world champion in something and the more I see how many "sports" are out there, the more I think that it might just be possible for me to fulfil my dream. I should really just make my own sport up – everyone else does. How about the "Fairford To Bibury Lilo Float Championships"?
I hop on my lilo and float down the River Coln until I get to Bibury. I time myself and then proclaim my world-champion status and post the world record on Wikipedia.
I'm sort of joking but actually, who decides that this is not valid? Nobody – now, where is my lilo?
I think it's near my cheese-rolling boots in the garage.
Designer way to score your deals on wheels
Another cyclist banned after a positive dope test in the Tour de France. The whole competition seems to be nothing more than a huge travelling drug dealership. No wonder the crowds pack the route; they are presumably all waiting for "the man".
Only Jonny's wizardry could break the spell of that All Black magic
The Haka has to be one of the great sights in modern sport. Fifteen huge, scary men, clad entirely in black, covered in tattoos and staring at you with murderous intent. It's worse than a night out in Swansea.
It was impressive to see the Welsh team stare back and refuse to give ground until the All Blacks did. Sadly, if you do this you really do have to beat them.
Personally, I think that somebody has told the All Blacks to go easy in the first half of matches and make games look tighter than they are. They don't want to bore the crowds so they make it a bit tense and then really cut loose in the second half.
Last Saturday we really needed Jonny Wilkinson – he could have put a hex on them and then turned them into small black toads.Reuse content