I thought that I should kick off the year by returning to the roots of what this column was supposed to be all about – very weird sports. I've decided to find the three weirdest events and then ask you, my beloved reader(s) to vote for which one I should take part in. After much research involving typing in the words "weird sports" into a search engine I have come up with the following:
Wife Carrying – This was invented in Finland. I've been there and can understand the need to come up with something to do. It's one of the dullest countries that I've ever visited.
The Finns, however, are not a slight nation and the idea of carrying some of the huge Amazons that I saw striding the streets of Helsinki fills me with dread.
As far as I can make out, competitors put their wives over their heads – one leg on each side with the bum facing forward and then have to complete a fiendish obstacle course in the quickest time. The course is 253 metres and situated in the town of Sonkajärvi.
The event apparently has its origins in the 19th century when the practice of abducting local women was popular. Under spoilsport modern Finnish law this pastime is now illegal so the locals have kept the tradition alive in the form of the wife-carrying race. The winner gets his wife's weight in beer. This could be a very good event for me as I happen to have a very small wife.
Ice Golf – This takes place in Greenland and is self-explanatory. There is a world championship held each year and enterprising golfers hack their way through glaciers and snow in temperatures as low as -50c. The ball is orange and there is the risk of losing it to a polar bear.
Having played a couple of rounds down in the Cotswolds over Christmas, I think I'm pretty prepared for this one. It was minus six last week and I could barely hold my club so I'm not sure how it works in Greenland but I'm sure that they've got it organised.
If I'm honest, I'm somewhat of a fair-weather golfer but this does sound interesting. I've always wanted to go to Greenland but had absolutely no reason to do so until now.
The Redneck Games – Originally set up as a jokey alternative to the Atlanta Olympics this event is now huge in the United States. Sports include hurling toilet seats, bobbin' for pigs' feet and hubcap hurlin'. The slogan for the games is "everyone and their butt crack is welcome". I partake in several UK Redneck activities in the Cotswolds. I do quite a lot of cow-tipping, my fair share of cow-pat frisbee and there's the cheese rolling that a lady named Zoe has paid a considerable sum to take part in with me.
The problem is that rednecks don't like us Brits. I've had three very hairy run-ins with groups of them in Alabama and Mississippi. Unlike the presenters of Top Gear, I wasn't driving through their patch in cars with things like "man love" and "Hilary for president" on them. That would be just stupid. Once I had the temerity to walk into a gas station outside Jackson, Mississippi, and ask for the "loo". I was very nearly lynched.
Another time it was something about my clothing that set off a bearded man in Birmingham, Alabama. He punched me very hard in the face about 10 seconds after I'd walked into a bar. Still, I'm sure the Redneck games will be fun(ish).
The weirdest "sport" I've done so far was in New Zealand and it consited of being strapped to a huge rocket that was suspended on a wire over a steep ravine and then fired off to swing like some huge crazy pendulum for 10 uncontrolled minutes.
Looking back I'm not even sure if it was a sport per se. It was more an activity for people with suicidal inclinations. There are a lot of these type of things in New Zealand where the boredom threshold is high. It might be worth me revisiting and doing a "weird world" special from there.
Email your votes for which of the above three you fancy me doing to Sport@Independent.co.uk.
Honours even, only because I can't remember what they all mean
Excellent to see all the Olympics stars getting their Honours last week. I'm still a little confused about the hierarchy though. If you're knighted then that's obviously brilliant as your wife finally becomes a "lady" and everyone can call you "sir" and you get top tables in restaurants. The CBE, MBE and OBE, however, are a little vaguer. First, it's much more difficult to drop your titles into a dinner reservation – "Yes, hello can I book a table for two in the name of Hamilton, Lewis Hamilton...MBE?" Also, there is a difference between MBE and CBE but I can never remember what. I think the OBE is supposed to be a little, how can I put this, classier than the MBE. The CBE is clearly a "top table" one for posh events like sailing – it seems however, that the Queen thinks Rebecca Adlington (OBE) is posher than Christine Ohuruogu (MBE). I'd love to be in those decision meetings...
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