This month our neighbors to the South are hosting the 31st Olympiad. But being from the Midwest, I wanted to shed light on games that are no longer part of the formal International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) approved competition schedule. However, each unusual game was at one point part of the official summer or winter games over the last century. But don’t worry your pretty little Yankee head. These odd games thrive and are alive in states like Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri, Arkansas, and Nebraska. Rumors have been strategically leaked that the lesser known RNBKACH (Red Neck Bald Knobber Arkie Corn Husker) Committee is formulating a You Tube application process as of this writing. Please note, that attempts to imitate these lesser-known games are done at your own risk. They should be recorded and immediately published for others’ enjoyment on the World Wide What-the…?!
- Marco Polo – In days of yore, this graceful competition was known as Solo Synchronized Swimming as recent as 1984. The odd title alone lends itself to confusion. How can a competition be “solo” and “synchronized” simultaneously? 36 years later, Midwesterners refined the sport, added a second person, and now hide from and seek each other in a water-filled horse tank. The Olympic size pool previously used for this competition proved to be too large for a blind-folded game of grab-ass. (Photo by zimbio)
- Tailwater Twirl – The 1920 London Olympics’ center stage featured tug of war, in which the London Police Force dominated and took gold for their efforts. In the nether regions of Kansas, they have revived the highly competitive dance competition, Tailwater Twirl. The rules are simple: each dance couple takes up the opposite side of a heifer rope and attempts to pull their darling through the Tailwater sludge, thus declaring the King or Queen of the Tailwater Pit. On rare occasion, one may find an errant pheasant hunter scoping out the gaming grounds. (Photo by utdallas)
- Squab Snipe – In order to snipe a squab (pigeon), game rules require both a spotter and a sniper. To make this completely unfair for the bird and award all advantage to the competitors, the RNBKACH allows 6 or more contestants to party snipe together, but only in Texas. There were no City Squabs harmed in the writing of this spoof. Surprising as it may seem, Live Pigeon Shooting was an event during the 1900 Paris Olympic games. 72 competitors from 8 countries shot almost 400 birds. Could this have been the genus of the coined phrase “Bird Shot?” (Photo by CNN)
- Make My Day – Horse thieves were abundant at the turn of the century. Any Oklahoma horse owner in 1912 was justified in taking aim at a scoundrel attempting to scallywag his herd. However, the Olympic committee in the ’12 games held in Stockholm called this sport Dueling Pistols. Contestants marked off their paces, turned and fired at a dummy. So you can see, there is not much difference between either sport. (Photo by globalpost)
- Dinnertime – The Nebraska cornfields can be a cold place in January. To commemorate their dedication to arriving for dinner on time, they took to skiing behind their quickest horse using reins the length of your average clothes line. This usually prevented Maw from tossing their din-din into the pig slop bin. In 1928, competitors of the St. Mortiz, Switzerland Olympics called it Skijoring. Today, this extreme sport is sometimes carried out with sled dogs and may or may not be known as the Iditarod. (Photo by CNN)
I wanted to feature one sport that is still very much alive in the current Olympics. Although, it has taken years for spectators to grab the concept of exactly what the competitors are doing. Even sports announcers have invented their own language for the sport. Words such as Bonspiel, Hammer, Hack, and Tee Line are used to describe both the name of the competition and activities of the contestants. Canadians, Scots, and the Chinese are masters of this sport and have paved the way for Midwesterners to add this very popular game to their 2016 Rio de Midwest Olympic games.
Mopping – The uniforms are still somewhat a mystery to spectators, but the sport’s athletic prowess is undeniable. Most Midwesterners have been groomed for this sport from an early age. Skill and technique are key while mopping. One cannot just willy-nilly push the mop handle around the room. Higher points are awarded for scrubbing form, and broken handles will result in disqualification and going straight to bed without dinner.