Jun 10th 2010 By Luke McKinney
The Super Bowl may be the most famous sports event in America, but it's about as manly as breaking a nail on your handbag clasp: They wear armor to protect themselves, they take breaks every 30 seconds, and they've got more hospital equipment on the sidelines than an army of diabetic grandparents.
The uniforms might as well include frilly panties, and to prove it, here are six sports whose players could force Jerome Bettis to wear them.
1. The Eskimo Ear Pull
It sounds like something the bullies administer in the first 10 minutes before the wimpy kid learns kung fu, but it's one of the toughest sports in the Eskimo Olympics.
And the Eskimo Olympics
make every other sporting event in the world look like a Hugging Competition. Living at minus-40 Fahrenheit in an environment where "forgetting to close the door fully" can kill your entire family in their sleep makes for tougher people, in the same way building robots out of titanium and wrapping them in Arnold Schwarzenegger makes for tougher soldiers.
The Ear Pull is basically a tug-of-war where you're trying to rip pieces of the other guy's face off -- using the same pieces of yours. Wires are tied between the competitors ears and they pull backward. The first one to cry "uncle" is the loser, but still tougher than the 5.9999999 billion people who don't play Eskimo Ear Pull.
2. The Antarctic Rugby Match
Just taking off the armor and deciding not to stop for naptime twice a minute instantly turns American Football into one of the manliest sports in the world: rugby, where throwing the ball forward is for p*ssies. But to truly turbo-charge the testicular factor, you need to play in a place that kills people. Like Antarctica.
That's the annual Antarctic rugby match
, where the staff of an American research base leave the "building that keeps them alive" to play, in ascending order of danger:
1. Rugby in Antarctica
2. At the base of an active volcano
3. Against New Zealanders, aka "the rugby equivalent of an army of Robo-Vaders"
The McMurdo research station team has lost 26-0, and that's not the score -- that's their win-loss record over a quarter-century. And they keep going back for more. That's tough.
Boring towns might rally round their local team, but Scottish towns ARE the team, the spectators and the playing field
. Whoever invented the "Fastern Eve Handba" event decided, "Why hire teams when every event has perfectly good mobs already?", dividing the entire population of the town into two teams well-suited to tribal warfare.
Each half has to get the ball to the other end of the town, usually as a gigantic rampaging mob physically pushing the other half, and the ball, and a fair fraction of the town, to wherever they think it should be. The winning team then has a Victory Fight among itself over who gets the ball -- the only sport where the prize is more physical violence.
As if "The Breakdown of Civic Order as a Regular Sporting Event" wasn't tough enough, this is actually the toned-down version. Ba was originally based on Vikings batting the severed head of a local resident through the pillaged town as an après-rampage cooldown. Until some cloned velociraptors, there'll be nothing tougher in existence, and even then they'll need to sport saddles and machine guns to outdo Ba.
4. The Australian Flintstones Boat Race
The Henley-on-Todd regatta
is one of the only annual events based entirely on mocking another country. The town of Henley looked at the utterly dry bed of the ex-river Todd and decided "We'll have a boat race anyway!"
The "boats" are traditionally made out of empty beer cans and foot-powered down the dusty non-waterway to cheering, also beer-can using, crowds.
It's the only regatta in the world to be canceled due to water; in 1993, unexpected rains provided an actual river. Too bad the Henleyians think only wimps cheat by using water to move a boat.
5. Elephant Polo
If you said you could make Polo manly we'd laugh at you, but if you said it from the back of an elephant carrying a 9-foot hammer we'd say, "Yes, sir!" That's the idea behind Elephant Polo
, which really shouldn't need any further explanation.
It was born in a drunken conversation between a Scottish landowner, an international polo player, an Olympic toboganner and the chairman of an international consulting firm -- and those were only two people. They decided that since one could play polo and the other owned elephants that there was only one course of action, confirming the fact that alcohol remains the best invention of all time.
6. Octopus Wrestling
Octopus wrestlers are so tough they say, "Bears are OK to fight, but I wish they had twice the number of limbs and lived where I can't breathe."
A Time article from 1965
confirms that there were several styles of octopus wrestling, but what they described as the "really sporty" (i.e., "non-girly") method was to struggle with the cephalopod without benefit of breathing apparatus. Because if you're going to insist on a constant oxygen supply, you might as well arrive with a perfume-scented note from your mother.