Understanding the sport of Wellie Wanging

No, it’s not what you think it is, although it still not your usual sport. Wellie Wanging, also known as Gumboot Throwing, is a sport in New Zealand that consists of throwing a Wellington boot, which is basically like a rubber galoshe, as far as possible within a set boundary. While it originated in Great Britain, the sport’s major event, Gumboot Day, occurs in Taihape, New Zealand. The celebration of gumboots began in 1985 and occurs each year on the Tuesday after Easter. While the sport may sound silly, people take it pretty seriously, and there are very specific official rules, such as “the use of wind assistance is allowed and, indeed, encouraged. Waiting for a suitable gust, however, is limited to one minute. No artificial or man-made wind is to be used” and “no tampering with the welly shall be allowed. Factory finish only. No silicone polish is to be applied”.

Want to experience Wellie Wanging for yourself? The 2012 Gumboot Day Festival will take place on March 10th. To get a better idea of the game’s technique and form, check out the video above.

What is Dwile Flonking?

Never heard of Dwile Flonking? That’s okay, most people haven’t. The sport consists of two teams, each taking turns to dance around the other, Ring Around the Rosie-style. While one team is dancing, the other has a player in the center of the circle, waiting to pelt a beer-soaked dwile (cloth) at a their opponents. The game has some really unusual rules, such as “A ‘dull witted person’ is chosen as the referee or ‘jobanowl’ and the two teams decide who flonks first by tossing a sugar beet. The game begins when the jobanowl shouts “Here y’go t’gither!” and “A full game comprises four ‘snurds’, each snurd being one team taking a turn at girting. The jobanowl adds interest and difficulty to the game by randomly switching the direction of rotation, and will levy drinking penalties on any player found not taking the game seriously enough”.

Not sure you want to get pegged with a beer soaked towel? There is also a virtual Dwile Flonking game that’s actually pretty addictive.

Think Dwile Flonking can be a new Olympic sport? Send an email to boa@boa.org.uk (the British Olympic Association), as there is a group campaigning to make this happen.

The sport you probably haven’t heard of: Rutabaga Curling

While many people use rutabagas as food, there are some that like to use them for sport. Wooden planks make up the “field” for playing the game, with the pitch being around 79 feet and a circular target at the end. The game involves throwing your rutabaga towards the other end of the field and trying to knock opponents vegetables out of the way. And if you’re thinking about using unconventional methods to try to win, think again. In the official rules, it clearly states that “steroids are prohibited and any such use will subject the rutabaga to immediate withdrawal”.

In Ithaca, New York, in particular, Rutabaga Curling is an annual tradition that marks the end of the market season. Since 1996, the town has been playing with rutabagas, although the first official Rutabaga Curl was held in 1998. Why rutabagas? They are just about the only vegetable left in the market that time of year. And, no one wants to eat them.

To see this intense sport for yourself, as well as hear the melodic rutabaga choir, head over to Ithaca on December 17, 2011 and attend the 14th Annual Rutabaga Curling Championship. Or, if you can’t make it in person, check out this video: