To the Extreme

Discover your internal daredevil

By Jason Santerre

Cheese Rolling
People rarely associate cheese with athleticism, but the folks in Gloucester, England do. Not only is the area known for its full-fat, mild cheese, the annual Cheese Rolling Competition at Cooper’s Hill is the area’s real claim to fame, attracting thousands of spectators and participants every year.

Legend has it, several farmers settled disputes by rolling a wheel of cheese down the extremely steep incline. The first farmer to reach the bottom of the hill with said wheel in hand was crowned prince of the pasture. These days, the wheels of cheese weigh in around 3.5 kilos and can roll down the hill at speeds surpassing 100 km/h. Catch this year’s rollers on May 28.

Underwater Hockey
When all the ice melts due to climate change (sorry Donald Trump, but it exists), we might just have to move our beloved game under water. Divers for the British Navy were the first to invent the sport over half a century ago. Not only did the sport keep divers fit — improving their agility and lung capacity — it helped boost morale.

Underwater hockey has a legitimate governing body and is played in more than 20 countries. Participants make use of a pool that’s at least 25 metres by 15 metres and two to four metres deep. A match consists of 15-minute halves with six players in the pool and four on the surface, ready to make “line changes.” Large diving fins, masks, snorkels, and a thick latex glove is the only equipment required. Swimsuits are optional.

Teams faceoff at each end of the pool with one hand on the wall. The puck, which is made of lead, coated in plastic, and weighs just over a kilo, is placed in the middle of the pool’s bottom. When the referee sounds the buzzer, both teams race to get possession of the puck. The McDavids and Ovechkins of the underwater game can use that thick glove to flick the puck toward the net, or a three-metre wide trough. Holding your breath has never been more fun.

Extreme Ironing
How to make the mundane magnificent? Take the yawn-inducing chore of pressing pants to an extraordinary locale, like the top of Mount Everest, hang-gliding over Niagara Falls or while waterskiing down the Mississippi.

It all started during 1997 in the city of Leicester, UK, when Phil Shaw returned home after a long day working at his factory job. “The last thing I wanted to do was start on a pile of ironing,” writes Mr. Shaw on his Facebook page. “I preferred the idea of an evening out pursuing my hobby of rock climbing. Then it occurred to me to combine these activities into an extreme sport.”

As soon as he launched his website, the sport was taken on as an international call to arms, er . . . irons, and both fun-seekers and the foolhardy started ironing in conditions and positions that were more and more extreme. More a stunt than a sport? Perhaps, but all we know for sure is that perfectly pleated pants aren’t worth risking your life.


Spring 2018, Vol 10 N°2

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