4 Manly Fights in Non-Manly Sports
Have you ever noticed that there are a lot of fights in sports? Every week, SportsCenter shows awesome coverage of a dustup in Baseball, Football, Basketball, Hockey, NASCAR, Rugby, Soccer, you name it. However, there has to be some sports with class, right? I mean, you never hear about a fight in ping pong. Well, a quick Google search has revealed that table tennis may in fact be the only sport that retains a “blood free” environment. Examine…
Now, before we get crap in the comments section telling us that chess is in fact, not a sport, but a simple board game, and that we fail at research and do inappropriate things with our mother figures at night, we will have you know that the International Olympic Committee, also known as the Sports Czars, have decreed that chess is in fact a sport, and include it on a list of sports to consider to be included in future Summer Olympic games, alongside such stellar events as Tug-of-War, Surfing, and Sumo wrestling. Which means that you now have to refer to those nerds and old people playing chess in the park as “athletes.”
Now that we’ve established that, let us continue. Our friendly comrades from Austrailia take the noble sport of chess extremely seriously. They have a vast network of chess players that meet in tournaments across the nation to battle it out in a mental crossing of swords (or lightsabers, whatever your preference). The most prestigious tourney is the Doeberl Cup, an invitation only exclusive that attracts the brightest minds in the Outback.
The 2000 cup was won by Aleksandar Wohl, one of the best players in the world at the time. However, what made headlines during this particular tournament went down in the fourth round. A Mr. Alexander Gaft had just checkmated his opponent, and strolled over to the table occupied by David Beaumont, locked in mortal chess combat with an opponent of his own. Chess etiquette dictates that you’re not supposed to heckle the players during a game, but Gaft didn’t care about silly things like etiquette.
Gaft started bothering Beaumont, just wouldn’t shut the hell up. Beaumont got redder and redder, the rage threatening to boil over like so much overcooked spaghetti sauce, until he snapped. Beaumont stood up, presumably said something snappy, like “You’re in check, Mate!” and punched Gaft right in the snozz. Gaft, for some reason not having a clue why this angry Aussie was attacking him, hit back, and the fight was on.
The two men continued to wrestle each other all over the floor until they were pulled apart by other players. Beaumont got up, dusted himself off, and strolled back over to his table to continue his game (probably to discover that his opponent moved all the pieces around.) That was when he was tapped on the shoulder by the chief arbiter, Shaun Press. Apparently fighting is unsportsmanlike conduct in the highly classy world of competitive chess, and Beaumont was disqualified. Gaft was also thrown out, and both were left to drown their sorrows in Foster’s and wonder whether it was worth it. And to answer that for them, yes, it totally was.
In 1956, the good people of Hungary were among the first to realize that Communism wasn’t all that it was cracked up to be. To put it bluntly, it sucked ass. They rose up in the capital of Budapest and overthrew the government, attempting to install a democracy. The neighboring Soviet Union decided that this wasn’t in their best interests. Since subtlety wasn’t one of their strong suits, they went with the much more obvious tactic of sending the Red Army across the border and attacking those evil people who wanted stupid shit like “civil rights” and “freedom of speech.”
The uprising was brutally crushed and 5,000 Hungarians died. News of this reached Melbourne, Australia, where the Summer Olympics was getting underway. The Hungarian water polo team decided to continue the fight, raising the banner of Free Hungary in the Olympic village. The Western world got behind them, and as they progressed in the tournament, their games drew huge crowds of adoring fans who probably couldn’t find Hungary on a map if you asked them to.
Because fate is really awesome, the Hungarians faced the Soviet team in the semi finals. The winner would play for the gold medal. The match was either poorly officiated, or the referee wasn’t a good swimmer, because the game was full of cheap shots, almost fights, and just plain cheating, until, in the final minute, with the Hungarians leading, a Soviet player just hauled off and punched the Hungarian star player right in the kisser.
This set off an all out pool duel. The match was called early, and the Hungarians would go on to win the gold medal. Then they promptly defected to the United States, every single one of them, taking the medals with them as the final insult.
Badminton, like chess, is thought of as being a game for people with very pointy noses and ruffled clothes, who say things like “Hey old boy, have you seen how high futures in these dot com companies are selling? I may have to liquidate some capital by selling the estate in Yorkshire.” But, similar to casual sex and stamp collecting, there are people who transform badminton from a silly backyard picnic game to, well, this:
Holy Macintosh, that video featured a longer volley than the Battle of Bunker Hill, and the intensity of those players is matched only by the obvious cluelessness of the announcer. If there was ever a moment for rapid fire Korean commentating, that would be it. For some reason, badminton is a huge sport in Asia, to the point where the players have groupies. Although, coming from a place where Starcraft players are worshipped as gods, this is hardly surprising.
But, we digress. Taufik Hidayat was the best badminton player in the world in 2004, winning Olympic gold in Athens. But three years before he was champ, he was just a brash young hothead who was always in trouble for something or other. At the 2001 Indonesian National Championships, Hidayat had just finished an argument with his opponent when a couple of fans started heckling him. Hidayat wasn’t about to put up with their BS, since he had better things to do like punch his opponent, so he used his waterbottle as a projectile weapon, possibly mistaking it for a grenade in the heat of the moment.
The water bottle missed its target, but Hidayat didn’t mind. The waterbottle assault turned out to be a clever ruse, to distract the enemy from his true attack: a headlong charge into the stand with his racquet held before him like a sword. The hecklers fled before Taufik’s bloodlust, and the enraged Indonesian swung his weapon around wildly, aiming for anyone in the general vicinity. Then he abruptly stopped, and stuck around for the after match press interview, where he revealed the reason for the rampage. He told the reporter that, “The spectators don’t have the right to offend me.” Depending on who you ask, that line is either the most arrogant or the most badass statement in the history of badminton. It certainly defeats my best badminton line, which consisted of “cockbite,” “assmaster,” and a string of other unintelligible words which we later found out were Portuguese.
Nowhere are athlete’s sexual orientations more called into question than on the cycling circuit. And it isn’t hard to see why. They wear skintight outfits decked out in flamboyant colors, the most famous event is held in France, and the greatest rider of all time is half eunuch.
Don’t tell that to Carlos Barredo of Spain, though. After Stage 6 of the 2010 Tour De France, Barredo had a beef with a Portuguese rider named Rui Alberto Costa, and he was going to have some words with him as long as those words were, “I’m going to jam this bicycle wheel up your ass.” Sure enough, Barredo charged Costa with a bicycle wheel held in a combat stance. His attempt to Pearl Harbor his fellow rider’s face was foiled by his shoes, because while cycling shoes are very aerodynamic and all cool and stuff, turn you into a human crab with a load in your shorts when you try to walk around in them.
Costa fended off the wheel, using some bicycle wheel disarming technique taught only on the Iberian Peninsula, and then the two tried to engage in fisticuffs, but nobody could walk around properly, so it was a rather poor fight as fights go. The two were separated before anymore Latin temper could be displayed, and they were both hauled before Tour officials. So, what were they punished with for this outrageous display of unsportsmanlike conduct? Suspension? Expulsion from the event? The two of them having to hold hands during the next stage?
Nope, they were fined 400 Swiss francs apiece. That translates to about 380 US dollars each. Some of you have paid more money to the court after a DUI. And to think, for the same amount of money that you had to spend for puking in the back of a police car and trying to chase down the pigeon that stole your French fries, you could have attempted to cave in a man’s head with a bike wheel whilst wearing tight shorts. In France! Oh, what might have been.