6 Weird World Championships
Everybody wants to be the greatest in the world at something. That’s why we have events like the Olympics: to celebrate the incredible achievements of people who have completely and utterly mastered their chosen skill. Unfortunately, we can’t all be world class sprinters or swimmers. But don’t worry: there are enough people who have the desire to be a world champion at something, anything, that ridiculously specific events have been created, allowing pretty much anyone who gets serious about them to immediately count themselves as among the best in the world. So if you want to be a world champ but don’t want to put too much effort into earning your title, then consider competing at one of these weird tournaments.
Rock-Paper-Scissors is the universal method of conflict resolution for children and immature adults, and ever since 2002 the World RPS Society (a group dedicated to promoting the game around the world, for the benefit of the three people who have never heard of it) has hosted an annual world championship. You would think that a tournament based around a game that’s pure luck would be a rather dull affair, and, well, you’d be right. But dull doesn’t have to mean small and cheap; just look at NASCAR.
For starters, there’s a pretty serious cash prize, generally around 10,000 dollars. There’s also a surprising amount of media coverage and sponsorship. The 2009 tournament was sponsored by Yahoo, although we think that says less about the prestige of RPS than it does about Yahoo’s sad state. And since anyone can enter, all you need to be the greatest in the world is a little luck and, judging by this video, a completely retarded costume.
There’s nothing inherently competitive about sitting in a steamy room and sweating with a bunch of fat guys, but that didn’t stop some crazy Finnish people from creating the Sauna World Championships. The rules are pretty simple: whoever can last the longest wins. But the competitors aren’t sitting around in your grandma’s sauna; they sauna hardcore, starting proceedings off at a balmy 230 degrees and hitting a hot stove with a half-litre of water every 30 seconds to keep the steam coming. It’s not a winner takes all event either; the tournament requires four rounds spread out over two days. And for an event that demands no movement, we have to admit that a fair bit of physical effort is involved. Although we expect that 90% of it is just chugging down as much Gatorade as you can before your turn.
The spectacle draws a decent crowd, which is proof that there’s absolutely nothing of interest in Finland. Seriously, think about it; it’s a bunch of people sitting around and watching a grainy camera feed of a bunch of other people sitting in a steamy, barely visible room. What could possibly make people want to – oh, apparently beer and sausages flow like water. Sweet, we’re in!
Throwing unwieldy crap as far as possible is one of the oldest tests of strength and skill in history. Whether it’s tossing a heavy metal ball, discus or letting loose with a javelin, these simple but impressive feats are done by athletes who need to train long and hard if they want to have any hope of becoming the world’s greatest. But when you change the object being thrown to something retarded, like a cell phone, then suddenly all of the prestige and respectability vanishes into thin air.
An annual competition is usually held in Finland (seriously Finland, find some real hobbies), and includes both a pure distance event as well as one that rewards style and choreography. We’re not sure how much grace you can add to the flinging of your Nokia, and to show you just how low the standards are: the 2008 edition was won by a dog that spat a phone a few centimeters forward. So hey, you could have a future mobile phone throwing champion trotting around your house right now!
There’s also a category for children, because you’re never too young to enjoy tossing old electronics around, and finally there’s a team event. So when the 2011 championship rolls around watch out for the celebrity dream team of Russell Crowe and Naomi Campbell. No, seriously, watch out.