Monday, September 23, 2019

Oh, the Games People Play



Brueghel egg dance
The Egg Dance
History is a bloody horror. Between war, politics, brutality, plagues, intrigue, and so much other parts of inhumanity in post-Crusades, the common people suffered incredibly miserable and hard lives.

Very few times of pleasure and joy existed. Love, sex, family, and successful amounts of food to eat were about it. But there had to be more to life.

Communities pulled together in whatever hell was going on around them. With this unity and great imagination, they found other ways to raise their joy in different ways. 

The English are truly creative in this. I know that all countries are as well, but the information on the English is readily available. Crazy people, them.

Cooper's Hill Cheese Rolling and Wake: Competitors must race down a steep hill, chasing and trying to catch a round of cheese (preferably a double Gloucester cheese) as it rolls and plummets to the bottom of the hill.

Dwile Flonking: Competitors use a pole to launch beer-soaked cloth at opponents. Missing a target twice results in the flonker must quickly down a pot/pint of ale before the opposing team can pass a soaked cloth to each other.

Ferret Legging: Ferrets are trapped in trousers worn by the participant. The winner is the last one to release his/her ferret.

Wellie Wanging: Competitors must hurl a Wellington boot as far as possible within boundary lines from a running or standing start.

Shin-Kicking or hacking or purring (from the early 17th century): Two contestants attempt to kick each other in the shins, to force their opponent to the ground. 

Numerous YouTube videos are available to elaborate on these games. Although these community games date back centuries, interest has resurged and have developed a following along with rules and awards.


YouTube Shin Kicking Championship 2019
hosted by Glouscester

So, the games that were designed by humble village people as a diversion for their lives have now developed as part of the 21st century. Not video games or dependence on electronics, but this involves interaction with real people in real time settings. 

History has taken some detours and games have evolved. Good or bad. But people have always known how to party.


51 comments:

  1. Love the English celebration of eccentricity. Bog snorkelling (while more modern) has always made me smile.

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    1. I didn't put that one down. there were sooo many crazy games.

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  2. I'll have to simulate a Dwille Flonking contest with my son! The ferret thing had me humming, "the day the squirrel went berserk, in the First Self-Righteous Church, in that sleepy little town of Pascagoula..."

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    1. Ray Stevens was brilliant! I listened to that many times, giggled each time.

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  3. Great post. The past was indeed a bad time. These diversions were so interesting. For some reason the cheese roll sounds appealing. I would love to give it a try!

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    1. I think you'd need life and injury insurance. This game has gotten pretty brutal. It is all those millennials.

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  4. haha I think I'd pass on the ferret in my pants.

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  5. I've heard of the Cheese Rolling event and the Wellie Tossing event, but the others are new to me. The Ferret Down the Pants one sounds terrifying!

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    1. One would think. A guy would have to be pretty darn drunk.

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  6. It is good that people can find diversions, especially when they can get their children to put down their electronics.

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    1. I draw the line at the ferret thing. The rest have a certain charm!

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    2. Ferrets must have developed when a bunch of men were rip roaring drunk.

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  7. Highly recommended: http://www.bouncethemovie.com/

    It's about 1 hour, 15 minutes long. One of the best documentaries I've ever seen, all about this sort of stuff and more.

    No Ferret-Legging, though.

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  8. Ferret-Legging. Now I have heard everything. At least they aren't flinging the ferrets at the other team's faces.

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  9. Oh my gosh! The ferret thing! Just the thought is terrifying. If coerced into participating, I'd let my ferret loose straightaway, and yell, "I LOSE!" I saw the cheese-rolling on The Amazing Race. I laughed so hard I cried.

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    1. Why people would create the ferret event is beyond me.

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  10. They still do that cheese thing. I saw a video of it not too long ago.

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  11. There are quite a few of such celebrations. There are also burning of old man winter in effegy, a burry man celebration or two, and horn dances are still popular. What's really fun is to research which of these traditions have been going on almost uninterrupted for anywhere from a hundred to almost a thousand years.

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  12. Many of those remind me of games we played as children. They might have been altered a bit but they are still the same.

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    1. Same here. Seeing the write up from Wikipedia, I can see the similarities.

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  13. I had no idea the aim of the cheese rolling was to catch the cheese. I thought the winner was the cheese which reached the bottom of the hill first with the least amount of damage. Some of the other games sound pretty dangerous, but so is football.

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    1. In Switzerland, big wheels of cheese are brought down from the mountains on a small sled. that became a game where those wheels are rolled down with competitors doing all sorts of things.

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  14. So sad that these traditions are disappearing, together with the character of our villages, Susan. There are so many people settling here and bringing with them different ways of life. I now know what those Anglo-Saxons felt when William 1 arrived with his new tangled ideas 🤗

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    1. Isn't that true. The face of the villages are changing. Next thing you'll know, someone will build a WalMart.

      William 1 also changed the face of the country.

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  15. These games sound mostly male oriented as I can’t imagine a woman putting a ferret up her pants. We have more sense, besides, we would be needed to bandage up all these “fun loving” daredevils.

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    1. Women are the ones who clean up after. Can't imagine women doing anything so stupid.

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  16. Amazing you can come up with this. I think the Ferret Legging has the 'toughest' mental picture to handle. HA! Great read lady, But I must admit I would prefer a 'Shin-dig' to the shin kicking.!!!!
    OUCH
    Sherry & jack

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    1. The ferret game is the most insane. Ferrets are wild animals, not pets!

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  17. Oh, my word! That shin-kicking was crazy! And the names! Flonk that dwile!

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  18. Those games sound interesting and fun. I would skip the shin-kicking game. That sounds rough and not fun like. :)

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  19. Replies
    1. British mystery show "Midsomer Murders" shows many towns where fete' and annual gatherings show many of the unique games that fascinate me.

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  20. From the time they created a weapon, man always been at war. It's only now until the age of nuclear weapons, that men aren't being forced to fight a rich man's war.

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    1. That is true. Ferret legging came about because the wealthy valued ferrets as keeping rats out of dwellings. So, the game happened.

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  21. Picture this, two of us sit down and I make a statement about your past. I've always been a good judge. If I get it right you take a drink, wrong I take a drink and we take turns. Whoever is sober enough to stand up at the end is the winner.

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  22. Hi Susan,
    So true! Interesting bit of information.
    No dearth of conflict and bloodshed even now.
    Not surprising that these games are getting sort of resurrected and reformatted.

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  23. i loved this post dear Susan :)

    hubby and me often discuss about human suffering caused by wars and epidemics specially when we watch historical shows
    we find that man of this planet has hardly seen a peaceful time after two world wars
    social and all other kind of stability has taken place and people can take breath and focus on enjoyment
    haha i find video interesting ,new game ,it was nice to know that players hit on grass lol

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  24. One of my least notable actions in life is to have taken part in a wellie wanging competition, in which I did not even come close to winning.

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Go ahead...it won' t hurt...I'd love to hear what you think!