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UNUSUAL PASTIMES, NO. 18

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The 1970s witnessed an explosion in streaking – an activity defined, rather splendidly, by The Times in 1973 as ‘racing nude between two unpredictable points’. HISTORY Although the relationship between human nakedness and sporting endeavour has links back to Greek times, sociologists trace the popularity of streaking amongst spectators to American college campuses which, at times, seemed almost overrun with students altogether. In 1974 the Dean of Memphis State University became so exasperated by naked students he decreed that undergraduates caught streaking would be suspended.

FAMOUS STREAKERS Perhaps the most infamous British streakers include Erica Roe (undisputed ‘queen of streaking’), Michael O’Brien, Michael Angelow and Mark Roberts, who has more than 300 streaks under his non-existent belt, including Wimbledon, the Grand National and even Crufts.


g n i k CULTURAL INFLUENCE The campus-streaking craze inspired Ray Stevens’ novelty record The Streak, which was recorded in 1974, spent 3 weeks at No.1 in the USA and sold over a million copies. In the same year, without doubt the most famous non-sporting streak was performed by 33-year- old Robert Opal, who sauntered naked behind David Niven at the Oscar ceremony. Opinion is divided as to whether or not the exposure of Janet Jackson’s nipple by Justin Timberlake during Super Bowl 38’s halftime show qualifies as even a very partial streak. POPULARITY Although streaking has had its knockers, the activity is still popular and few sporting events are safe from the determined exhibitionist: Royal Ascot, Spain’s Pamplona bull run, the Tour de France, international synchronised swimming, and even the world snooker championships have all been targeted.

“It is impossible to enjoy idling thoroughly unless one has plenty of work to do.” Jerome K.Jerome (1859-1927)


UNUSUAL PASTIMES, NO. 18

K A E

R T S

The 1970s witnessed an explosion in streaking – an activity defined, rather splendidly, by The Times in 1973 as ‘racing nude between two unpredictable points’. HISTORY Although the relationship between human nakedness and sporting endeavour has links back to Greek times, sociologists trace the popularity of streaking amongst spectators to American college campuses which, at times, seemed almost overrun with students altogether. In 1974 the Dean of Memphis State University became so exasperated by naked students he decreed that undergraduates caught streaking would be suspended.

FAMOUS STREAKERS Perhaps the most infamous British streakers include Erica Roe (undisputed ‘queen of streaking’), Michael O’Brien, Michael Angelow and Mark Roberts, who has more than 300 streaks under his non-existent belt, including Wimbledon, the Grand National and even Crufts.


G N I

K

CULTURAL INFLUENCE The campus-streaking craze inspired Ray Stevens’ novelty record The Streak, which was recorded in 1974, spent 3 weeks at No.1 in the USA and sold over a million copies. In the same year, without doubt the most famous non-sporting streak was performed by 33-year- old Robert Opal, who sauntered naked behind David Niven at the Oscar ceremony. Opinion is divided as to whether or not the exposure of Janet Jackson’s nipple by Justin Timberlake during Super Bowl 38’s halftime show qualifies as even a very partial streak.

POPULARITY Although streaking has had its knockers, the activity is still popular and few sporting events are safe from the determined exhibitionist: Royal Ascot, Spain’s Pamplona bull run, the Tour de France, international synchronised swimming, and even the world snooker championships have all been targeted.

“It is impossible to enjoy idling thoroughly unless one has plenty of work to do.” Jerome K.Jerome (1859-1927)


“SERIOUS SPORT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH FAIR PLAY... IT IS WAR MINUS THE SHOOTING.” George Orwell ( 1903 - 50 )


UNUSUAL PASTIMES, NO.27

PARTICIPANTS Each elephant has two people on its back; the player who strikes the ball, and the mahout who handles and steers the elephant. Smaller, more nimble elephants are favoured for offensive roles, though older female elephants are often placed defensively near goal to intimidate male competition.

It should come as no surprise that a sport as idiosyncratic as elephant polo should have been dreamt up in a St Moritz bar by two dedicated riders of the Cresta Run. The brainchild of Jim Edwards and Olympic tobogganed James Manclark; elephant polo is governed by the World Elephant Polo Association (WEPA), which hosts its annual tournaments on a grass airstrip just outside the Royal Chitwan National Park, in Nepal. Although many similarities exist between elephant polo and its equestrian forerunner, a number of modifications have been made to allow for the inherent differences between horses and pachyderms. the Royal Chitwan National Park, in Nepal. Although many similarities exist between elephant polo and its equestrian forerunner, a number of modifications have been made to allow for the inherent differences between horses and pachyderms.

EQUIPMENT Although the game used to be played with footballs, the elephants quickly developed a passion for stamping on the balls until they exploded. Nowadays standard polo balls are used. Sticks range from 6-9ft in length, varying on the size of the elephant, and have a traditional mallet head.

THE PITCH RULES A game is comprised of two 10 minute chukkas, with a 15 minute interval during which elephants and ends are changed. To avoid instinctive but dangerous herding behaviour, no team may have more than 3 elephants in one half at any time. A foul is committed if an elephant lies down in front of the goalmouth. Similarly, a foul is committed if an elephant picks up the ball with its trunk. To ensure that the elephants do not overheat, games are not played after midday. ‘Ball-boys’ are responsible for removing piles of dung, to avoid the possibility of balls becoming ensnared, or excrement being flung by swinging mallets.

The elephant polo pitch is 210m x 70m, 3⁄4 that of a traditional pitch, with 4 players on each side.


“SERIOUS SPORT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH FAIR PLAY... IT IS WAR MINUS THE SHOOTING.” George Orwell ( 1903 - 50 )


UNUSUAL PASTIMES, NO. 27

It should come as no surprise that a sport as idiosyncratic as elephant polo should have been dreamt up in a St Moritz bar by two dedicated riders of the Cresta Run. The brainchild of Jim Edwards and Olympic tobogganed James Manclark; elephant polo is governed by the World Elephant Polo Association (WEPA),

RULES

which hosts its annual tournaments on a grass airstrip just outside the Royal Chitwan National Park, in Nepal. Although many similarities exist between elephant polo and its equestrian forerunner, a number of modifications have been made to allow for the inherent differences between horses and pachyderms.

A game is comprised of two 10 minute chukkas, with a 15 minute interval during which elephants and ends are changed. To avoid instinctive but dangerous herding behaviour, no team may have more than 3 elephants in one half at any time. A foul is committed if an elephant lies down in front of the goalmouth.

Similarly, a foul is committed if an elephant picks up the ball with its trunk. To ensure that the elephants do not overheat, games are not played after midday. ‘Ball-boys’ are responsible for removing piles of dung, to avoid the possibility of balls becoming ensnared, or excrement being flung by swinging mallets.

EQUIPMENT

PARTICIPANTS

Although the game used to be played with footballs, the elephants quickly developed a passion for stamping on the balls until they exploded. Nowadays standard polo balls are used. Sticks range from 6-9ft in length, varying on the size of the elephant, and have a traditional mallet head.

Each elephant has two people on its back; the player who strikes the ball, and the mahout who handles and steers the elephant. Smaller, more nimble elephants are favoured for offensive roles, though older female elephants are often placed defensively near goal to intimidate male competition.

THE PITCH traditional pitch, with 4 players on each side.


FIN


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