Sunday, September 14, 2008

Last night I told Hank about a guy who runs with our running club sometimes. His claim to fame is that he's ranked #1 in the United States in a new and upcoming sport. What sport, you ask?

Chess boxing.

It's kind of what it sounds like. Players compete in alternating rounds of chess and boxing. They can win by knockout or checkmate (or a technical decision).

This is both amusing and brilliant. It's amusing because it's obviously ridiculous. The idea that you'd spend a couple minutes bashing somebody's head and then sit down for a few minutes of civilized chess seems like a comedy sketch and not an actual sport. And that thing about my running acquaintance being the #1 guy in the U.S.? That's because he's the only ranked competitor in this sport in the U.S. He must travel internationally for competitions because nobody else plays it here (yet!).

It's a brilliant sport because it's a fantastic combination of the cerebral and physical, identifying the vicious intersection of those two aspects of humanity. Someone who can compete at both those activities at a high level is a remarkable individual, more impressive than the Olympic biathloners who combine the unrelated sports of cross country skiing and shooting. Also, how fantastic is it to play a sport where you can be the top guy in the U.S. due to the sparsity of competitors? Genius!

When I told Hank about this she suggested that I find a combo sport too.

"How about running scrabble?" she tossed out.

Oh. My.

Thank you for playing, Fire, Wheel, Sliced Bread, and Porn but a new idea has taken over the mantle of Best Idea Ever. Running Scrabble.

This is it. This is the idea that can finally establish me as one of the elite. Yes, there are probably thousands of people in the U.S. who could consistently beat me in Scrabble, but how many of those people could also beat me in a marathon? Damn few I'd bet. I could go to the Nationals in this event! Awesome.

It would be a standard marathon race, except every 10 minutes the players would stop running to play 3 minutes of Scrabble. The race would probably take place around a track, so that it would be logistically easy to transition from the running to the board. The points that a player amassed in the Scrabble portion of the competition would knock seconds off of their marathon time (3 seconds per point).

Obviously we could tune the amounts above, but you get the idea.

So, that's me: a potentially world class Running Scrabble player.

What's your combo sport?


Neel Mehta said...

Sarcasm javelin?

Watch out for those Kenyans. You know they can run, but they've also got those "mb" and "nd" Swahili consonant blends going for them.

Mike said...

Javelin, eh? The things you learn.

As for the Kenyans, they might have a language rich with consonant blends (although I'll bet Welsh beats them!) but if they want to be a top Running Scrabble player in the U.S., they'll have to use the Official Word List sanctioned by U.S.'s National Scrabble Association.

I've thought this through.

Sue said...

I've got it:

Swimming & chocolate chip cookie baking.

That's my ideal sport.

Mike said...

Sue, that's a good combo, but the scoring for the chocolate chip cookie part would be so subjective. Cakey vs chewy! Judging controversies would abound!

Mrs. T. said...

Boggle / deer hunting

You can play this in the blind (the place you wait for deer). The shaking of the letters will scare the deer away so there is skill involved. No to mention skinning and cleaning the deer before your next turn...

As a bonus, you've gotten enough meat to feed your family. I was thinking about chess/hunting but that's what we do in the blind most of the time anyway. It's not new.


Mike said...

Deer hunting, eh? The things you learn. Sounds like a perfectly reasonable combo sport though.

Monica said...

ok, this is strange--did you hear about chess boxing on NPR two days ago? I think chess boxing must be experiencing a "tipping point!" It's kinda cool that some gyuy just decided to start a sport.

Mike said...

Hey Monica, no I didn't hear that, but the link that I forgot to include in my blog was to a morning show piece on chess boxing: