Monday, July 16, 2012

Highland Fling

On Saturday, the ladyfriend and I took a rare trip outside the most immediate environs of our slice of paradise to check out the Highland Games in Antigonish, the closest to authentic pronounciation we were able to come up with is "Annie Gnish (like knish)".  It was, quite honestly, a lot of fun.  While I didn't get to check to see what clan my family (father's side) might be connected to, we did get to see some Highland dancing, some heavy games events (yes, heavy), bagpipe competition, and, our favourite, the tug-of-war.
 We caught three of the heavy games events.  I couldn't get a good picture of the 16lb hammer toss, but we did get to see the caber toss, which was quite impressive.  The winner of that event was a lawyer from Brooklyn, NY.  Yay, Brooklyn!
The other event was 'weight for height,' where participants took turns throwing a 56-pound weight over an ever-higher bar.  The winner tossed it over the 17 feet mark.  The announcer kept saying that tossing that stone was like tossing a six-year-old.  I've known some six-year-olds I've wanted to toss (not the boy, of course).  I'll just keep it at that.

There were pipers galore, and at times, so many different bands practicing that it was hard to figure out who was piping where and for what purpose (dancing?  competition?  just because?).  But I happen to love bagpipes (and yes, accordians), so it was great. 

The judges were also compelling in the seriousness with which they took their tasks.
Finally, we loved the tug-of-war.  We caught part of one match when we arrived and were able to watch two matches in their entirety before we left.
There's a lot of strategy involved in this - who knew?  We both thought the whole thing was just pulling the other team over the line, but no - there's the waiting out of your opponent (matches are time-specific) as well as moves and countermoves.

Of course I want to try it sometime.  Maybe we should try to organize one at Mich.

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