Each year, The Olympiad Committee reviews requests from various sports clubs around the globe asking that their newly-invented athletic disciplines be accepted as part of the Olympic Games. All clubs are hopeful that their ludicrous sports games will become part of the biggest sports event in the world, especially ever since powerwalking became a major Olympic discipline. Therefore, after much thought and caffeinated early morning assemblies and mid-afternoon reunions and late-night meetings, the Committee finally reached a decision as to which new sports to introduce in the Olympics.
Feeling that it was time for a groundbreaking change, the decision makers opted for the unconventional sports diciplines proposed by the International Alternative Sports Club. Their decision was based on originality, daredevilry (one must be a daredevil to be able to pull off such a stunt as submitting these sports ideas to the Olympiad Committee) and reality-relevance. As a matter of fact, they were really impressed at how these disciplines reflect real life in big cities and suburbs and how easily they may be integrated in one's life.
As one member of the Committee explains, "Inspired by real life, these are sports anyone of any age can practice. They're also practical, as you can exercise anytime, anywhere, whether in the city, the countryside or simply on your very own front lawn. And the cost is minimal. No special equipment is required, no exorbitant gym fees. However, you will have to invest in some good tennis shoes if you want to go pro. You won't need a coach, but joining your local Alternative Sports Club may be helpful". Like any professional sportsman, you need to train hard. "The competition is fierce. Parisians are particularly good. But you still have four years of intensive practice if you want to compete in the next Olyumpic Games, when these disciplines will be officially introduced". He also recommends moving to Paris, like American Tour de France champion Greg Lemond had done, to insure intensive training. As different - alternative - and accessible as these new Olympic categories may be, they still require as much physical stamina and mental concentration as any other competitive sport.
There are four new categories: the 100m ZigZag Run, the Whoops Jump, the Super-Powerwalk and Sidewalking.
You're thinking, "How not original". Well, imagine jogging or walking in the city or in your local park. Are the streets, sidewalks, lanes all smooth and clear, with no "objects" in sight? My guess is that you often encounter some sort of undesirable object deposited by "man's best friend" and therefore can't jog or run in one consistent line, but instead zigzag your way through. You're always steering yourself left or right to avoid "it". Well, this is what makes these games so original and a breath of fresh air (so to speak). They have a modern approach and, although different disciplines, they nevertheless share a common detail. And it is precisely that which renders these games so different, um... alternative.
Just what is this detail? First of all, it is known as props. The props are plastic imitations of a substance we'll call doggy-do (rather doggy-don't). You're thinking, "How icky!" well, they are plastic. At first, the Committee did consider using the real thing, but then thankfully waived the idea for obvious reasons of hygiene and other inconveniences. And at least one can say truly say now that the introduction of new sports games is a breath of fresh air and mean it. Before waiving that idea, the Committee had also considered using dogs from pounds to provide the props - at least they would be doing something instead of sitting in a cage all day - but, luckily, the Committee declared hygiene more important (Aah! These conscientious people should set up the an HSO, Hygienic Streets Organization, within the United Nations, but that's a different story which will appear in U.N. Organizations We'd Like to See). Besides, there are just so many dogs in a given place at a given time. And besides, dogs have their dignity, too.
The 100m ZigZag Run evidently requires advanced running skills, but also the skill of being able to run while looking ahead (experts recommend fixing your eyes on an object. This may cause you to look demented, but if you practice hard enough, you'll eventually get the hang of it and be able to observe several objects and the scenery and look normal) and avoiding the props which, inventors persist to insist, exist on real streets and in real parks. To see the do's, you may not look down directly - no head tilting downwards, just your eyeballs are allowed to move. The rules of the game consist of running fast, avoiding the doggy-do's by zigzagging your way around them (no jumping allowed) and keeping in your own lane.
The Whoops Jump requires both good running and jumping skills. The purpose of the game is to jump over a few feet (or yards, depending on the level of the competitors) of doggy-do. This might be reminiscent to some of early morning jogging sessions in a beautiful park when they suddenly come across ...eew ...doggy-do. The speed at which they're running being too fast to be able to stop, they have no alternative (there goes that word again) but to jump! If you're a beginner, this is best practiced with a beach towel laid out on the ground. Once you are able to jump over the towel, you can start getting riskier.
The Super-Powerwalk is a bit like the 100m ZigZag Run, no jumping over the do's and no looking directly down (eyes must do the bending to see, not the head). This is a more difficult discipline, however, as an excessive usage of the arms is required. Any powerwalker knows just how difficult it is to do The Funky Chicken movement while walking real fast. The difficulty is twofold when there are do's to avoid. A real challenge of a sport.
Sidewalking - short for sidewalk walking - is the real novelty. Not only are regular athletic requirements unnecessary, but sports clothes are optional. The game will take place on a specially built set - very Hollywood - consisting of a famous avenue (Park Avenue, Champs-Elysees, to name a few). The participants will be dressed in everyday clothes - suits, jeans, dresses, etc., not to mention nice shoes, and will have to walk - sidewalk - around trying to miss the doggy-do's planted in various places around the set, sorry, sidewalk. These out of the ordinary sportsmen will also play roles - so Hollywood. Business in a hurry, lovebirds taking a stroll, woman window-shopping, kids rollerblading, happy-go-lucky male whistling and daydreaming... No Hollywood movie can ever provide as many roles! Their roles aren't as easy as they sound, though, for they have to miss the do's while doing banal everyday activites. Again, the rules forbid looking down. Exceptional concentration is required. The winners will have the possibility of going to Hollywood (where the sets - the sets - are cleaner).
These games are already becoming famous and inspiring all sorts of useful marketing tactics. Both Nitwitendo and Sory Situation are considering making videogame versions, and Hast'go is thinking of marketing boardgames.
As you may have noticed, the purpose of these games isn't to go faster than lightning, but a more reality-relevant one - to go fast and still be aware of what we face on our streets each day, particularly those of us who live in Parisian suburbs.
The inauguration is due to take place during the next Olympic Games. And if the games prove to be successful, the Olympiad Committee will consider organizing another major sports event, which will probably be called The Alternative Olympic Games. It will also consider adding a new ring (in the shade of bronze) to the famous Olymipic logo.
Before I conclude, I have a piece of advice for the Olympiad Committee: get some de-caf!
Run The Planet thanks Get Lost Magazine (www.getlostmagazine.com) for the permission to reprint the article "Alternative Olympics" by Talia Soghomonian. Talia Soghomonian lives in Paris and excels in many Nouveau-Olympic events in the course of an average workday. Text copyright © by Get Lost Magazine. Illustration copyright © 2003 by Run The Planet.