Monday, 16 April 2018

N is for Nordic Combined

2018 #AtoZchallenge participation badge
For my A-Z challenge this year I'm taking a look at sports. Olympic ones, ancient ones, weird ones and some just non sporting sports.  I'm not athletic or even particularly fit but there are some sports I enjoy watching and in composing my posts I've come across many that I'd never heard of.  Join me in a sporting journey from the comfort of your couch (or wherever else you're reading this) and thanks for stopping by.

Nordic Combined is the only Olympic Sport starting with N.  The events that are combined are Cross Country Skiing and Ski Jumping.  Two very different disciplines.  Cross Country must need a lot of endurance.  Getting across 10 km of snow is no easy task.  However, although you probably get warm once on the move, as I've discussed before I don't like being cold so I won't be giving that a try.  Moving on to the Ski Jump.  Well the view down from the take off point looks positively scary.  With two long wobbly strips of laminate to land on?  It's certainly not for the faint hearted (counts me out) and maybe you need to be just a bit mad to take part.  My weak ankles would probably disqualify me too if I needed any more reason to walk away.  I can't claim a fear of heights because that would be lying.  It's just the idea of sailing out into open air with no safety net doesn't really appeal.

Ski is actually a Norwegian word from the old Norse word Skid - a split length of wood.  (Probably why the Norwegians are so good at these events.)  These days fibreglass, aluminium alloy, steel or plastic form the laminate material.    The event has been included in the Olympics since 1924 when the first Winter Olympics were held in Chamonix.  Up until very recently women were not allowed to compete and even in the most recent Olympics they only competed in a team event not individually. 

I can't honestly say that watching Nordic Combined is something I've done much of.  I've occasionaly seen the highlights of the Ski Jump when the Olympics were happening but it's definitely not an event that I'd be recording to watch later if I missed it.

So let's move on to an N sport I have experienced - Netball.  Going to an all girls seconday school not playing Netball would have been extremely unlikely.  I quite enjoyed it although I wouldn't say I was very good.  I was certainly not a good enough shot to be put in either of the shooting positions, not big enough to be the Goalkeeper so I usually played Centre or on the Wing.  Either way I did a lot of running around.   My other lasting memory of playing Netball was when a large group of us - mainly family and a few in-laws thrown in were playing, which meant it was mixed teams, with many of the men not fully understanding the rules, like no contact and staying in your designated areas.  It was a bit rough and I ended up losing my glasses at one point.  Fortunately they didn't break but my sister-in-law's brother took a lot of stick for hitting a woman with glasses!  But it was all good fun, just!

Other N sports that sound funny are:
Northern Praying Mantis - a Chinese Martial Art (it's all in the hand shape!)
Ninjutsu - a Japanese Martial Art and
Neppis - a competitive outdoor sport played in Finland, simulating race driving using toy cars.  Sound more like playing than sport to me.

But the one N sport that really made me shudder was Noodling - the catching of fish with bare hands, especially Catfish.  I'm not going to list all the dangers linked to this sport,  I know some readers may be squeamish and losing fingers might seem bad but compared to drowning it could be a bearable price.

Me, I'd like to keep all my fingers and be able to breathe, I wouldn't be touching this one with a barge pole!

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