on Sports
 Carry Lyle's Wife Please by Stan Silliman


Silliman on Sports
By Stan Silliman
Carry Lyle's Wife, Please

        “Sign me up, Silliman,” my neighbor Lyle tells us, “Here’s a sport I can do.”
Lyle is talking the new rage of wife-carrying, an odd sport where a man totes his wife 250 meters, the whole time the package is shouting instructions. Sure, sounds like lots of fun.

    “Mia’s been carrying me, so it’s time for me to step up,” Lyle says. Lyle’s Thai wife, Mia
(yeah, we know, we thought her name meant Missing In Action, too, but Lyle assures us that’s only in the bedroom) is a strapping 97 pounds so Lyle thinks he’s got a big head start.

    “So you think you can make it to Finland?” I ask Lyle, “I don’t think you can run 250 yards (almost three football fields) with no one on your back much less go over log hurdles, carry her through a pond and do all that in close to a minute.”

    Lyle always tries these strange sporting events. He was excited about dwarf bowling. You know the sport where dwarfs are in football outfits and helmets with a handle strapped to their shoulder pads and you toss them into nerf bowling pins. Lyle practiced and all into that sport until the dwarf bit him (something about Lyle putting fingers where shouldn’t have) and then had to undergo tetanus shots because they couldn’t find the dwarf.

    Wife-Carrying as an organized sport was created by the Finns with the first national championship held in Sonkajarvi in 1992.  The rules are simple. A man carries a woman, doesn’t really have to be his wife, through a 250-meter obstacle course. The “wife” has to be 110 pounds or more, and if she’s not (Lyle needs to know this) a weighted sack is added to equalize the weights. The woman must wear a safety helmet and if she’s dropped there’s a 15 second penalty, substantially more when they get home… if she’s the real wife.  The carry can be by piggy-back, fireman’s carry, bride’s carry, or bandit’s carry. The prizes are not big. The winner gets $ 5 per pound of the wife’s weight plus her weight in beer. 
Carry Lyle's Wife Please by Stan Silliman
    I don’t think Lyle’s knows what he’s in for. It’s one thing to carry a 110 pound sack of potatoes over your shoulders for three football fields in about a minute. It would be quite another thing if that sack is screaming at you “Watch out. Can you drive a little smoother? Don’t drop me. Hold me up when we go through the water. Do you want me to get my hair wet? When we win I want to look good for the pictures. Is your stomach growling? I can hear your stomach growling. Let me know when we’re going through the sand. I want to cover my face. That lady over there that Jerry’s carrying, do you see her? Is my butt bigger than hers? Okay, I know, you’re going to say ‘What butt’. This is no time to make a joke. Oh, no! My lipstick has fallen out of my purse.
Can you go back and let me...? You want to look for it after the race? Okay, but if my lips look sappy, you know who’s to blame. Catch up with those Estonians, can you? She looks like a jockey… and she’s whipping him. Why didn’t you get me a whip? Huh? I asked you a question.
You don’t listen to me do you? I thought we were in this together. If I just wanted to go for a ride and not communicate, I would have taken a bus.”

    In the US, the North American championship is held in Newry, Maine. I’m betting Lyle doesn’t make it that far, especially after the above paragraph.

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