September 12, 2003

Sumo Wrestling in the Park

Every year, my section at work has a big picnic in a local park. There are a hundred or so people in the section, divided into six or seven groups, and each year each group is supposed to devise some kind of entertaining game to be played at the picnic. Our group typically doesn't put a whole lot of thought into it; last year, we had a water balloon toss, and this year we provided a jar filled with M&Ms for people to guess the quantity of.

But there's one group that always outdoes the rest of us. Last year, they did their own version of Fear Factor; this year it was sumo wresting.

Yes, sumo wrestling. I neglected to bring my camera this year, and truly I am paying for it. Picture this: a large blue gym mat, about twenty feet square, with a red circle marked on it, and two big overstuffed flesh-colored sumo suits, complete with diapers.

The suits open down the back. You have to slide in feet first while lying on your stomach. Then helpful people do up the velcro and lift you to your feet, because heaven knows you can't get up on your own. And there you and your opponent stand, looking like Tenniel's illustration of Tweedledum and Tweedledee as they prepared to go into battle.

Small children ooh and ah as you rush at each other, flailing your arms and legs madly but achieving only a diffident wave of your hands and an astronaut-like hopping motion. You bang into each other--it's the clash of the titans! Eventually, one of you slips and falls out of the ring. It's best two falls out of three.

Finally, the match is over. Your helpers lay you down on your stomach, and undo the velcro, and you struggle to free yourself from the sumo suit. It's a miracle of nature, how the suit splits open and you emerge, moth-like, from your cocoon, dripping with sweat and tired in every bone.

Several of my co-workers tried it; one of them was still wobbly when we left, over an hour later.

Posted by Will Duquette at September 12, 2003 05:58 PM