HJ-ED-DHJHerald Journal Columns
November 20, 2006

Gretzky, Ruth, Montana, and Bob Cooper

By Matt Kane

The Stanley Cup. The World Series. The Super Bowl.

Each of these events has been known to raise the hairs on the back of the average sports fans’ neck.

Most fanatics can replay the images of Bobby Orr sailing through the air after scoring the game-winning goal in the 1970 Stanley Cup finals; Joe Carter circling the bases after hitting the World Series-winning home run in 1993; and Scott Norwood’s attempted game-winning kick in Super Bowl XXV sailing wide right.

And who can forget Bob Cooper’s decision to go with “scissors” earlier this month at the World Rock Paper Scissors Championships?

What do you mean you’ve never heard of Bob Cooper?

Because his “scissors” sliced his opponent’s “paper,” Cooper can now be mentioned in the same breath as Gretzky, Ruth, and Montana, as a sports legend.

Cooper out-rocked, -papered or -scissored an estimated 500 participants from Canada, the United States, Britain and Norway at the Steam Whistle Brewery in Toronto Nov. 11 en route to the win and the $7,000 check that came with it.

OK, maybe Cooper would fit better in the same category as eating contest legend Takeru Kobayashi, of Japan, who is the six-time running champion of the Nathan’s Famous hot dog eating contest.

Also in the same category as Cooper and Kobayashi is the husband-and-wife team of John and Tess Farra, of Caribou, Maine.

The Farras won the 7th Annual North American Wife Carrying Championships Oct. 7, when John carried Tess 278 yards through an obstacle course.

The couple finished in one minute, 6.5 seconds, nine seconds better than the next couple, to win the top prize, which includes Tess’ weight in beer, soda, and granola bars, five times her weight in cash, and $1,000 towards a trip to Finland for the World Championships.

Too bad John Farra didn’t realize his wife-carrying potential sooner. Before wife carrying, Farra was an Olympic cross country skier. He finished 60th in the classic and 49th in the alpine at the 1992 Winter Olympics in Albertville, France.

In 2005, as a way to celebrate free text massaging, Virgin Mobile USA hosted its first official Thumb Wrestling Championship in Miami.

“Thumb wrestling is hands-down the best way to condition your thumbs for text messaging,” said Peter Boyd, vice president of promotions and partnerships for Virgin Mobile USA.

I kind of have short fingers, so I doubt if I would be any good at thumb wrestling.

Rock Paper Scissors, eating, and wife carrying, though?

If I had a wife, I’m pretty sure I could be one of the elitists at any one of the three.

I wonder what other kinds of contests I would be good at.

There are watermelon seed spitting contests, but it seems like I swallow more seeds than I spit out. And the record hawk covered over 68 feet.

Is there a channel-surfing competition? On second thought, my roommates always rag on me about watching commercials.

I’ve seen information for goose and duck calling, and dog barking championships

(I don’t know if the animals make the sounds or if humans impersonate the animals), and I know I wouldn’t be any good at those. I have been told, by some members of my junior gold hockey team, though, that my cries, while lying on the ice with a dislocated shoulder, sounded like whale mating calls.

I haven’t seen any fliers for that contest.

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