Wednesday, October 05, 2005
One fascinating sport that is growing very fast is extreme ironing (EI) - an endurance sport. Don't believe me? Read on...
The sport was started in Leicester, East Midlands, England by resident Phil Shaw in his back yard. EI, however, is no longer localized to Great Britain. In June 1999, Shaw, who goes by the EI nickname "Steam", embarked on an international tour to promote the sport. The stops included the United States of America, Fiji, New Zealand, Australia and Southern Africa. An encounter with German tourists in New Zealand led to the founding of the Extreme Ironing Bureau, and the German Extreme Ironing Section or GEIS.
In September of 2002, the first World Championship for the sport took place in Valley, Germany, near Munich. Organized by the German Extreme Ironing Section, the 1st Extreme Ironing World Championships were considered a success, drawing international media attention. Competitors from Austria, Australia, Croatia, Chile, Germany, the UK and other countries participated. The competition included eighty different teams from ten different countries.
Since the sport's invention, there has been the formation of an alleged breakaway group, Urban Housework. This has been considered unethical by some Extreme Ironers, as it alters the environment, disrupting the natural decay of plant matter to help re-fertilize the earth.
A documentary, appropriately entitled Extreme Ironing, was filmed for Britain's Channel 4 in December 2002.
In 2003 the Rowenta Trophy was won by a group from South Africa by ironing across a gorge at the Wolfberg Cracks. Later that year, Phil Shaw brought out a book, also entitled Extreme Ironing (ISBN 1843305550). The following year saw the release of a dvd titled Ironing Under the Sky, which was produced by Hot Under the Collar Productions.
In 2004, the EIB traveled to the US on the Rowenta Tour to recruit additional ironists and ironed at Mount Rushmore, New York, Boston and Devil's Tower. The tour culminated in an interview nation-wide on Good Morning America.
EI has spawned other sports. Downhill vacuuming involves riding a vacuum cleaner down a slope or incline, the objective being to make the fastest time down a given track. There is also suburban mop-jousting, inner city clothes drying and apocalypse dishwashing.
So, next time you start ironing a shirt or vacuuming the stairs or mopping the kitchen floor, think "now where would I really like to be doing this!"