The Ear Pull (and other painful Inuit sports)

Quoting from wikipedia:

The ear pull is a traditional Inuit game which tests the competitors' ability to endure pain. In the ear pull, two competitors sit facing each other, their legs straddled and interlocked. A two-foot-long loop of string, similar to a thick, waxed dental floss, is looped behind their ears, connecting right ear to right ear, or left to left. The competitors then pull upon the opposing ear using their own ear until the cord comes free or one player quits from the pain. The game has been omitted from some Arctic sports competitions due to safety concerns and the squeamishness of spectators; the event can cause bleeding and competitors sometimes require stitches.

The ear weight is a related competition. The goal is to walk as far as possible with lead weights (16 pounds) hanging from your ears. For many years, the reigning champion was Joshua Okpik, Jr. (shown below) who went half a mile with the weights. From People magazine (Aug 11, 1986):

As Okpik entered his fifth circuit of the Big Dipper Arena in Fairbanks, the crowd of 2,000 picked up a clapping beat. Around and around he padded, his ear darkening from purple to black, his neck muscles straining like cables. Six, seven, eight circuits he went, face contorted in pain, the audience now rocking and bellowing in support. Okpik was starting his tenth lap when his twine loop slipped and the 16 pounds thudded to the floor. He had walked 1,813 feet and five inches, more than a third of a mile. What drove him? As pain tested his limits, Okpik later said, "I told myself, 'Just be tough like a man.'"

image via Tundra Times

Or there's the Knuckle Hop, which tests how far contestants can hop on their knuckles on a hardwood floor. Apparently you lose feeling in your hands after the first few hoops. So no worries!

     Posted By: Alex - Tue Dec 18, 2012
     Category: Sports

I've never quite been able to figure out why pain proves one "a man" but it seems to be pretty chronologically and geographically universal so I'll just retain my 'boy' status for a few more years.
Posted by Expat47 in Athens, Greece on 12/18/12 at 09:55 AM
Makes Olympic boxing look pretty wimpy. 😊
Posted by KDP on 12/18/12 at 12:38 PM
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