Sunday, September 8, 2019

Wrestle-Mania!

First of all, hello again from Switzerland! We are alive and well, but incredibly busy as of late, hence my blog post lag. Things should be settling out going forward and I plan to resume my regular blogging, with a surprise feature coming this fall. Stay tuned. 😀

Today's post about an epic 3-day event that happened here a few weekends ago.  Zug was lucky enough to host Switzerland's largest sporting event: Eidgenössische Schwing- and Älplerfest.

Basically, Eidgenössische Schwing it is the Olympics of Swiss Wrestling.  Every three years a village hosts the event and the people come in droves. Zug hasn't hosted since 1961, so having it this year was a BIG deal.

The location of the festivities was near where we lived in the corporate apartment. I ran through these fields last year:

Cornfield picture taken Summer 2018.












This year, for this event, the fields were transformed to look like this:

That's not corn growing out of the ground...

...that's a stadium!
Another  former cornfield.
Temporary buildings abound.

They actually built the world's largest temporary stadium (no joke) for this 3-day event. It held 56,500 lucky ticket-holding fans. We weren't among them. We actually watched on a Jumbo-tron in another temporary stadium set up outside the hockey arena (a kilometer or so away) of the local hockey team that I've mentioned on my blog before.

I'll explain the wrestling pants in a moment...
Thousands of people gathered to watch live-ish.

We even got to see some yodeling action.

Yodel-le-he-who!
Listen closely, you can almost hear them.

So what, you might be asking, is Swiss wrestling? Well, it all starts with the pants.

Photo courtesy of  ESAF Zug from this website.
















The wrestlers, men only, wear trousers with these shorts (diapers?)  made of jute worn over them. The objective is to lift your opponent off his feet and pin him on his back on the ground, all the while keeping a firm grip on his shorts. The winner is chosen by a three-person jury.

Grab, lift, and throw.
They even put the shorts on the directional signs!
The winner gets the title of Schwingerkönig (Wrestling King), leaf wreath "crown", and a bull. Yep, the animal.

This year's competition was an upset. The local favorite, 22-year-old Joel Wicki was beat in 40 seconds by a 34-year-old wrestler from Bern, Christian Stucki. At 34, Stucki is the oldest winner in history.

Photo courtesy of SwissInfo.ch











Maybe Wicki had too much pressure on him?
Here his likeness is being used to peddle shirts at a local grocery store.





















Incidentally, these shirts are Edelweiss shirts worn by the competitors and 80% of the Swiss population that weekend. At 80 CHF  a pop, that's a lot of national pride.

But, wrestling is not the only event that took place during that weekend. We also attended a Boulder Throwing competition. We watched guys throw 40kg boulders from a stand.

Here's the winner. He threw his boulder 4 meters 72cm from a standstill!


















And there was plenty of food and drink and people watching to keep you entertained as well.

Not a fan of Swiss food personally.
Surreal to see so many people in our old stomping grounds.

Yesterday, a few weeks after the event, this is what the stadium looks like now:
Halfway disassembled.
Again, we feel very fortunate to live here and get to participate in these amazing cultural experiences.

Today's poem is a tribute to "King" Stucki:
pull
      push
             lift
sawdust drift

flip
     grip
          drop
'king' on top 
©2019, Bridget Magee. All Rights Reserved.

8 comments:

  1. Wow, Bridget, that Stucki is a huge man! And boulder throwing, something to try here in the Rockies? I'll let my grand-girls know. Keep sharing. Glad to see you back and that you all are okay!

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    1. Thanks, Linda! Stucki IS a big guy, and now he's a big guy with a big bull. =)

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  2. Replies
    1. You got me there, Jeanette! I DO like some Swiss food. =)

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  3. Replies
    1. Thanks, Joan! We had a good time, but that was the most people I've ever seen gathered in one place in Zug. Joe had claustrophobia. =)

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  4. I think I might manage a 30cm throw of a 40kg boulder, but then my back would never be the same.

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    1. Indeed, Chris! Joe couldn't get over how far these guys could send those boulders flying. It was quite impressive. =)

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