PAIGE 48 - MR. ERIKSSON DROPS BY

I don't have any refereeing to do until Saturday (today's Thursday, in case you're wondering), which is for an egg-and-spoon race. But more on that when the time comes. Today I was working at the store and what do you know Mr. Eriksson dropped by. I said oh hi Mr Eriksson how did the race go? Did they catch up? He laughed and said not a chance. I continued stacking while he talked a while, it was a quiet spot so Des didn't mind. I asked him how he got to be so fast, and so good at sprinting. He said his mother used to have a very large wooden spoon. I said I didn't follow. He said he stole things as a child, and that he could demonstrate said sprint if I liked. Des for some reason moved over to the door.

We had a good old chat about the many Russians in town, and about the Triathlon going on, made up of the seventeen events. He said he was competing in a few others besides pure sprints, like the shoe toss. I said how does that work? And he said well you take a running start, and then kick the shoe at or before the starting line. Whoever gets the farthest shoe wins. I then realized that's why all the Russians were kicking as they were running, they were practising for the shoe toss event. I said oh that's an interesting event. How did it get started? He said sit down, and I'll tell you. I couldn't because I was working, but it was a long story.

To give you the version with shortening, one of the first people in the Triathlon at Sparrow Falls years ago tried to compete in soccer, but his boots were so loose because he borrowed them from his older brother, that every time he went to kick, he would score a goal. With the boot. So the sportsmen in town made bets with one another about the boot-to-ball ratio that would go through the posts each game. Eventually they decided it was so much fun watching him that they too had to try, and eventually some of them got distracted from soccer and kicked out by the purists of the sport. They started their own event in the Triathlon, which then meant there were four events. Since then the organizers couldn't limit it to three events, they said oh well fine and lots of other competitions started joining. The cheese-hurling, Des said, came from irate customers from a theatre company whose actors were less than sub-par. The actors, upon receiving the various produce, remarked that the theatre-goers had a terrible arm and that they could do better if they were throwing cheese. And so that year cheese-hurling began. Des thinks it was probably the tenth or so sport introduced, after the Wold introduced extreme ironing, which they no longer do. I asked why that was. He said it was due to the ambulance department. I didn't want to ask any more.

I don't know, in some ways I'm warming to adjudicating. Apparently the referees have total command of the game. I should try introducing cheese-hurling into the egg-and-spoon race.

- Livi