The Battle of the Dumb

I’m beginning to think that there’s a contagious case of insanity going around when it comes to the things men will do. Take, for your consideration, the Cooper’s Hill Cheese-Rolling Competition. Held near Gloucester, England. From the top of the hill a 9-pound ball of Double Gloucester cheese is rolled, and competitors race down the hill after it. The first to cross the finish line wins the cheese. Sounds simple enough, but Cooper’s Hill is steep and the ground uneven. Most of the competitors spend more time hurtling down the hill head over heals than they do on their feet. The competition has been summarized as “twenty young men chasing a cheese off a cliff and tumbling 200 yards to the bottom, where they are scraped up by paramedics and packed off to hospital.” Nevertheless, thousands show up each year to watch these insane guys chase the cheese.


If that isn’t crazy enough for you, try Bull Surfing. This takes place in Kerala, India and requires competitors to hold onto ropes that have been attached to two charging bulls. They then “surf” through a rice paddy. If you can’t get a good grip on the ropes, hanging onto a tail is permitted. Then there’s a far more dangerous competition. The Dinka Fat Man Contest. Each year, young men in this Sudanese tribe take part in an eating contest…a four month long eating contest. At the end of four months they’re paraded out in front of their fellow villagers and judged on their rotundity. This reminds me of Thanksgiving dinner.


As reluctant as I am to chase a roll of cheese down a steep hill, a small piece of me understands why guys do these crazy things. A very small piece. For some reason we guys have the need to conquer, to move outside our mundane lives and experience something extraordinary. The problem is, we usually look for it in the wrong places. Stephen Mansfield writes, “There’s nothing manly about a guy downing booze until he throws up in the street. There’s nothing manly about cruising for women like some predatory beast and then devouring them for pleasure before casting them aside. There’s nothing manly about making a child but then running like a coward before that child is born. To think these actions make up true manhood is like thinking the average ‘gentlemen’s club’ is actually for gentlemen. It’s not. Instead, it is a Palace of Perpetual Adolescence where incomplete males go to get on the cheap what they don’t have the guts to fight for righteously and make their own.”


Each one of us is to find true meaning and fulfillment serving God and others. In showing off our creator and in knowing Him. 1 Timothy 6 says, “But you, man of God, pursue righteousness and a godly life, along with faith, love, perseverance and gentleness.Hold tightly to the eternal life to which God has called you.” Now that’s worth chasing today.

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Phil Callaway

Phil Callaway, the host of Laugh Again, is an award-winning author and speaker, known worldwide for his humorous yet perceptive look at life.

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