Sports

Sacrificing Goats to the Olympian Committee

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A group of Afghans wants to make Buzkashi an Olympic sport, reports USA Today:

Not using the meat? What do you call THIS, Taliban?

To understand how ambitious —even crazy—this is, consider the game. Buzkashi, which means "goat grabbing," is a violent sport with virtually no rules. Players, called chapandaz, gallop at breakneck speed over a dusty field, fighting over a dead animal without a head….

Rashid knows the game needs to be standardized to export the sport, played principally in Afghanistan and some Central Asian countries. Previous efforts to impose consistent rules have gone nowhere.

The game has no rounds or time limits. Galloping horses regularly spill off the field, sending terrified spectators running for safety. Some games are played with 12-man teams; others are scored individually with hundreds of horses careening around the field.

"It's very violent," says Maqsud, who also has seven buzkashi horses. "Animal rights activists wouldn't like it."

A spokesman for the International Olympic Committee, Mark Adams, said he was not aware of any overtures from buzkashi officials. He said there might be concerns that the sport is not widely known and has no governing body that regulates it.

Of course, some people have tried to regulate it:

the Taliban imposed a rule that prevented the use of a carcass, allowing only the skins of calves or goats stuffed with straw. The Taliban considered it sinful to kill an animal without using its meat. Buzkashi enthusiasts, such as Rashid, still speak bitterly of that era.

Elsewhere in Reason: The British authorities' attempts to suppress mob football.