The Competitive Sport of Picking Up Heavy Rocks

In the hilly regions of rural Chrenada , villages often gather for an informal or formal competition of lifting heavy stones.
  The origin of this joint-cracking sport began with the clearing of rocks from fields near hilly or mountainous areas. It was inevitable that farmers clearing together would begin to compete with one another, and soon the lifting of large stones became a venue for friendly -- or more serious -- competition.
  Where formal competitions are held, there is a curious requirement of entrants making a formal declaration of their freeman status and iterating their place in the local community. This grew out of incidents in which a wealthy farmer or landowner would purchase a sturdy slave to enter the competition and win for his owner, who claimed the victory in his own name. Not only did this deprive the locals of bragging rights, but in many small villages the practice of bringing in outside slave labor was resented. (It was not that the villagers were opposed to the institution in general, which many felt an appropriate way of dealing with criminals, debtors, and others who did not contribute to the community, but they often saw their own livelihoods threatened by the largescale import of coerced labor for lands or mines their families had once worked.) Requiring lifters to be freemen and locals kept the glory of stone-lifting wins from outsiders or those who would purchase victory instead of working for it.
  Two primary forms of stone-lifting are seen. In the first, competitors take turns lifting a single challenging stone and holding it for as long as possible, with an official timekeeper (who keeps his back to the lift, thereby preserving the nominal ignorance regarding a competitor's identity) granting victory to the one who holds the stone the longest.
  In the second, two opponents face off over a large stone, taking turns lifting it to waist height or chest height (as determined by the local custom) and throwing it down. The one who surrenders or fails first loses to the other.
  These contests are not seen in cities and are considered a quaint custom of the rural population.


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