F1 angers many Australians as it trademarks the “Shoey”

Well, well, well. Here we go again. As you probably know by now, I’m not really a fan of commercialization of sports. Because of this and because I have quite a few friends in Australia I felt really annoyed when I heard the news coming from the Formula One last week.

F1 decided that they felt the need to trademark the Shoey – the podium celebration of Australian F1-driver Daniel Ricciardo. Whenever he wins a race (which, now luckily) is not every other weekend, the man from Perth, Western Australia, enjoys a sip of champagne. From his boot.

Youtube.com/Jacques Erasmus

How could you possibly want to trademark something like that in a sport that decided only a few weeks ago to ban the grid girls, because the F1 wanted to improve their image and their family friendliness. Now, on the other hand, they start trademarking a word that represents drinking alcohol out of a shoe. In my opinion that is somehow hypocritical.

But it’s not only about that. Not at all. The reason why F1 decided to trademark the Shoey is not that they want to encourage people to start drinking from their shoes. It’s, obviously, money. They didn’t trademark the entire word, they also can’t ban anyone from doing a Shoey (good news for any Australian). What they’re eligible of doing now is to be the only one who can sell mugs, flaks, glasses, bottles, sculptures and figurines with the word “Shoey” on it.

As you can see, some people on Twitter really aren’t happy with that:

The Shoey has, since about 15 years, somehow been part of Australian (drinking) culture. When I explored the country as a backpacker a few years ago it was already a thing to do it among the locals and it was great fun. The term has mainly been branded by the Australian surfing and fishing brand “The Mad Hueys”. It’s also them who kept the term trademarked in the clothing category – so there probably won’t be any F1-Shoey-shirts for sale anytime soon. Who really invented the Shoey in the end remains kind of unclear, though.

Obviously, what the F1 did is perfectly fine from a legal perspective, I want to make this clear here. Yet, I also believe it’s questionable if they really had to take this term – that obviously means a lot to some Australians – and trademark it as theirs, just because Daniel Ricciardo celebrates like that and they feel like generating some extra bucks from selling a few Shoey mugs would really make that much of a difference.

To prove, how pissed of some Australians are about this: watch the hilarious (and obviously slightly overexaggerated) video of Australian comedian Frenchy reacting to the news:

 

 

What‘ s your opinion on the F1 trademarking the Shoey? Share your thoughts in the comment section below!

Featured image source: wikipedia.org/wiki/Drinking_from_shoes

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What really grinds my gears #5 – why is racewalking an Olympic sport?

In this format I will, once per week, polemically write about things that disturb me in the world of sports. Things that, in my opinion, either are hilariously disgusting or just proper embarrassing. You decide.

This week, the athletics World Championship in London came to an end. And oh boy did it provide stories. Of course, everybody was talking about Mo Farah and Usain Bolt having their farewells on the tartan track of the British capital. Also the (well deserved) ban for the entire Russian delegation made it into the headlines quite regularly.

But there were so many more stories being told during these ten days full of proper competition and athleticism. For example the epic comeback of the Australian hurdler Sally Pearson who won the gold medal against the odds in a thrilling final.

But, of course, there were many controversial events too. And that’s what we’re after in this category ;-). But today I don’t want to write about Caster Semenya and if she should be allowed to compete with women or why the Russians should be banned for Tokyo 2020 as well. Nope. What really grinded my gears during these World Championships was an entire discipline: Racewalking.

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At the very last day, when I was already struggling about finding something to be annoyed about (Yes this category has negative effects on me. No, I don’t care about it.) the world of sports delivered. Gosh, how much this discipline annoys me every few years.

Like many Olympic sports, racewalking is what I call a submarine sport. Only appearing in the public eye every few years, then remaining widely unnoticed. Generally, with disciplines like archery, curling, snowboarding or platform diving I find this really sad. With racewalking, however, I couldn’t be happier.

Watching a bunch of men or women waddling like ducks for 20 or 50 kilometers? No thanks. If I want to see excessive bum shaking and people who clearly harm their joints with every step they take, I go to a fashion show. I mean, honestly, these athletes look like they’d need to make it to the bathroom really, really fast rather than they’re competing at about 13 kilometers an hour, which is quite a decent speed after all. I can hardly run that fast.

Seriously. I admire every athlete and their effort and determination. This also holds for racewalkers. They work hard every day to get where they’re now and I would surely make an exponentially bigger fool out of myself if I ever tried this sport, than the professionals do out of themselves every Olympics or World Championships.

However, I’ve never met anyone who considered this sport an important part of the Olympic program, ever. And when the IOC is planning to get rid of wrestling, because they want to make their Games more popular and want to cut out redundant sports, then I must ask at this point: Why is racewalking still an Olympic discipline? And why will it still be in Tokyo 2020’s program?

Again, I don’t intend to disrespect any athletes of this discipline. Not at all. What they do just looks really….strange. And to me, racewalking just lacks motion, speed and excitement. With every step of a competitor being regulated (you may never lose floor contact with your feet at any time and have to stretch your knee when treading) there’s just hardly a surprise factor at all.

That’s why I couldn’t think of any exciting moments of racewalking that I witnessed so far at all. And for me, that is truly abnormal as I watch a loooot of sports. For example, I’m not too much into cycling either. However, seeing the Tour de France leaders arrive at Alp d’Huez and enjoying tactical fights and individual feats when beating the immense French mountains is a crucial part of my annual sporting calendar. And the legendary duels between Lance Armstrong and Jan Ullrich will stay in my mind forever.

But when thinking about racewalking, everything that I can recall is the poor bloke in the Rio Olympics 2014 who couldn’t hold back his diarrhea during the competition.

As painful this scene was, the athlete surely proved one thing: Racewalking is a sport. A physically extremely challenging one. And not a sport that we should laugh about. (side note: it also proves the bathroom-theory)

Still, maybe, just maybe, it’s time to consider whether it provides enough of an engagement factor for it to remain in the Olympic program.

A sport we should all go professional in: The Darwin Beer Can Regatta

Didn’t we all have the dream of becoming a pro in the sports we used to perform as kids? Be it football, tennis or skiing – most of us will soon have figured out, that this will stay a dream. Children being pushed by their parents who were eventually better than us, injuries or simply other priorities were reasons for us to develop a different attitude to sports. You name it.

Today I want to present to you a way how we could still perform some kind of sport in front of dozens of thousands spectators. We don’t even need to sacrifice our lives to it and work out every day sweating, bleeding and grovelling through the dirt.

Most of our preparation would consist of drinking beer. F*cking awesome, aye? Alright, enough teasing for today. The event I’m talking about is the Darwin Beer Can Regatta that has been held two weeks ago. An annually – let’s call it sailing – event, held in the Northern Territory of Australia attracting about 20k visitors to Mindil Beach.

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But sailing is a classy sport – If anything, they’d be drinking champagne on expensive boats. What has beer got to do with it? Basically everything. Because the boats in this unique race are built out of empty beer cans, soft-drink bottles and milk cartons. Each competing team builds its own boat prior to the event. Seeing if they manage to float or miserably sink after thirty seconds is part of the event.

Generally speaking, the race is about fun, not results. It’s about people having a good time building the boats (of course, I mean they get to empty countless cans of beers as preparation – that’s what I call a workout!), and people enjoying an event with the character of a public festival.

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Some competition is part of the game too, of course. Local fame, glory and a small price money are the rewards for creativity and speed. But mainly, this extraordinary regatta is for a good cause: Organized by the local lions clubs, sponsored by local companies and generating a few extra coins through entry fees and food and drink sales on the site, the Darwin Beer Can Regatta raises money for charity.

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The participants compete in several disciplines, including boat judging, kids races, adult races and the famous Battle of Mindil where the boats compete over a hidden item, that can be stolen from one another. Watching the beer pirates trying to operate their boats without having them sink is hilariously funny.

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In an eager world of competitive sports this event is a longed for alternation. This is manifested in their Ten Can-mandments that determine the rules of the regatta:

1.Thou shalt enter the event in the right spirit. 2. Thou shalt build the craft of cans. 3.The craft shall float by cans alone. 4.Thou shalt not drown. 5.Thou shalt not take the name of the craft in vain: any craft bearing signs or lettering that may be offensive will be barred. 6.Thou shalt not drift from the straight and narrow and end up at Mandorah. 7.Thou shalt not protest too much. 8.Thou shall honor thy Committee. 9.Thou shalt not commit adultery – nothing really to do with the Regatta, but it gives us an air of responsibility and respect. 10. Thou shalt go back and read the first can-mandment again.

And it involves beer. So what more could we ask for? Anyway. If we ever stood a chance of fulfilling our dream of performing sports in front of a huge crowd, the Darwin Beer Can Regatta is what we want to do.

More Infos and picture credit: http://www.beercanregatta.org.au

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