Thursday, 15 September 2011

Sport Virgin - The gentlemen's underwater game of Octopush

THE last time I checked, humans really didn't need to go underwater to discover a new sport but alas, octopush has somehow managed to drag itself from the murky depths from which it came and into our civilised society.

For those who are unaware of this unnecessary “sport'', it consists of two teams of 6 players each who essentially play underwater hockey with tiny foot long sticks. Despite having goals there are no goalkeepers as most teams set up a 3-3 formation consisting of 3 defending players and 3 attacking players. The madness ensues from here as both teams aim to drop or flick a hockey puck into a three metre wide container.

Octopush is a non-contact, co-ed sport that is often described as the worst spectator sport in the world due to the peculiar location in which it's played. Most octopush clubs actually encourage their fans to adorn swimwear and a snorkel and watch underwater to really get a proper feel for a match. The two referees (I really do not know why two are needed but at this point we really are too deep down to discover logic) are also submerged.
The game consists of two 10 minute halves with four substitutes from either side constantly interchanging with their team mates. Allegedly, the subs bench was once underwater as well but had to be moved to outside of the pool in the late nineties due to mass drownings.

The game begins with the puck being placed in the middle of the pool while all players are at either end, touching their respective walls. The referee then allows play as both sets of players race to the centre in the hope of grabbing the illustrious puck. Fouls tend to be given for blocking off an opponent or the puck with your body or in other more extreme cases, for using the stick as a violent weapon.

Octopush was created by British man, Alan Blake at Southsea sub aqua club in 1954. At the time, it was 8 players a-side, hence the “octo'' part. A goal was known as a “gully'' and the puck was called a “squid.'' The silly names and novelty of being underwater wear thin quickly however, leaving me to realise that the game is essentially underwater hockey. I'm sorry for wasting four hundred words of your time. Well, not as sorry as Alan Blake surely is.

No comments:

Post a Comment