I got an email today with the subject line “Midwest Sports fans rejoice.” Naturally I opened it, as it sounded like something that would be right in our wheelhouse here at Midwest Sports Fans.
I was not in any way, shape, or form, prepared for what I was about to see.
Inside the email was this simple message:
The moment you’ve all been waiting for..
Mid-West Freestyle Canoe
I had never, before that moment, even seen the words “freestyle” and “canoe” in such close proximity, as if they were suggesting some kind of actual activity that people participate in. Freestyle canoe? It made no sense, unless maybe as a description for a time when Li’l Wayne, Snoop Dogg, and Eminem were at a lake party and decided to take a canoe out for a while and do some rapping.
But when I clicked on the YouTube link provided in the email, I quickly learned that “freestyle canoe” is, in fact, an actual activity that people participate in. And while watching that first video, there was one word that kept popping into my head over and over and over: bizarre.
Just watch. The action really starts about 1:20.
Yes, you did in fact just watch a man dressed in a three-piece suit (sans jacket) paddle himself around in circles in a canoe to the tune of “Lady in Red” while actual spectators looked on and applauded.
And you know what’s crazy? This isn’t even one of the more bizarre freestyle canoe routines available on YouTube. Not even close. The next two I clicked on were both far more bizarre and involved yet another bizarre element: intricate costuming.
In this video, a man is dressed up as Phantom and maneuvers his canoe to the tune of, you guessed it, Phantom of the Opera.
And in this next video, some guy who thinks he’s Jack Sparrow dresses like Jack Sparrow and performs triumphantly to the Pirates of the Caribbean theme song.
I have to be honest. I’m still a little bit in shock. I don’t follow all sports, but I do feel like I have a pretty good grasp on what sports are out there, or at least what sports would be reasonably possible. The concept of freestyle canoe has never entered my sphere of influence, and I’m still not sure I believe it even after watching these videos. It’s like a cross between canoeing, synchronized swimming, and Halloween, with the spirit of LARPing thrown in for good measure.
With all that said, whether it’s bizarre to me or not, clearly these folks get a giant kick of it, so I say good for them. Just because some jackwagon blogger doesn’t understand anything about the sport and decides to be snarky about it doesn’t lessen its excitement or sheer awesomeness for the people who participate in it.
In fact, the more I write about this, the more I am finding my mind focus less on mocking the shocking images I just watched and more on trying to decide what song and costume I would choose for my freestyle canoe routine. First instinct: Can’t Help Falling In Love by UB40. It’s got “freestyle canoe” written all over it.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go find a costume. The NFL is still embroiled in a lockout and college football is proven more dirty and slimy by the day. It’s time to start considering alternatives. The Midwest Freestyle Symposium is on September 16th. I’ve gotta be ready.