Olive pit spitting: don’t try this at home, kids

If its organizers were not so earnest, this would definitely qualify for the world’s wackiest competitive sport: olive pit spitting. Yes, there is an association, the International Federation of Olive Pit Spitting that operates out of Spain and is promoting …

Pit spitting in Spain

If its organizers were not so earnest, this would definitely qualify for the world’s wackiest competitive sport: olive pit spitting. Yes, there is an association, the International Federation of Olive Pit Spitting that operates out of Spain and is promoting pit spitting to be included as an official sport at the next Olympics.

Now, Israel is getting in the game. The Givat Brenner Pickled Olive Festival has invited the pit spitting federation to come to Israel and run our first official contest. Israel21c’s Viva Sarah Press reports that event is scheduled for February 10-11, 2012 at the Givat Brenner Nurseries.

Now before you fire up the TV and play Monty Python’s “Spot the Loony” game, consider this: olive pit spitting may go back to the stone age. According to the federation, prehistoric cave paintings depicting the sport were found in the Spanish city of Cieza; the town would like the pictures to be declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Right…

Archaeologists speculate that the competitions moved from caves to villages and, by the time of the Greeks, were even proposed for the Olympic games (they lost to the Discus Throwing Competition). The pit spitting website also goes into great detail about how the sport was banned (Islam didn’t much care for it, so Christians needed to play clandestinely).

The rules for a pit spitting competition are remarkably detailed. Participants with false teeth are recommended to “fix them well into place…the organization will not be held responsible for any injuries.” Ditto if “a participant experiences abdominal pain caused by a massive ingestion of stones,” or if a stone hits someone on the head (that spitter will also be disqualified). And just to be sure, the rules state that there must be no sexism – men and women are invited to compete in full equality.

As for the Israeli competition, our Sabra newbies have their work cut out for them. The Guinness Book of World Records lists the number one spit projectile at 21.32 meters.

As they used to say on television: “don’t try this at home kids.”

About Brian Blum

Brian has been a journalist and high-tech entrepreneur for over 20 years. He combines this expertise for ISRAEL21c and Israelity as he writes about hot new local startups, pharmaceutical advances, scientific discoveries, culture, the arts and daily life in Israel. He loves hiking the country with his family (and blogging about it). Originally from California, he lives in Jerusalem with his wife and three children.