What it is: Afghanistan's National Sport, which may or may not be all you need to know.

The competitors: A large group of savage, horse-mounted warriors.

The equipment: In Buzkashi, the game ball is a dead goat. I know the term "dead goat" may sound both inhumane and disgusting, but it's not as bad as all that. At least the corpse is beheaded, disemboweled, has its legs cut off at the knees, and is soaked in cold water for 24 hours to toughen it up. Okay, maybe it really is as bad as all that.

The rules: Rules? Rules are for godless American swine. The only hard and fast rule in Buzkashi is that you can't attack the opposing players' horses. Pretty much anything else goes, including attacking your opponents with fists, whips, and even knives.

Who wins: Considering the level of violence and danger involved, anyone who survives a round of Buzkashi could reasonably be considered a "winner." But technically speaking, the true winner is that brave and reckless man who manages to capture the game ball, get clear of the other players, and heave it into a scoring circle called "The Circle of Justice." I don't know how much justice there is in willfully attacking other people for the right to chuck a lifeless goat body into a circle, but that probably just shows my willful ignorance of foreign culture.

The basketball connection: NBA players consider themselves pretty bad to the bone. Many of them travel with posses, carry guns, and are quick to lash out when "disrespected." But professional basketball players are pretty wussy compared to Buzkashi players. After all, NBA players will miss 10 to 15 games with a sore toe, whereas a Buzkashi player will continue to play through head trauma and multiple stab wounds. NBA players will pout and cry if they don't have a reasonable chance to win, whereas Buzkashi players are just happy to live through a single game. And let's not forget how, last season, the NBA players threw a ginormous hissy fit when the traditional leather basketball was replaced with a microfiber composite ball that "bounced funny" and caused "paper cuts" on their fingers...which sounds pretty mundane next to "headless goat corpse." I'm guessing professional Buzkashists would love to play with a microfiber goat.


Anonymous Anonymous said...
Dear Basketbawful,

How cool would it be if David Stern started an "international sports inlusion night" where they combine an international sport with basketball. When the two NBA players went to start the game with a jump ball the ref threw a dead goat up instead. Then Tim Duncan stabs Anderson Varejao in the heart and dunks the dead goat/ball into the circle of justice! that would make people so pumped! I bet that would've raised t.v. ratings for the Finals.



Blogger mujahedin said...
Re-Spect to the Buzkashi players!

P.S. I think that Anderson Varejao is the guy who broke the nose of a greek shooting-guard during last summers world championship. He deserves to play a Buzkashi game to show us how tough he really is...