I was going to leave an entry discussing an upcoming labyrinth training event that I’m running in Deptford, NJ, but rather than write my own, I thought I’d quote a good amount from Jane McGonigal who is also going to an event, and did a wonderful Q&A for that one:
You should note that the flash animation training link that she posted was done by me. /me does a little jig.
I’ve been talking it up and hoping to get some of you involved. Now might be a great opportunity.
You don’t have to know anything.
You don’t have to bring anything.
Just show up, alone or with everyone you know.
And prepare to have an amazing adventure as you learn how to play The Lost Sport of Olympia.
Playing the lost sport is pretty much the most fun I’ve ever had. That’s all you need to know. But if want to know more, some FAQ are below.
Q: What’s the Lost Sport of Olympia?
A: According to legend, this blindfolded sport was played and then banned by the ancient Greeks, who attempted to destroy all evidence that the game ever existed. It was completely forgotten by history — until 2008. That’s when a small online community began investigating the lost sport. The community got bigger and bigger, and recently they actually pieced together the rules of the game — simply by analyzing clues found in ancient artifacts. They’re still working out some of the kinks of the game, but so far, lost sport training events have have happened all over the world, from Canada to Brazil to Spain to New Zealand!
Q: Is the lost sport hard to play?
A: Like any great game, it’s incredibly easy to learn and extremely challenging to master. But, you don’t need to be traditionally athletic to excel at this sport. Instead, you’ll need trust, courage, memory, and teamwork.
Q: Is it fun to play?
A: I’ve only played it once before, but it was unforgettably awesome. You will almost certainly laugh until it hurts. Watch this recent training video from some aspiring Lost Sport champions in Kitchener, Ontario — my favorite part is the referee yelling repeatedly (to no avail), “No laughing! No laughing!”
Q: So can I just show up, or do I have to learn how to play it first?
A: Just show up! You don’t need to know anything about it, just show up. Your friends don’t need to know anything about it either, so bring them. Plenty of people there will be able to explain it, but most of the people who show up will also be playing the lost sport for the very first time.
Q: How’s it work, exactly?
A: It’s a blindfolded team sport, with 1 runner and 10 – 100 teammates who form a human labyrinth around the runner. Just like the Minotaur, the runner must escape from the center of the labyrinth as fast as possible!
Runners can’t see, and they can’t use their hands to feel their way. So they must draw on courage, their spatial memory of the labyrinth pattern, and the sound of the walls humming to guide them.
Meanwhile, the walls run ahead of the runner to keep him or her safely penned in at all times. It’s total collaboration. (The walls and the runner are on the same team.)
You can catch on faster by watching this flash animation of the gameplay.
Q: What’s the legend, exactly?
A: If you’ve never heard of the Lost Sport, you can learn about it in this podcast about ancient mysteries and forgotten secrets of the Ancient Games.