Thursday, April 17, 2008

VIDEOS: The ancient Greeks banned it, but we're playing it anyway!

Labyrinth runners of the world, watch out! Team San Francisco is getting good at this stuff.

Okay, maybe not good at it. But we ARE having an awesome time.

There were about 20 of us, and we practiced for 30 minutes on a giant 7-circuit labyrinth, using a real clew set up (yarn).

We don't want to give too many of our special awesome labyrinth running strategies away. Because, you know. We want to be the world champions someday. But watch this video to see one of the more memorable moments in the practice session... can you figure out what's happening here?

Now, check out Team Zurich training for the labyrinth. Seriously, the difference between our approach and their approach is hysterically awesome. They are so awesomely deadly serious and restrained! I love it.

Team Wellington shows they are hard-core by training in the rain and clocking the best recorded 3-circuit time to date (1:00 minute flat.) My favorite part of this video is when they reveal at the end that they were also training in the way of moving vehicles, lol. I'm glad they had some excellent sophrosune talent to referee and keep everyone safe!

There a lots of training videos coming out of Brazil, but I like this one from Natal that focuses on making the labyrinth pattern (which for some folks is more fun than running it!)

The Canadians have the most courageous runner by far clearly, that is some pretty aggressive running for someone wearing a blindfold! Not to mention the entire team played in the snow, using spraypaint to make their labyrinth. Their long-form training video is below.

These are just some of the videos coming in... more from Berlin, Madrid, Jerusalem, Buenos Aires soon...

Get the backstory on why we're training for a lost sport that the ancient Greeks mysteriously banned...

Sunday, April 06, 2008

April 20 - Play With Me! Blindfolded Labyrinth Running in San Francisco


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.

The details for this event are listed here on

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.

I hope you'll come. And bring your friends, bring random people, this is a game that is truly the more the merrier. Blog about it, twitter about it, this is going to be a truly legendary afternoon.