Difference between revisions of "Echtinkal"

From MicrasWiki
Jump to navigationJump to search
(Created page with "'''Echtinkal''' (''slope-battle''), known abroad as "boulderball", is a sport native to Çeridgul and favored by the Çerid as a demonstration of prowess and a signifi...")
 
 
Line 23: Line 23:
 
This has much to do with the Çer affinity for bravado - most Çerid would go to great lengths to avoid being seen as cowards - but also because ''echtinkal'' is as much a pageant as a sport.  Males in particular tend to be at home in the role of skimmers, which gives them the chance to parade their agility and flair - traits which [[Culture of Çeridgul|Çer culture]] prizes very highly in males. In the absence of the flying contests that stories tell were common on their homeworld as a way to draw female attention, ''echtinkal'' serves as one of the vehicles for younger, fitter males to make themselves known. Something similar applies to the physically larger and stronger females and the role of roller, which lends itself to displays of pumping muscles and endurance.
 
This has much to do with the Çer affinity for bravado - most Çerid would go to great lengths to avoid being seen as cowards - but also because ''echtinkal'' is as much a pageant as a sport.  Males in particular tend to be at home in the role of skimmers, which gives them the chance to parade their agility and flair - traits which [[Culture of Çeridgul|Çer culture]] prizes very highly in males. In the absence of the flying contests that stories tell were common on their homeworld as a way to draw female attention, ''echtinkal'' serves as one of the vehicles for younger, fitter males to make themselves known. Something similar applies to the physically larger and stronger females and the role of roller, which lends itself to displays of pumping muscles and endurance.
  
[[Category:Çeridgul]][[Category:Sport]]
+
[[Category:Çeridgul]][[Category:Micronational sports]]

Latest revision as of 21:58, 26 March 2020

Echtinkal (slope-battle), known abroad as "boulderball", is a sport native to Çeridgul and favored by the Çerid as a demonstration of prowess and a significant source of both public entertainment and employment for bonesetters. It has aspects of bowling, dodgeball, and cheese-rolling.

Basic Rules

While the rules and procedures of play are flexible depending on the setting and the preferences of the participants, the basic framework remains consistent.

The field of play in echtinkal is a slope, steep enough for round objects to roll down under their own weight and long enough for them to pick up speed, preferably with a non-convex cross-section either horizontally or vertically, with a flat field at the bottom. The field is formally divided into the echtin ("slope"); kilatmir ("redoubt", the area behind the top edge of the slope), and the sibol ("camp"; the flat area beyond the bottom edge of the slope). Markers are put in place to indicate the area in which play can occur and the divisions of the field.

At any given time, players are organized into two teams, rollers and skimmers. The rollers are armed with a supply of "balls" (see below). Rollers must remain within the kilatmir at all times, and any ball must start its roll from within the same area. The skimmers may start in either the echtin or the sibol, but there is usually a limit on how many players may start in one area or the other; regardless, those that start in the echtin may move to the sibol, but must remain in the latter once there. Any player, on either side, who crosses the boundary of their permitted area is removed from play for the duration of the roll. Flying, for those capable of it, is counted as having left the field of play.

The "ball" is, as the colloquial name suggests, traditionally a small round boulder of about 50 kg in weight, but more recently a log section (of a greater number, to make up for the lower weight), and is now beginning to be replaced by specially-made wheels. The log or wheel shapes are easier to mass-produce and offer less likelihood of rolling off the field of play to strike spectators, and the wheel in particular, due to its larger dimensions for its weight, is easier to get started down the slope, more of a challenge to dodge via small movements, and inflicts a more diffuse impact, lessening the chances of serious injury. (Traditionalists will sometimes countenance logs, but almost universally consider the wheels to be a dilution of the values of the game. Partly as a response, some players have begun adding stone weights to the sides or inside of the rim to increase their heft.)

The progress of the game is measured in a round composed of two rolls. At the beginning of a round, the first roll's assignment of teams as rollers or skimmers is determined (this may be by agreement or some random selection); the teams are usually at least approximately equal in size. When all players have taken up their starting positions, the beginning of the roll is signaled, and the rollers send the balls down the slope toward the skimmers; the goal of the rollers is to hit the skimmers, and that of the skimmers is to avoid being hit. When a skimmer is hit, they are "out" and must exit the field of play if they can (if they are too injured to do so, they risk being hit by more balls). For maximum entertainment, it is considered best (from the rollers' perspective) to have as many balls gathered as is feasible, and to occasionally release them in volleys so that dodging all of them is difficult.

The score is kept using two containers, one for each team, and a number of counters twice that of the total number of players. All the counters begin in the skimmers' box, and are moved to the rollers' box as skimmers are hit; to hit a skimmer while the latter is in the echtin is worth one point, but to hit one while in the sibol is worth two. The roll ends once all skimmers are knocked out or the rollers run out of balls, whichever comes first, and the score of each team is tallied. After an interval in which the balls are collected together again and returned to the kilatmir - and in which the players have a chance to rest, eat, and offload those too exhausted, injured, or (rarely these days) dead to continue - the second roll of the round begins, in which each team takes the opposite role from that it had in the first roll (the former skimmers become the rollers, and vice versa), under the same conditions as before. Each team's scores from the two rolls are added together, and the team with the highest total wins the round. Traditionally, the referees and scorekeepers of each game carry spears with them as symbols of their role.

Not counting the break between rolls, a round of echtinkal, while physically tiring, does not last for very long in an absolute sense - though the exact time depends on how many players there are and how many balls have been provided. Therefore, it is not unusual to hold multiple rounds in a day - often only two or three over the course of a day if there are only two teams present, but many more are possible in a tournament format if many teams can be gathered together.

Significance

Little more than a century after the translocation, the ultimate origin of echtinkal had already been lost - it is unknown whether the game was ever played in the Place That Was or if it was invented after the arrival of the Çerid on Micras. Nonetheless, the somewhat martial terminology remaining in the game - and perhaps, the attitude of its players - suggest a reenactment of some battle, real or imagined, in which defenders holding high ground drove away their attackers by rolling stones at them.

The fact that one can see the balls arriving from some distance should, in theory, make it quite difficult for the skimmers to be hit, at least in the sibol zone (those in the echtin have both less warning and more difficult footing to deal with; the relative ease of hitting one is the reason why fewer points are awarded for that feat). However, to perform properly as a skimmer, how narrowly one can avoid the ball is considered as important as the ability to avoid it at all. Merely arranging oneself so that one is never near a ball's path achieves the technical end, but is seen as bad sportsmanship; the correct action is to, whenever possible, move so as to be missed by as narrow and dramatic a margin as possible.

This has much to do with the Çer affinity for bravado - most Çerid would go to great lengths to avoid being seen as cowards - but also because echtinkal is as much a pageant as a sport. Males in particular tend to be at home in the role of skimmers, which gives them the chance to parade their agility and flair - traits which Çer culture prizes very highly in males. In the absence of the flying contests that stories tell were common on their homeworld as a way to draw female attention, echtinkal serves as one of the vehicles for younger, fitter males to make themselves known. Something similar applies to the physically larger and stronger females and the role of roller, which lends itself to displays of pumping muscles and endurance.