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"Three snags will lead to disqualification"
October 12, 2007 10:20 AM   Subscribe

The World Conker Championships sponsored by the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health! Health and Safety gone mad, again? No, they are fighting back against being blamed for taking the fun out of playing conkers. Mine's a fifty-sixer!
posted by fearfulsymmetry (27 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
Nothing gave me more pleasure as a child than conkers. And smashing someone elses conkers to pieces.
posted by fire&wings at 10:23 AM on October 12, 2007


The Conkers FAQ left out the obvious Yank question: "What the fuck is conkers?"
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 10:27 AM on October 12, 2007 [2 favorites]


Crap. I meant to link that here.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 10:28 AM on October 12, 2007


Conker's bad fur day?
posted by porn in the woods at 10:32 AM on October 12, 2007


What's with the faceless zombie girl in the last link?
posted by ursus_comiter at 10:38 AM on October 12, 2007


I loved playing conkers as a child. There was a huge horse chestnut tree next to the high school (across the street from the elementary school) that was my main source. My neighbor across the street also had a pretty good tree. I don't remember my high score, unfortunately.
posted by nekton at 10:39 AM on October 12, 2007


What's with the faceless zombie girl in the last link?

I love the effort they put into titling their images on the first link. It's like, don't let the sombreros fool you, they are in fact silly Mexicans.
posted by phaedon at 10:39 AM on October 12, 2007 [1 favorite]


Conkers are also known regionally as "obblyonkers", "cheggies" or "cheesers".

On finding your first conker of the season, you should say: " Oddly oddly onker my first conker"

In the Midlands in the 1950s the cry was tingle-tangle five knocks which allowed the fouled player five free knocks.

*gives British Empire an atimic-temic-tomic widdly-woobie-wedgie, saunters off in disgust*
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 10:50 AM on October 12, 2007 [1 favorite]


So where are the statistics that explain why goggles are necessary? The problem with all this "safety first" nonsense is that nobody is really looking at what is dangerous in the world.
If someone can imagine something terrible happening, that is enough to bring out the lawyers. I am not pro-eye-putting-out, but we passed the point of ridiculousness many years ago.
How many kids are maimed by swinging horse chestnuts at each other? And compare that to how many are killed by really dangerous activities, like getting in a car.
posted by bitslayer at 10:54 AM on October 12, 2007


The hosts of Top Gear playing conkers with caravans.

This video was my first exposure to the game.
posted by quin at 11:04 AM on October 12, 2007


I feel sorry for British children, growing up so impoverished they have to play with the castoff inedible nuts that fall from the trees. I'm positive decent wealthy American children are much happier playing fancy games like basketball that require complex fixed equipment and expensive shoes.
posted by Nelson at 11:14 AM on October 12, 2007


There's a passage in one of the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy books that mentions conkers, and I always wondered what exactly they were. For some reason, I assumed they were something like clackers. Now I know I was wrong. Thanks, Internet!
posted by Atom Eyes at 11:16 AM on October 12, 2007


Rule three in basketball: If a player bumps into another player he must immediately shout, "Oopsy-doodly-doo, I bumped into you!" While the other player shouts, "Freesie-threesie-throwsy!!!" and gets free throws from the freesie-threesie-throwsy line. Otherwise, the injured player loses his expensive shoes.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 11:18 AM on October 12, 2007 [3 favorites]


I feel sorry for British children, growing up so impoverished they have to play with the castoff inedible nuts that fall from the trees. I'm positive decent wealthy American children are much happier playing fancy games like basketball that require complex fixed equipment and expensive shoes.

Basketball, like other sports, has an uneven playing field. With Conkers, the fat kid, the lazy kid and the uncoordinated kid all have exactly the same advantages and disadvantages as the golden athlete.

Now excuse me while I go and soak my nuts in vinegar for a fortnight or so.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 11:32 AM on October 12, 2007


With Conkers, the fat kid, the lazy kid and the uncoordinated kid all have exactly the same advantages and disadvantages as the golden athlete.

What about a kid who stutters?
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 11:36 AM on October 12, 2007 [1 favorite]


Now excuse me while I go and soak my nuts in vinegar for a fortnight or so.

You could afford vinegar? Rich bastard ...
posted by thatwhichfalls at 11:39 AM on October 12, 2007


LUXURY!!!

We had to harden our nuts by rubbing them in the dirt. And we liked it!
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 11:42 AM on October 12, 2007


Vinegar?? For a fortnight??
Doesn't that sting?
posted by MtDewd at 11:47 AM on October 12, 2007


It does sting a little, but it's better than leaving them, unused, in the cupboard until next year.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 12:01 PM on October 12, 2007 [1 favorite]


BRAVO!
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 12:03 PM on October 12, 2007


Bizarre, I was reading about this the other morning after watching too much Mighty Boosh. That's how I found conkers with cranes and caravans.
posted by kingfisher, his musclebound cat at 1:39 PM on October 12, 2007


Conkers have indeed been banned in some schools on Health and Safety grounds: Conkers hit by legal fears.

The Chief Executive of the Health and Safety Executive made a similar pitch, that it isn't the fault of the Health and Safety industry that our lives are blighted by yellow-tabard-wearing busybodies. Transcript on the Health and Safety Gone Mad blog. If you've tried to get anything done ever you may disagree.
posted by alasdair at 2:44 PM on October 12, 2007


Conkers were the very last thing I didn't get in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy -- the bit about Ford and Zaphod raiding the Arcturan Megafreighter piloted by Yooden Vranx and demanding conkers. Took years to find out what that was all about, and it was only today that I found out that they took off the spiky part first.

(The second-to-last thing I figured out in about 1998, which was how to parse "What's so unpleasant about being drunk?" "You ask a glass of water.")
posted by darksasami at 2:47 PM on October 12, 2007


The neighborhood kids and I played with rubber seeds. It involved crushing the seeds together between hands ... but since we were weak primary schoolers, we'd rock-paper-scissors who took top and bottom, then crush them against a table.

Cheating involved carefully hollowing out a rubber seed, then filling it up with candle wax. Many stories are told about a certain kid's rubber seed that managed to crush the shell of one of these cheater wax-seeds.
posted by Xere at 8:11 PM on October 12, 2007


By "rubber seeds", I mean seeds from rubber trees.
posted by Xere at 8:11 PM on October 12, 2007


What was the rule which, when violated, allowed your opponents to have three free shots at your knuckles with his conker? IIRC, it had something to do with carelessness or aggression and the free shots were supposed to instill caution by teaching consequences.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 4:08 AM on October 13, 2007


Also, there is a peculiar type of Englishman -- generally from small towns and villages, and with a tendency towards outdoor sports like Rugby and hunting. There's a subset of this group that, on mating for the first time, has been known to shout at the top of his lungs:

"Obbly, obbly onker,
My first bonker!!
posted by PeterMcDermott at 4:15 AM on October 13, 2007


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