Grab the goat, bring it around the pole and put it in the circle.
September 24, 2011 4:58 PM   Subscribe

In northern Afghanistan, here are goats, horses, men and dusty plains, and they have been there ever since Genghis Khan and his Mongol horde swept into the neighborhood in the 13th century. Their game, then, is simple. Men on horseback grab a goat from a chalk circle, carry it around a pole and drop it into another circle. No downs or innings. Sometimes there are teams, and sometimes there aren't. Sometimes the field is 200 meters by 200 meters, and sometimes it isn't. And the goat might be a calf, but it's always dead, with its head and hooves cut off. Grab the goat, bring it around the pole and put it in the circle. That's buzkashi.
posted by nevercalm (29 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
We're going to need some more ESPN channels.
posted by auto-correct at 5:05 PM on September 24, 2011 [4 favorites]


My favorite Afghan place in NYC has a huge painted mural of one of these games and it's always mystified me just what in God's name they were supposed to be doing with that goat, and now I know.
posted by The Whelk at 5:10 PM on September 24, 2011


Yeah I saw this great documentary about it once.
posted by Kandarp Von Bontee at 5:19 PM on September 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


We're going to need some more ESPN channels.

Sounds like a good fit for the Ocho.
posted by kmz at 5:19 PM on September 24, 2011 [5 favorites]


Come on guys, I really doubt American sports broadcasters would want to bring fame and attention to people who abuse animals.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 5:24 PM on September 24, 2011 [10 favorites]


Unless they tortured the goat to death, using its carcass directly isn't any more animal abuse than making a ball out of its hide.
posted by Pyry at 5:34 PM on September 24, 2011 [12 favorites]


Might make it a bit more interesting if the goat was alive...
posted by unknowncommand at 5:41 PM on September 24, 2011


Might make it a bit more interesting if the goat was alive...

Sometimes, appreciation of humanity is a struggle.
posted by rain at 5:44 PM on September 24, 2011 [4 favorites]


Does this have some kind of tenderizing effect on the meat? That would make sense if it was then shared in a feast by both clans who may have been disagreeing about something.

Clan 1: Oh hey, this goat's dead.
Clan 2: Lets throw it around and eat it.
Clan 3: Ummm...yeah, I'm down.

Great. Nobody dies, party at the end.

Sometimes, appreciation of humanity is a struggle.

Indeed.
posted by hal_c_on at 6:00 PM on September 24, 2011


Sometimes there are no horses and the goat is someone's armor bag containing everyone's spare gear so it is only slightly heavier and smellier than a dead goat. And you hit one another with sticks.

Sometimes I think I should get out more.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 6:07 PM on September 24, 2011


there's this friend of mine that works at a sports radio station (or website? can't remember) he said that the big thing amongst his co-workers was betting on sports, like they were absolutely crazy about it - constant office pools going, online betting, racetracks, whatever sport they could find, they bet on. It's been a few years since I've talked to him, but back then he said that this was the new thing they were excited in betting on. Though he was participating in a small way, he also aknowledged that if you are so desparate to gamble you'll even put money on a bunch of guys throwing a goat around, you probably have a real problem.
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 6:23 PM on September 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


...you hit one another with sticks...

Yes. I could totally get behind a game of assholes hitting each other with sticks. There could be a world wide tournament. I'm feeling better just thinking about it.
posted by rain at 6:36 PM on September 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


You know who's really good at this game?

John Rambo.
posted by apranica at 6:40 PM on September 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


Come on guys, I really doubt American sports broadcasters would want to bring fame and attention to people who abuse animals.

They were talking in the article about standardizing the sport with fake goats made by Wilson. That might have made Cast Away more interesting.
posted by arcticseal at 6:56 PM on September 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


> Sometimes, appreciation of humanity is a struggle.

Wasn't polo originally played with severed enemies' heads?
posted by jfuller at 7:11 PM on September 24, 2011


This is surely one bad ass game. If you would like to see a cinematographic masterpiece centered upon this sport then check out The Horsemen starring Omar Sharif and Jack Palance. This is one beautifully photographed film. It reminds me of Lawrence of Arabia. Beyond the photography the story is decent, in a macho coming of age/finding one's self sort of way.
posted by caddis at 7:16 PM on September 24, 2011


Do you have to put the goat in the circle or does close count? I hope so. That way next time some asshole says, "Close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades," I can say, "Well, and buzkashi" and walk away.

Don't worry, people already think I am weird.
posted by cjorgensen at 8:19 PM on September 24, 2011


Buzkashi?! I thought that was a type of adult film where a bunch of naked guys form a circle around a goat and... wait. No, sorry, nevermind...
posted by hincandenza at 8:52 PM on September 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Triple?
posted by zarq at 9:24 PM on September 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


I read the book 'The Horsemen' thought it was a rather stupid book. Did not bother about the movie.

It is football/soccer which started with the severed heads of enemies.
William Wallace's men played the first match, using heads of the defeated English after the Battle of Stirling.
posted by Katjusa Roquette at 12:09 AM on September 25, 2011


Barbaric. Why don't they do what the civilised countries do and throw around a leather ball.
posted by seanyboy at 3:26 AM on September 25, 2011


Am I the only one who was hoping this was a link to a new flash game?
posted by Drab_Parts at 5:20 AM on September 25, 2011


I'm thinking that there are easier ways of tenderizing meat.
posted by Splunge at 5:34 AM on September 25, 2011


> Wasn't polo originally played with severed enemies' heads?

There is a scene in the movie The Man Who Would be King set in Afghanistan where the white guy characters, played by Connery and Caine, are horrified by their hosts playing polo with a severed enemy head.

Perhaps this is fiction like most of the rest of that fine movie.
posted by bukvich at 6:14 AM on September 25, 2011


Quidditch...FOR MEN.
posted by ZsigE at 8:27 AM on September 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


This article really gets my goat.
posted by azpenguin at 10:09 AM on September 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


"There is no greater shame to a chief or horse owner then when his horse has performed badly. It is better to shoot a chief straight in the face with a gun then tell him loudly on the field that his horse is weak and not fast enough."

Unlike the clips above ... some actual Buzkashi footage.
posted by hoodrich at 12:40 PM on September 25, 2011


I'd like to see a team of Horseball girls getting a piece of the action in there, I think they'd sort these guys out.
posted by Erasmouse at 2:14 PM on September 25, 2011


goad.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 6:23 PM on September 25, 2011


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