Today I’m writing about purring. Not like kitty cats. Not even close. In fact, you can file this post under my series of strange English sports. Like I said, it’s called “purring.”  I was just informed of its existence, and you needed to know all about it. Like most strange English sports, it was invented by coal miners, and you begin by stuffing something down your pants–straw in the case of purring. Next put on a uniform (it used to be a shepherd’s smock).

Then you find a friend and–now, pay attention and try really hard to follow these rules because they’re tricky–you take turns kicking each other in the shins until one of you falls down.

You can also stomp on each other’s feet.

Shin kicking. Because your sports are dumb and stupid.

So, purring is basically what Go is to the Chinese, or backgammon to the ancient Persians, except, well, it’s kind of stupid.

In the olden (rougher) days,  contestants wore steel-toed boots. Their contemporaries–the whiners–of modern times are all wear soft soled shoes.

There’s a referee. He gets a long knobby stick to hit the contestants with, if they get out of hand.

With their ever-strange sense of irony, the British also call this sport “shin kicking.” No idea why. Maybe you can help me with the word origin there. Don’t believe me? Look it up on Wikipedia. They have a world championship.  My favorite line of the article is the last one: “Ambulance crews also attend the events in case of injury.” snort! And people wonder why I’m an Anglophile…


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