That’s the question the Italian sports website sport.sky is asking in a photo-article about Harrijasotze.  In their article, they say:

“A journey to discover the strangest and craziest sports in the world…Did you know, for example, that lifting huge rocks is the traditional sport of the Basque Country? And there are also girls who practice it from an early age”

If we’re honest, if there are any sports that could be called strange or crazy, they are those where two groups of people chase after a circular or oval-shaped ball to try to get it through some sort of goalpost.

After all, Basque rural sports (like those of many other places in the world) are nothing but the natural consequence of wanting to prove who’s best at working in the field (or at sea).  That is, they’re closely linked to the daily lives of the societies that created them.  The same cannot be said of many of the sports the writer of this article would likely classify as “normal.”

Similarly, he includes on this list of “crazy” sports Aizkora proba and Woodchopping. However, he doesn’t speak of the “Basque variants” of these traditional sports, practiced across the world, but rather of the Timbersports practiced in Tasmania.

He also seems surprised by the fact that women participate in this rural sport, as if it were improper for them to, or they didn’t fit in.  That might have been the mentality decades ago, but nowadays it seems highly illogical to think that way.  Why wouldn’t they lift stones or chop wood as sports, when they’ve been doing that in the field for centuries, especially when it’s “normal” for women to play football or box.

In any case, what is perhaps inappropriate is to include Basque rural sports in the same “strange” category as monocycling, the X-League, where women play American football in underwear, or Chess Boxing.  But, as is common, when something is unknown or strange, it’s just crazy.

Luckily, we’ve found many other articles from around the world that discuss Herri Kirolak in a much better way.

Sport Sky – 4/4/2022 – Italy

Harrijasotzaile, il campionato di sollevamento massi celebre nei Paesi Baschi

Un viaggio alla scoperta degli sport più strani e pazzi del mondo. Perché di vere e proprie “discipline” si tratta, con tanto di regolamento, campionati internazionali e seguito di tifosi e appassionati. Sapevate ad esempio che sollevare massi enormi è lo sport tradizionale dei Paesi Baschi? E ci sono anche bambine che lo praticano fin da piccole

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