Great Game

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The bear, lion and Afghan ready for combat during the Great Game.

The Great Game refers to the longest ever sporting event in world history played in the mountains of Afghanistan, played by Russian and English teams in the nineteenth century. It started because of a vodka shortage in Russia, so the Russians sent some men to India to see if there was any vodka there. The English only had tea but the Russians thought the English were bluffing, and eventually relations broke down and the English challenged the Russians to a cricket match. This was a disaster however because the Russians didn't know the rules so when the first English bowler bowled at the Russian, the Russian shot him. Then they shot most of the other fielders, but they were so bad at the game that they still lost. It was decided that a compromise sport would have to be played, because the Russians couldnt play cricket and the English couldnt play Polo Bear - the national sport of Russia.

They decided that they would set up a gladiatorial style combat using lions, bears and Afghans. An arena with three gates was set up, and the three creatures were released into the ring and battled each other. If the lion survived the Russians would go home and come back the next year. If the bear survived the English would go back and wait another year. If the Afghan won both teams would go back and wait till the next year. As such it combined bear-baiting and lion-taming into the world's most popular sport before the Olympic games had begun.

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