A writer and his wife participate in a centuries-old Scandinavian tradition known as “Wife-Carrying,” a sport where male competitors carry a female teammate while racing through an obstacle course:
And then my wife and I are 15 yards up the hill, and I am breathing hard, making it work. This isn’t so bad, I think. Like John Candy in Spaceballs, I say to myself, ‘I could carry two or three of these.’ Maybe a wife and a kid (that’s not allowed yet).
‘Divot,’ Megan shouts. I adjust. I’m a quarter of the way through. I’m a Wife-Carrying natural! This is the best decision that I, no that we, have made in… and I’m pitching forward into a swampy patch of October grass. Just like that, I’d broken a vow I’d made to my father-in-law. As if to maximize the surreal quality of this day, he’d driven up to watch the competition, and now I’d dropped his daughter. Seven-second penalty.
‘It’s a lot more physical than people give it credit for,’ Darcy Morse, the organizer of the race, warned when I signed up, and all at once I believe her. Suddenly, I feel like John Candy in Spaceballs. But I throw Megan onto my back again and come to the first obstacle, the Pommel Log. I’m over it, but I’m behind the couple we’re racing against, and starting to hear sympathy cheers. ‘You can do it,’ say some good-hearted Mainers with the sweet inflection of wincing, hopeful mommies.