43-Man Squamish is a fictional sport that was invented in issue #95 of MAD Magazine (June 1965) by George Woodbridge and Tom Koch. The article was memorable enough to be mentioned by the New York Times in Woodbridge's 2004 obituary.
Published under the "There's a Soccer Born Every Minute Dept." heading, the magazine purported that its new sport would avoid the "inherent evils" present in other college sports, described as too professional and which do not allow everyone to participate. 43-Man Squamish is an incredibly complex game with intentionally convoluted and confusing rules. In the article, new terminology is introduced with no explanation; much of the humor derives from the reader's half-successful attempts at gleaning a meaning from context. Exactly what everyone on the team is supposed to do, exactly what penalties apply, and exactly when or why the "yellow danger flag" is to be flown remains far from clear, even after repeated readings.
Although writer Koch intended the game to be completely unplayable, MAD Magazine received many reprint requests from colleges. Some colleges even attempted to form teams and play the game; the letters column to MAD #97 included several "team photos" and accounts from new acolytes of the sport. A student from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute issued a public challenge to Harvard, and sent in photographs (see Page 7 of the 1968 RPI Transit) of its team in poses taken from the original article.
A photo of the team from the University of Alberta accompanied a letter exulting that "we happen to be the only undefeated Squamish team in Western Canada, mainly because we are the only team in Western Canada, and we haven't played a game. We can't understand why we have no opposition." A letter from the Athletic Committee of Marquette University reported that three of its Squamish players had been suspended for "sportsmanlike conduct."
28 years later, MAD debuted the alleged board game "Three-Cornered Pitney," also written by Tom Koch, which featured similarly ridiculous rules. In Mad's spoof of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, the name of Quidditch was replaced with "Squamish".
Each team consists of one left and one right Inside Grouch, one left and one right Outside Grouch, four Deep Brooders, four Shallow Brooders, five Wicket Men, three Offensive Niblings, four Quarter-Frummerts, two Half-Frummerts, one Full-Frummert, two Overblats, two Underblats, nine Back-Up Finks, two Leapers and a Dummy — for a total of 43.
The game officials are a Probate Judge (dressed as a British judge, with wig), a Field Representative (in a Scottish kilt), a Head Cockswain (in long overcoat), and a Baggage Smasher (dressed as a male beachgoer of pre-World War I years). None has any authority after play has begun. If the officials disagree, a decision is made by the spectator who left his car in the parking lot with the lights on and the motor running.
The article's introduction claims the game was created because of the excessive professionalism of college sports and promises amateur fun for all. However, Squamish players lose their amateur status by accepting subsidies, endorsing products, making collect phone calls, or eating garlic. Any player may turn Pro simply by throwing a game.
Squamish is played on a pentagonal field, or Flutney, and the game is divided into a period of 15 minutes, known as an Ogre. Most squamish games consist of seven Ogres, unless of course, it rains. In that case, they are to play eight Ogres. Play begins once the teams have lined up on opposite sides of the field.
- An official Pritz (or ball) is 3-3/4 inches in diameter. It is constructed from untreated ibex hide, and is stuffed with blue jay feathers.
- Each player is equipped with a Frullip, a long hooked stick very similar in appearance to a shepherd's crook. It is used to prevent opposing players from scoring with the Pritz.
- Gloves, a helmet, and flippers are also required in an official Squamish game. Any extra padding is suggested, but optional.
Before any game, the Probate Judge must first flip a coin, a new Spanish peseta, while the Visiting Captain guesses the toss. If he guesses correctly, the game is cancelled immediately. If not, the Home Team Captain must then decide if he wishes to play offense or defense first. Play begins after a frullip is touched to the flutney and the recitation "¡Mi tío está enfermo, pero la carretera es verde!", a wise old Chilean saying that means, "My uncle is sick but the highway is green!"
The offensive team has five Snivels (equivalent to downs in American football) to advance to the enemy goal. Carrying the Pritz across the goal line is a Woomik and scores 17 points; hitting it across with the frullip counts as a Durmish and only scores 11 points. Except in the 7th Ogre (and the 8th, if it rains), only the offensive Niblings and Overblats are allowed to score. In such cases, the four Quarter-Frummerts are allowed to kick or throw the Pritz, and the nine Finks are allowed to heckle the opposition by doing imitations of Barry Goldwater.
The teams are to play a sudden-death overtime to break a tie, unless both Left Overblats are out of the game on personal fouls. If this is the case, the tie is settled by the teams lining up on opposite sides of the flutney (inherently difficult on a pentagonal shape) and shouting dirty limericks at each other until one side breaks up laughing.
A number of penalties are imposed that claim to keep play from getting out of hand. The minor infractions are walling the Pritz, Frullip-gouging, icing on fifth Snivel, running with the mob, and raunching, and are subject to a ten-yard penalty. The major infractions, punishable by loss of half the Flutney except when the Yellow Caution Flag is out, are sending the Dummy home early, interfering with Wicket Men, rushing the season, bowing to the inevitable, and inability to face facts.
When an insufficient number of players precludes a regulation 43-Man Squamish match, a simplified version may be played: 2-Man Squamish. The rules are the same, except in 2-Man Squamish, the object is to lose.
An adaptation of the game, using the same name, is often played at some camps in Ontario, such as Medeba Adventure Learning Centre, Graphite Bible Camp, and Aush-Bik-Koong Bible Camp. This adaptation, while it does not follow the extravagant rule system, does bear a distant similarity, and is explained using the same terms. It is full-contact, generally with no protective equipment, and played using a rugby ball as a Pritz. Any player may be tackled (below the waist) at any time, however the word "Org!" (a reference to the 7 "Ogres" in 43-Man Squamish) must be shouted as a warning before a player may tackle another. The ball must be carried, thrown, and kicked with both hands, and must be kicked into the goal with the player's non-dominant foot.
A fraternal social organization under the name of Squamish was formed by a small group of students at Rutgers University in the late 1960s, but moved in short order to the Florida Institute of Technology in 1968, where it survives to this day. The organization is a social group which has features of, but is intended to parody, traditional fraternities and sororities. Accepting both men and women, the group has been an active part of FIT social life since its inception. The group adopted the name and many references to the original Mad Magazine article, in order to parody the excessively ritualistic mannerisms and entry rituals of traditional college fraternal organizations.
43-Man Squamish is referenced on a Trivial Pursuit-style question card seen very briefly in the "Weird Al" Yankovic parody video "White & Nerdy"; the last question on the card is "How many Wicket Men are there on a 43-Man Squamish team?" "Weird Al" also mentions the sport in an episode of The Weird Al Show.
The science fiction novel Endymion by Dan Simmons describes Raul's flight through a crowded mess as, "They made way for me as I dodged through them like a deep brooder on a forty-three-man squamish team herding the goat in for the goal."
- Brockian Ultra-Cricket
- Mornington Crescent (game)
- Squamish, British Columbia
- Nash, Eric (2004-01-22). "George Woodbridge, 73, Artist for Mad Magazine Since 1950's, Dies". The New York Times. Retrieved 2014-06-12.
- "43-Man Squamish article, Mad Magazine #95, June 1965". Retrieved 2014-06-12.
- "43-Man Squamish article, Mad Magazine #95, June 1965". Retrieved 2014-06-12.
- Lacy, Drew. "Missing memorial table sparks questions and fundraisers". FIT Crimson. Retrieved 03/12/2013.
- "RoIO CD: My Uncle Is Sick Because The Highway Is Green".