of people poking each other have existed since pre-historic times.
None of them were very fun and most were slightly painful. It wasn’t
until 1250 BC before a poking game would become a sporting phenomenon.
A group of Israelites led by Moses were camped at a site known as
Phalanges. Then the angel of the Lord came down and spoke through
Moses. He gave them an amazing gift, which the ancient Israelites
referred to as "finger spearing." The chosen people were happy since
now they had something with which they could entertain themselves.
over a thousand years, the Israelites prospered until 63 BC. A vast
army of Roman soldiers came down and took control of the holy lands.
While under Roman law, the Israelites would gamble with the Romans
for land, property, and honor. One of the more played gambling games was finger spearing. The Romans eventually adopted the sport and
brought it back to Rome. There it was used in the Coliseum as a
milder form of gladiatorial events. The sport spread through out
the Roman Empire including a little place in northwest Asia Minor
known as Nicaea. There in 325 AD, one hundred Catholic bishops met
to discuss the Arian controversy and the date of Easter. The books
in the Bible, as some extremists believe, were not chosen at Nicaea
though along with the Arian controversy, one book was debated on
to see if it was religiously inspired. That manuscript was the Book
of Phalanges. The ecumenical council decided that the book probably
did not have divine inspiration. They sent it back to Jerusalem
where it vanished.
in 476 AD the Roman Empire fell. With it went culture, technology,
and finger spearing. All records of the sport were gone and people
were forced to play Rock Paper Scissors. This period in time was
known as the Dark Ages. That all changed in 1099 when Jerusalem
was raided in the First Crusade. Among some of the ancient historic
artifacts found was a curious manuscript that was sent to scholars
in England to be translated. The book was made into English, and
the Hebrew form of the words “finger spearing” was changed to “finger
jousting.” This newly found sport spread throughout England and
into Western Europe.
the Catholic Church outlawed crossbows and finger jousting in an
effort to reduce the carnage in war. The ban on crossbows was repealed
in a few decades, but finger jousting was still illegal. The consent
of the Church was that finger jousting was more harmful and evil
than crossbows. Jousters had to practice in secret for more than
two hundred years until the Great Schism in 1378. In an attempt
to reduce the amount of Christians splitting away from Catholicism,
the Church repealed its ban on finger jousting. The bold move helped
the Church, but many of those who had split away did not like finger
jousting and decided to join the Orthodox Church.
the next few hundred years finger jousting prospered. Events were
held at real jousting tournaments as side shows. In 1439 Joan of
Arc was being attacked by the British at Orleans. To raise the morale
of her troops, she held weekly finger jousting tournaments. This
caused the French to eventually win the war.
1500s, Spanish missionaries were sent to the Americas to convert
the indigenous people to Catholicism. With them they brought many
strange customs, foods, and inventions. Among those was finger jousting.
The Native Americans would finger joust against the “white men”
for land. Unfortunately for them, they would lose the land anyway.
next big event happened in 1692 in Salem, Massachusetts—a
place of major witch activity. One of the ways the people figured
out if a woman was a witch or not was to have a priest finger joust
her. If the priest lost, then the woman was a witch who used the
powers of Satan against him; thus she was killed. If the priest
won, then the woman was a witch whose Satanic powers were defeated
by the power of God; thus she was killed. Many witches died at the
hand of finger jousting that year.
April 18th, 1775,
the British red coats finger jousted the American patriots at
Concord and Lexington;
it was the joust heard ‘round the world. After that the real battle
began, and the British suffered extensive losses. The American win
has been attributed to the powerful right arm of Paul Revere who
happened to be an expert jouster.
1800s saw many advances in science and engineering. Among those
were the transcontinental railroads. Thanks to this new form of
travel, the east was better connected with the west. The easterners
who were going to California for the gold rush brought the sport
of finger jousting with them. Finger jousting finally became a nationally
recognized sport in the United States.
jousting advanced like never before in the early 1900s. In 1905
Albert Einstein was watching a finger jousting match when he contemplated
on his Special Theory of Relativity. He theorized that if two people
finger jousted at the speed of light then their fingers would occupy
all points of space at the same time. This would result in a point
and illegal lance for each player instantaneously. Thus it would
be a complete stalemate.
of the more important events in the early part of the century was
the sinking of the Titanic. The major reason why the Titanic haphazardly
hit the iceberg was because the captain and first mate were having
a finger jousting match in the cabin. When they found out that the
ship was heading for an iceberg, it was too late. The sinking of
the Titanic was the largest finger jousting related catastrophe
since the Salem witch trials. Events like those have given a bit of bad press
to the sport.
decade following the sinking of the Titanic had at least one major
advance in finger jousting. The 1920s saw an influx in corporate
parties and the advent of the radio. Business executives would finger
joust at parties, and families would gather around radios to listen
to finger jousting matches. The 1930s was a bad time for finger
jousting because of the Great Depression. Sometimes the poor would
partake in the sport to brighten their spirits; sometimes the rich
would partake in the sport, because they were happy and bored. The
largest event of the 1940s was World War II. Soldiers on the front
line would entertain themselves by playing cards, looking at pictures
of women, and finger jousting. They did the same things earlier
in World War I except they played different card games.
culture was changed forever in the 1950s with the dawn of Rock and
Roll. Many young greasers would hang out at malt shops and joust
in the alleyways in their leather jackets. The age of the greaser
died out in the 1960s and 70s due to the Vietnam War and the hippy
counter-culture. Finger jousting was an important leisure activity
for the soldiers in Vietnam like it has been for warriors for thousands
of years. On the other hand, most hippies did not finger joust,
because they believed in peace and love; they were also too stoned
to extend their index fingers. In 1969, a few weeks after landing
on the moon, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin took a break during
an experiment to finger joust; Buzz won. It was the first finger
jousting match on another world. They would later joust on a moonwalk
these times, there were major advances in the reduction of racial
and gender discrimination. African Americans were given the legal
authority to joust in major tournaments in the 1960s. Less than
a score later, a 1978 Supreme Court decision gave women the ability
to compete in finger jousting tournaments. These changes were reflected
in the new levels of competition and the variance between competitors
1980s and 90s, finger jousting gained a whole new demographic with
the increasing number of video game players. They spread the game
through out school campuses and comic book stores. Next the Internet
came around, and finger jousting was referenced in blogs all over
in the 21st Century, a young man was practicing for a
school play when some older actors were playing a strange sport.
The young man found out that the sport was called finger jousting
and instantly was hooked. In the summer of 2005 he founded the first
international organization dedicated to finger jousting; that organization
is the World Finger Jousting Federation.
No one knows what future lies ahead for the little sport that could.
Some historians believe that finger jousting will prosper while
others believe it will fail. All that is for certain is that if
there is a will, there is a way, and if there is a finger, there
is a joust.