Sport //

Is there a worse sport?

Lane Sainty will never ferret a leg or leg a ferret

In a desperate attempt for legitimacy, weird sports are often portrayed as endearing, niche, or just plain underappreciated. A lot of the time, this is actually the case, and as a fan of all things bizarre, I tend to give credit where it’s due. However, it is virtually impossible to describe the ridiculous habit of ferret legging as anything other than a complete waste of time.

The game allegedly stems from tougher times in England, when only the relatively wealthy were able to hunt animals and poachers were forced to stuff ferrets down their pants to elude capture. Then, because people are idiots, this became a thing.

The aim of ferret legging is to keep a ferret down your pants for as long as possible. That’s pretty much it. Contestants don baggy trousers that are tied tightly at the ankles, drop a ferret inside and then tighten up the waist.  Then, it’s the ultimate waiting game, as contestants attempt to put up with the obvious discomfort associated with such an activity. The world record is five hours and thirty minutes, held jointly by Frank Bartlett and Christine Farnsworth.

Participants in ferret legging are usually male, presumably because their genitalia incite a more frenzied reaction from the ferrets. No underpants may be worn, and the ferret must be able to move freely from one trouser leg to another. The only other rules are that contestants cannot be drunk and ferrets cannot be sedated. The fact that all involved must be in a sober state of mind, and yet, the ferret legging continues, is perhaps the most frightening aspect of all.

Somehow, ferret legging is simultaneously tedious, dumb, and ethically questionable, a combination of elements which have never produced a decent game. It’s not only unpleasant for the contestant, but also for the ferret, and heck, probably those watching too. While some might lament the impending death of this so-called sport, the rest of us can thank our lucky stars that it appears to be fading into obscurity.