There are extreme sports. And then, there is Extreme Ironing. Far from being hailed as the next big thing, confusion lies over whether this bizarre meeting of sporting talent and domestic bliss is indeed a sport at all.
The general concept is simple enough; contestants iron clothes in extreme places such as mountain tops, underwater and whilst bungee jumping. They are judged on both their creative ironing skills and also the quality of their ironing, with a ‘crease check’ being conducted on the clothes after each round. A small yet committed group of people compete in the Extreme Ironing World Championships, which were first held in Germany in 2002.
There are a number of competing theories about how Extreme Ironing came about. One popular belief is that it was borne out of the film clip to a 1995 song called Negasonic Teenage Warhead by the band Monster Magnet. In the clip, a band member is seen ironing on an asteroid. It’s worth YouTubing— once. Other theories state that it was first attempted in the UK in 1997 (although this is much less interesting).
In terms of legacy, it would be a blatant lie to say that Extreme Ironing has left a long lasting and important mark on society as we know it. Few people have heard of the phenomenon, and those who have tend to regard it as a ridiculous and unproductive pastime. They may be right.
However, it must be noted that Extreme Ironing is largely credited with the birth of Extreme Cello playing— and that can only be a good thing.
Lane Sainty is on Twitter: @lanesainty