Summer’s approach means many things—but in the netherworld of niche sports, the season for odd, scrappy, almost invisible world championship events is certainly upon us. Consider the World Boomerang Championship, which (apparently, allegedly) took place over two weeks in Rome and concluded last weekend. As near as I can tell, this International Federation of Boomerang Associations-sanctioned tournament did, in fact, occur. I’m not guaranteeing that, however.
Corrierre della Sera, one of Italy’s leading newspapers, ran a preview story that I can almost decode using my extremely limited Spanish, high school-level French, and the scraps of Sicilian dialect that I picked up from repeated viewings of that Godfather scene when Michael shoots Sollozzo in the restaurant. According to this article (he said, in an authoritative tone of voice), competitive boomerang adopts the weapon developed by Australian aboriginal peoples for use in hunting and warfare to a variety of sporting disciplines. The Worlds date back to 1987, and this edition of the tournament featured competitors from 15 different countries. Beyond that, the IFBA’s showcase event does not seem to have generated many detectable tremors even on that most sensitive of gauges, the internet. The 2008 Championship, held in Seattle (who knew?), produced several evocative videos. These show that competitive boomerang is a sport of steely concentration, impressive parabolic arcs, balletic footwork, and a cool whooshing sound.
For anything else, we’re kind of going to have to take the IFBA’s word for it—and this organization demonstrates a refreshing lack of Type A insistence on having a flashy website or flooding the world with self-serving information. I did manage to find what appears to be a list of Championship results. Aside from cool-sounding event names like “Fast Catch” and “Trick Doubling,” the winners’ list is notable what it lacks: Australians. The Australians, it turns out, aren’t very good at boomerang.