Sport: Finger Exercise

As far back as the 14th century, and perhaps before, Bavarian males have tested each other by the simple, direct method of sitting on opposite sides of a table, inserting their middle fingers in a leather loop and pulling. Well ballasted by beer, a hefty Bauerbursche (farm boy) can jerk an opponent belly-first across the table. At wedding receptions and opulent wakes, muscular champions of Fingerhackln (finger wrestling) customarily duel for a girl's favors. Last week in the market hall at Rosenheim, 76 burly Bavarians met for the Fingerhackln championship of the entire state.

To toughen their fighting fingers, contestants had long...

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