Berlin. In response to widespread public pressure from every corner of the globe, the International Olympic Committee has finally added “shoe” to the 2020 Winter Olympic Games. It is expected at least 175 countries will enter both individual and team competitions.
Reflecting the social media-prompted craze, the game of shoe has essentially taken over the world sport scene. Attendance at soccer, baseball, and American football is at an all-time low. On September 16, 2014, for example, while only 18 people saw the New York Yankees play the Boston Red Sox for the American league championship, many millions were at home playing shoe and an estimated one billion people in 120 countries watched the nail-biting match between top-rated teams from Iceland and Kenya, won by Kenya on the last play of the contest.
A deceptively simply game, shoe involves strategically placing two shoes on the outside (cannot be on the inside) of a door but no more than eight inches from the door itself. Points are allocated based on the type of shoe, the angle(s) and heights of the shoes, and, most importantly, the creativity in using the limited space and the two shoes.
Players take turns manipulating the shoes with points allocated after each move. The photo to the upper right depicts the Wymann Gambit first played in 1994 by Alphonse Wymann of the Netherlands who placed two crossed orange flip flop shoes in the center of the door with one resting on its heel and the other on its toe and, obviously, won the match with the best total score in the history of the game. No one had ever made this innovative play before and Wymann was the unanimous choice as the 1997 Shoe Player of the Year.
The game is over when the referees declare “time” and declare a winner. A unique feature of shoe is that the winner is not necessarily the person with the higher point score or even with a decent score. The refs have the discretion to declare the winner to be the athlete with the lower score. In addition, the referees decide how long the match lasts, ranging from a few seconds to four months. This unusual approach to timekeeping and scoring keeps fans’interest at a feverish high until the winner is announced.