45 Years of 43-Man Squamish

squamish team 2_ smaller.jpg Watching the nearly incomprehensible (for me anyway) Olympic men's short course team speed skating event on the television prompted me to do research that and find out it's the forty fifth anniversary of the invention of 43-Man Squamish.

For (mostly) men of a certain age, 43-Man Squamish is a favorite game. Back in the day, I played both Shallow Brooder and Half Frummert, something of a rarity. Invented by Tom Koch of Mad Magazine, I heard Squamish was under consideration as a Olympic sport, but lost out to Mass Start Biathlon and Air Rifle.

It's not as well known in the USA as in some parts of the world, so some Boing Boing readers are possibly only marginally familiar with it. Squamish is a full-contact, sometimes dangerous game played on a five sided field (the Flutney) by players using a long forked stick (the frullip) to smack around a special ball (the pritz.) More squamish rules and details are available here.


  1. Hahaha! I’m familiar with it. My father introduced me to the wonderful pastime of 43-Man Squamish years ago. :-)

  2. short-course speed skating is stupid, and i blame that apollo whoever guy for having a marketable name when it was new.

  3. To the degree that I am bilingual — “Mi Tio es infermo pero la carretera es verde!” — 43-Man Squamish is the reason!

    1. Ha. I was just logging in to comment “It doesn’t seem any more complicated than cricket” when I saw your post…

  4. Incidentally, the charming illustration at top is by the wonderful (and quite underrated) George Woodbridge.

  5. I’m sure the good folks of Squamish, BC wish they’d been included in this year’s Olympics, too, but the road to Whistler pretty much by-passes them completely. Great sport, great town. :)

  6. Ah 43 Man Squamish!I remember back in the days when it was just 41 Man Squamish… the play was a lot more open and fluid back then I think we can all agree!

    Noteworthy: 43 Man Squamish originates from British Columbia, Canada; currently the site of the 2010 Olympic games.

    Unless someone has defaced the entry again, you can read about it on Wikipedia:



  7. For kids out in the hinterlands (rural Pennsylvania in my case) Mad magazine was our introduction to Yiddish words and Yiddish-sounding nonsense words. 43-man Squamish is a great case in point.

    We couldn’t get 43 people together, so instead we invented our own game, Havana Ball, which was almost as ridiculous.

  8. I had completely forgotten about this until now. Loved it as a kid and re-read it a dozen times. Thanks for the meory jog

  9. I am sure that everyone involved in the production of the original article would agree that this post fills a much-needed void in the annals of sports.

    Ah, the Mad Magazine of my youth….

  10. Since all the other majors have already been covered, I’d just like to put in a shout-out for Australian Indoor Rules Quidditch.

  11. Having met the man, I would lay quite a lot of credit at the feet of MAD’s editor (at the time) Al Feldstein.

  12. hahaha…Im familiar with it. My son introduced me to the wonderful pastime of 43 Man Squamish years ago…

  13. I had the edition of Mad where they first mentioned the game. As a little kid with a sense of the absurd (that got me in trouble sometimes), I loved the whole idea.

  14. The sandlot squamish of my early years gave way to organized junior squamish. In due time it was high school squamish and then college squamish. I went to a small school in the Sand Hills of western Nebraska and we played a special sixteen man squamish. Even on those humble Flutneys we all dreamed of being like the legends; Rejean “The Pritz master” Bolduc, Miroslav “Big Assassin” Kopechne and “H-Bomb” Louie Lanza. Well, these dreams never materialized for me. I’ve had a wonderful career in the energy industry, but squamish will always be my love. I have tears in my eyes every four years when the world champions lift the Tierra del Fuego Cup.

  15. Attempts to start a high school team were fraught with difficulty. Building the 5-sided Flutney was a challenge, since no one in the school, including the teachers, possessed the math skills required to design it. Once that hurdle was cleared, and we were able to recruit the 43 players (offering it as an alternative to detention helped) as well as procuring enough swim fins we were able to begin practicing. The appalling casualties suffered in these scrimmages was another setback, but soon enough we were at full strength, ready to take on other teams. It was then that we found, to our chagrin, that there were in fact no other teams – at least not on the North American continent. Alas, we threw in the towel, converted our frillips into pool cues, and had to give the swim fins back to the local sporting goods store and unstuff the Pritz. Thus, my dreams of becoming a professional Offensive Niblet were dashed, since I had no opportunity to throw a game!

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