It’s no secret that in the times of old, a strong, sporting male was much more likely to attract a mate than an academic. A buff, manly man was far more likely to maintain a household and bring honour to his name - or so was the logic.
The best example of sports being used as a way to secure a spouse is probably the Scottish Highland Games. These Games were used for a variety of things, including finding the fastest possible foot messenger through foor races, as well as finding a suitor for high ranking ladies. Obviously, your ability to throw a tree is an indication of your fitness to be a spouse.
In more recent times, the Highland Games are still going strong, but have been adapted as a more equally opportunity competition with categories for both men and women. While you could very well go to Scotland to try your hand at the Games, a much closer alternative lies in the Fergus Scottish Festival and Highland Games in Fergus, ON., from August 11th to 13th. Registration is available at their website, https://fergusscottishfestival.com/ now!
Republished from The Quill print edition, Volume 107, Issue 22, February 14th, 2017.