Drive through the Stanford campus on certain days and you're likely to see a group of people, some sporting kilts, doing things like tossing long, heavy wooden pools around. In today's Inside Stanford Medicine, my colleague Sara Wykes tells the fun story of a group of medical school researchers and staff who participate in Scottish heavy athletics, such as caber tossing. From her article:
"I saw cabers out here by a tree, and saw Alan around with the kilt and made the connection," [Brian Grone, PhD,] said. Alan Hebert is a computer research associate at the Beckman Center for Molecular and Genetic Medicine, which isn't too far from the Sand Hill Road recreational fields where the team practices twice a week. Hebert is the team's unofficial recruiter, but the sport really sells itself.
"For some people, it's the heritage," Hebert said. "There really is something to be said for picking up a weight and knowing that 120 years before, somebody else with a kilt did the same thing." Hebert is talking about the most modern tradition of the games, though these kinds of sports have taken place for many centuries.
Others, like Brady Weissbourd, a Stanford PhD candidate in biology and onetime captain of Harvard's volleyball team, find appeal in the physical challenge. "It's basic strength," Weissbourd said. "Who can throw this heavy rock the farthest? It's also fun and a good way to get out of the lab."
Photo of Brian Grone doing the weight throw by Norbert von der Groeben