Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Senegalese Wrestling

Over the weekend I attended two Senegalese wrestling matches or Lutes in Sokone and then there was a huge televised match on Sunday. Senegalese wrestling involves a lot of music, singing and dancing. In Sokone there was a group of drummers and a group of singers who where passing a microphone back and forth between two women so they could take turns shrieking into it. One thing I’ve noticed is that there are about 2 volume levels here for any sort of music – as loud as the equipment allows and add more equipment. The wrestlers are wearing a sumo sort of outfit with what looks like a speedo training suit under. They dance around to warm up, sometimes jogging, when they are ready there is a sort of patty-cake looking thing that happens and then someone makes a move to either get their opponent onto his back or get both knees and both hands on the ground. The most entertaining part for me was when someone wins, they, followed by all their fans in the crowd, sprint out of the arena while the loser is left laying in the sand. On tv I even saw the loser of a match crying, I guess it’s a big deal. There seem to be different weight classes and ability levels but these guys are usually pretty big and very fit.

With the fight on Sunday – the Tyson fight, my entire street cleared out as people went inside to watch it on tv. Tyson isn’t his real name, he actually took the name for himself from Mike Tyson and he regularly wears a sort of poncho made out of an American flag. He is from Kaolack and appeared to be the favorite to win. He was walking around before the match all cocky and full of himself so I started rooting against him. It was a pretty good match and Tyson ended up losing, I’m interested to see what it’ll do for his image – he’s in a couple commercials here and everything.

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