(This is a solo column by Chris, the adult writer of the Gab Four. For more solo columns from Chris, visit the official Web site of the Gab Four, www.MyBriefs.com.)
1901, 1920 and 2006.
What do those years have in common? In order to answer my own question, I will reveal that each of those years signify when a particular sport was officially organized into a league.
For Major League Baseball, 1901 brought together the National and American Leagues. In 1920, the National Football League was organized. And in 2006 thumb wrestling was officially sanctioned by the Thumb Wrestling Federation.
After years of unofficial matches, played under different sets of rules and without miniature thumb masks on each contestant, the TWF did for the sport of thumb wrestling what a trip to the Container Store does for one’s closet.
In an effort to avoid delays in starting a match, due to each participant wanting to use a different jingle before wrestling (often resulting in sweaty and slightly-awkward prolonged hand-holding sessions), the TWF declared “Four, three, two, one, who will be the strongest thumb?” to be the universal chant to begin a match.
Many of the TWF’s decisions have curtailed potentially embarrassing moments between wrestlers, alleviating any confusion from onlookers as to whether the opponents were trying to get fresh with one another. This includes knowing when to stop a match.
I have had many encounters with fellow thumb wrestlers who prematurely declared victory by pinning my thumb for roughly one nanosecond. In order for all thumb wrestlers to play by the same set of rules, the TWF mandated that a thumb must be pinned down for five seconds before a champion is crowned.
If more fun can be had by an opposable thumb than wearing a wrestling mask, I am not aware of it.
Much like the New York Jets, Alex Rodriguez and Kobe Bryant, the TWF has many wrestlers that are either loved or hated. And by “many wrestlers” I mean “all of the wrestlers.”
The TWF divides its wrestlers into two categories: the Dexteras (the good thumbs) and the Sinistras (Kobe Bryant’s thumbs).
This allows clean, rule-abiding thumb wrestlers to choose a character mask that fits them, such as Hometown Huck, Vini Vidi Victory or Big Star.
Conversely, thumb wrestlers partial to athletes who use performance-enhancing drugs or coaches who secretly videotape other team’s practices may be more comfortable choosing Senator Skull, Captain Carpal or Mugsy Thumbscrew to wear on their thumb.
Just like other sports wouldn’t be complete without play-by-play and color announcers, the TWF employs commentator thumbs, one of whom has a somewhat convincing Russian accent and may have once run a Gulag.
Said announcers Dick Thompson and Colonel Cossack also narrate the “TWF Official Thumbbook,” detailing the federation’s rich history. The thumbbook also includes cutouts and a “design your own wrestler” page.
TWF matches have been broadcast on Cartoon Network and can currently be found on YouTube. With officially-licensed toys, apparel and collectibles, the TWF has easily surpassed arm wrestling and the NHL to become the fifth most popular sport in my household.
About the only ones not happy with the TWF creating a uniform system of rules are dogs, who do not even participate in thumb wrestling, mainly because they have no thumbs.
And even though the TWF may be as fictitious as its announcer’s Russian accent, it also means there is no chance for a lockout.