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The Chiberia 2014 Winter Games

The Chiberia 2014 Winter Games

Screen Shot 2014-02-07 at 5.44.13 AM

If you’re the kind of person who likes to watch people in pique physical condition from around the world compete in various athletic events (that you could totally participate in just as successfully if you weren’t nestled so comfortably on the couch), the television event you’ve been waiting four years for is starting tonight: the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic Games. Rumor has it all the athletes are going to wear fake mustaches and dance to “Rasputin” from Just Dance 3.

If you’re familiar with the weather in Sochi, Russia (why do you have such specific knowledge about a previously obscure Russian city?), you’ll know that Sochi has a humid, subtropical climate that reaches a frigid 50 degrees during the day in its coolest months. Far away from Russia, in a state shaped like something a not-doomed stray dog chewed up called Illinois, the city of Chicago has been experiencing one of the most miserable winters in history. “Chiberia,” as it’s been called, has more snow than its residents know what to do with, and a 50-degree day here would probably prompt a statewide barbecue with sausages and a cacophony of Chicagoans using “da” as an article.

Unlike the real Olympic games that require a certain level of athleticism n sportsmanship (unless your bitch face inspires a tumblr), the Winter Games happening here in the Midwest is a struggle borne out of bitter necessity, and it’s open to everyone trying to function like a normal human being in a frozen tundra. Here are but a few of the sporting events we’ve hosted this year:

Screen Shot 2014-02-07 at 5.56.45 AMSpeed Scraping

To compete in this popular event, all you need is a brush with an ice scraper, a desire to see out of your car windows, and a pair of gloves thick enough to keep from feeling like you just gave Jack Frost a handjob. Speed scraping is really at its finest when you’re already running 20 minutes late for work, and it somehow slips your mind that your car is closer to being a stationary igloo than an actual mode of transportation. If you want to get the gold, remember to clean off the roof of your car before opening your driver’s side door—I’ve seen so many competitors lose precious seconds cleaning off the pile of snow that landed in their front seat.

Curling (Up in Bed and Calling Off of Work, Because Forget About Driving in this Weather)

It takes years of laziness and deception to qualify for this event. Those with children have a slight advantage because they can lament school closures forcing them to be responsible for the care of their spawn. Claiming your car won’t start may get you a bronze, but if you want the gold you have to get creative. This year’s gold medal contender claimed he couldn’t come into work because he was filing a lawsuit against an angry parent from the neighborhood sledding hill that claimed he was too old to own a saucer.

. 5 Meter Dash

In the most risqué event of the Winter Games, athletes compete fully nude in their own bathrooms. The .5 meter dash happens right after participants get out of the shower and rush to dry off and put their clothes back before their nipples become dangerous–or more realistically–before their feet get frostbite from touching the bathroom tile for two seconds.

Tandem Shoveling

In this event athletes text exes, former friends, acquaintances, and anyone else in their phone they might’ve forgotten about in the desperate search to find someone to help them dig out the end of their driveway, which has morphed into a dirty iceberg thanks to the plow.

Screen Shot 2014-02-07 at 5.45.32 AMFreestyle Neighbor Castigation

This event takes place knee-deep in snow on the sidewalk in front of your neighbor’s house. Because this thoughtless jerk decided to opt-out of society and only shovel their driveway and not the surrounding walkway designed for pedestrians, competitors will take turns screaming obscenities and pummeling the snowmen built by his or her children. I took home the silver medal this year when I condemned one of my neighbors to an eternity of shoveling Satan’s diarrhea in hell (Satan likes Taco Bell and White Castle).

Shovel Javelin

This traditional event takes place right after you almost impale yourself in the stomach with your shovel when discovering an uneven portion of sidewalk. This year, I cleared a solid five feet.

What events have you participated in this winter?

Katie Hoffman

Katie Hoffman is a writer living in the suburbs of Chicago. She enjoys leftovers, lunges, and laughs.


  1. markbialczak February 7, 2014

    Snow bank dog-walking, in which slopes must be mastered while being pulled along by an energetic canine on the other end of the leash.

    1. Katie February 15, 2014

      In the same vein, dogs partake in Going to The Bathroom Outside When the Snow Level is Uncomfortably High. I’m glad we can avoid that event.

  2. acuriousgal February 7, 2014

    Not so graceful Ice Ballet. The sport of trying to retain your balance on a driveway of ice while flailing your arms around in so called artistic motion

    1. Katie February 15, 2014

      HA! I walk to the train station to get to work, and so many homeowners see no problem with leaving ice all over their sidewalk. It’s call salt and an ice chopper, people.

  3. Katie February 7, 2014

    Yard Shoveling. Creating a suitable area of your yard for your dogs to do their business because they are such babies they won’t step in snow, only on it.

    1. Katie February 15, 2014

      Right?! Were your dogs doing that super pathetic thing where they lift their paws up mid-squat because the snow is so cold?

      One silver living, though, is that the snow seems to lessen the grossness of the poop when you’re picking it up.

    1. Katie February 15, 2014

      Where were you when I was shoveling out the driveway fifteen times?

      1. Twindaddy February 15, 2014

        Probably at my desk drinking coffeh.

  4. bensbitterblog February 7, 2014

    I used to compete in the reshovel after you just shoveled event in SD all the time when I was young. It was really good at making my upper arm strength go from weak and pathetic to weak, pathetic and sore.

    1. Katie February 15, 2014

      Since we had to shovel so much this winter I tried to make it fun or worthwhile somehow, but I learned this winter that’s absolutely impossible.

  5. List of X February 7, 2014

    The parkathlon. It’s when you only have street parking, shovel out your car to go to work, and come back to find your spot stolen. You can then either steal someone else’s spot, or shovel out another one to play another round tomorrow. You can also block your spot with a chair or a garbage can, but there is a risk that someone would steal both the spot and the marker.
    Oh, and there is an occasional snowplow that can plow the snow back into your cleaned spot.
    You win if you don’t you car keyed (or worse) before April.

    1. Katie February 15, 2014

      I was going to write about this, and I still may, but I don’t agree with this “saving spots” business. The parking at my boyfriend’s apartment is AWFUL, and I come over here one night to find people saving spots with folding chairs. I’ve never come so close to hulking out or leaving a passive aggressive not. If you clean out a spot in a communal parking area, you’re taking a risk.

      1. List of X February 15, 2014

        I think you should write about this.
        I lived in an apartment building with a communal lot for a few years, but luckily the management would clean enough empty spots (and there WERE enough empty spots on the lot!) to stop the parking spot hoarders. But if you do all the shoveling yourself, it is very frustrating to get home and find that the spot you cleaned is taken and you have to shovel again.

  6. The Hook February 9, 2014

    You’ve done the impossible, Katie: You’ve actually infused fun into winter!

    1. Katie February 15, 2014

      I wouldn’t go that far–but thanks Hook!

  7. myfrontallobe February 9, 2014

    Wheel well scraping – this event requires a mallet and screwdriver. One must chisel out the 4″ of built up ice, rocks, and snow in their car wheel wells because it never gets above 32° fucking degrees anymore.

    1. Katie February 15, 2014

      Wait, is that something that should be part of my car maintenance? I really think this winter just ruined my car. It doesn’t sound the way it used to.

      1. myfrontallobe February 15, 2014

        Funny I was thinking the same thing. My car has aged an extra couple years this winter. Sigh. She asked to write her last will and testament last week. I told her to hold on, that warmer weather is around the corner.

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