There are so many things to experience at a live sporting event these days that boredom is out of the question no matter how your team is faring. In fact, thanks to the Jumbotron, the kiss cam, live music, halftime dance teams, marriage proposals, and the odd celebrity sighting, one could -- dare we say it -- get away with not watching the game at all.
There is one lively act above all others, however, that never fails to grab the audience's attention. It appears every so often at winter events, and most often at summer ones, and always carries an "R" rating. The phenomenon never gets an introduction but it most certainly gets a curtain call, and despite the fact that its participants often end up fined or charged, streaking remains as popular as ever.
But first, a little history. This act of disrobing and dashing probably saw a boost in popularity when Will Ferrell's character raced through the streets of his college town wearing nothing but a smile in the 2003 film "Old School," but the au natural sprint had been around for ages before Frank the Tank exposed us to it.
The first formally recorded streaking offence occurred in 1799, when, upon arrest, the male offender admitted someone offered him money to run in the buff. Over the next 200 years, streaking became one of the most popular extracurricular activities on American and Canadian university campuses, where administrations were forced to penalize students to suppress the undressed.
Today, clothing-challenged souls appear at both local tournaments and professional matches across every manner of competition from cricket to soccer and basketball to track and field. Streakers have been spotted at Wimbledon, the U.S. Open and even during Olympic curling! Televised or not, their nudity seems to spare no one.
Mark Roberts, a British father of three and well-known repeat streaker has performed the pantless sprint 518 times to date. He's also the one responsible for that 2006 Olympic curling incident in which he streaked across the ice with a rubber chicken covering his "stones."
Before his Olympic debut, Roberts attempted to make headlines with a nude act at Super Bowl XXXVIII, where he was tackled on the field, then taken away by security. It might have been a highlight of the night if Janet Jackson hadn't flashed some of her own skin with her infamous wardrobe malfunction during the halftime show.
So what exactly makes Roberts and others want to ditch their clothes and run free in front of game-day crowds? It's the same mania that fuels athletes: the roaring fans, the bright lights, the nervous excitement, and, of course, the challenge. It's a cat and mouse game as members of security chase a streaker down, often to deafening cheers from fans.
Not as brave as Roberts? Well, there are plenty of streaks in sport that allow your clothing to remain in place. Winning streaks, scoring streaks, shut-out streaks, and injury-free games are just a few. If streaking still remains on your bucket list, however, remember these useful tips: Wear your best running shoes, grass is softer than ice, and avoid the sports where players are paid to hit moving targets.
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