Behold the Glory of Sri Lankan Tuk-Tuk Polo

Horsing around without the horses.

Tuk Tuk Polo
LAKRUWAN WANNIARACHCHI/AFP/Getty Images

Polo is the sport of kings, khans, and sultans, a dangerous pastime spattered with royal blood. Its invention pre-dates Christianity; it was played by Persian Emperors and Chinese cavalry alike. It is noble and pure, and absolutely should be treated with respect and reverence. So anyway, here are a bunch of Sri Lankan dudes attacking each other with motorized rickshaws.

The tuk-tuk is a universal feature of the South Asian landscape, a ubiquitous taxicab and cargo carrier so-named for the putt-putt of its two-stroke exhaust. Born from knockdown kits of the Daihatsu Midget, itself a copy of the Piaggio Ape, this cheerful little three-wheeler bumbles along through crowded streets around the world, its maniacal mahouts screaming at every other person on the road pretty much continuously.

Polo in Sri Lanka used to be played with elephants. But this was considered cruel and also one of the elephants went berserk and attacked a group of cars belonging to spectators. Even in Sri Lanka, some modicum of workplace safety is required. So elephants were out, and the tuk-tuks in, for 2016.

Each tiny vehicle has one driver trying to avoid serious crashes, and a player leaning out and whacking at the ball with a long, whippy, mallet-like stick. Much like croquet, tuk-tuk polo has seemingly endless possibilities for violence, but all players behaved themselves and nobody died or even caught on fire a little bit. The winners split a purse of 200,000 rupees (read: $1,430) and everyone went home happy. We are suddenly seized with the urgent need to buy a dozen Honda Groms and a bunch of golf putters. And some bandaids.