The myth of RAGNAR LODBRØK:
As the name’s composer of our loved association, I will attempt to describe RAGNAR’s myth and I will endeavour to create the connection between RAGNAR on one hand, and competitive swimming & water polo on the other hand; as though RAGNAR’s harsh sounds are not enough!
I have had a conversation with the grandest RAGNAR connoisseur all time: The renowned Marina Mundt. I received this northern-Goddess’s address from Bjarni Guonason. Without his inspiring leadership, the following would never have come to being. Our sincerest gratitude!
According to Marina, RAGNAR LODBRØK (=pelt pants) is king of the Danish. As a young boy, he leaves for Grautland where he slays a ferocious dragon. This very creature guarded DØRA, who became his first wife. Sadly, after the birth of their second son, she dies shortly after. RAGNAR marries ASLAUG thereafter, because of her beauty and shrewdness. She delivers him 5 sons. RAGNAR sets out in 845 ad. with her in dragon-shaped ships on the river the Seine, in conquest to plunder Paris. This specific event, as described in Gesta Danorum, will be highlighted in the following passage.
In order for RAGNAR to keep both his men and himself in perfect shape, he introduced, as legends tell, an extremely intense ballgame during the siege of Paris: the primeval of water polo. This game was played at the banks of the river the Seine. Participants wore their LODBRØKS. Thanks to the water, these pants gained unprecedented smoothness. Some claim¹, that in honour of them, water polo players wear similar shorts up to present days. However, prove for this theory has yet to be found.
After the siege of Paris, RAGNAR and his men, whose life is intertwined with the sea, leaves for Spain and Britain. Again, they sow death and misery and moreover, they put this noble game, in which swimming and ball control are key elements, on the map.
Unfortunately, even this life is destined to end. RAGNAR LODBRØK appears to be impermanent. He is defeated and meets his demise in a snake pit².
A son avenges RAGNAR’s death. He demands a piece of land, sized the most possible an ox hide can stretch, from the English king. This shrewd move leads to the foundation of London. A few years later, the son becomes almighty, resulting in him killing the English king. The Norwegian and Danish royal families derive from this son, and above all RAGNAR!
To ensure RAGNAR LODBRØK’s immortality, his name has been granted to our association.
¹ J. Bandjes; in “waterpolo in historisch perspectief” February 1968. In the same sentence the Ragnarian F. Haldemei “Die Ursprung der Ragnarbegriff” acta philologica scandinavia, 15 (1867.)
² Touchingly described in the famous 11th-century poem “De Krakumal”.
Part 2 of the RAGNAR sagas
After an extensive examination of the numerous scriptures regarding our ancestors’ (the real Northern Vikings’) legacies, some peculiar conclusions can be made……. I would love to inform you on the most outstanding ones of these:
After a long study of numerous ancient writings, we stumbled upon archaic inscriptions, rules and tactics from the oldest predecessor of the water polo game we have come to know nowadays. One of the easiest rules, even though it being a game for fun, when a team loses, someone who was to blame for the team’s loss, was appointed to do triple-trainings the upcoming week.
During the first two years after the siege of Paris, the water polo took a slow turn. The matches were harsh, partly because not everyone stuck to the new rules. The participants learned over time that whenever they made mistakes, it resulted in whiplashes. So in the end, two teams knowing the game’s regulations were situated in the water. The game however became deadly tranquil as all the players stood motionless, yes indeed, the playing area was merely a 1.20m deep (3 feet 11.24 inches)……
In order to making the game more attractive, de depth of the playing area was altered to a 2.00m deep (6 feet 6.74 inches). This alteration however posed new problems to both teams: both teams had not yet fully mastered the art of swimming, or to be precise, none were able to keep their heads above the water.
The upcoming matches were postponed for a number of weeks, giving participants time to become skillful swimmers. At the exact same time the coach ‘’the Guzzler” (also known as “the Guzzled Viking” e.g. drowned), got a luminous idea.
If he was able to train a number of fast swimmers, his team would easily out-swim the opponents and create plenty possibilities to score. By implementing his idea, coach “Al Verzopen”, a Dutchman(!), wrote history. He was the first human being to design a team formation purely focused on tactics during sports, into the field.
The fast boys were situated in the front. Their task was to pass the defences as quickly as possible in order to receive the ball from their own defenders. The rearguard, better known as the defence, was formed out of a trio of old-Viking-ships rowers sized: big-bigger-biggest. Whenever they showed signs of torment, everyone fled the pool.
From this development (the new way of playing the game), a new sport emerged. To stay ahead of the opponents, the whole team had to train excessively during practices, focussing on the perseverance of a high pace. The latter gave birth to the sport we know now as competitive swimming.
Many descendants of inter alia coach Al Verzopen and his team, but also his fellow countrymen, still outshine others in these two sports: not always necessarily athletic achievements, but more importantly in the persistent idea that competitive swimming is one of the best ways to keep the body in shape, flexible and young!
Many sources remain unread, there are plenty discoveries yet to be made, but this Viking is going to set out on a journey, a journey to inform the world of this spectacular news. I want to express my sincere wishes to you for having a splendid year of swimming and training. I wish you all the best!