The Euro 2016 soccer tournament will continue thrilling its (hopefully more sober) fans for the next month, and immediately after that the Olympics in Rio will get underway, but recently in South Korea they had a sporting competition of a more relaxing nature. Last month, in Seoul’s Ichon Hangang Park, contestants gathered for the third annual Space Out competition, a contest to see who can be the chillest dude or lady.
This is not your average collection of hippies sitting on blankets in the park though. Staffers checked the heart rates of spacer outers every fifteen minutes, and at the end of the 90-minute contest, whoever had the lowest and most stable heart rate was declared the winner. This year that winner was actually a celebrity. According to the Korea Times, K-pop singer Crush “did not talk, eat, sleep or move around.” All of those would have been grounds for disqualification. And, in a quote that is at least as informative as anything you’ll hear from actual professional athletes after a win, Crush said, “I did not know I was going to win. I was just spacing out without thinking of anything.” Take that anyone who ever said “I gave it 110 percent.”
The Space Out contest has quickly become an annual tradition that is as much performance art as it is competition. An artist names WoopsYang decided to hold the contest as a way to highlight how overworked she and many other Koreans are. In a survey highlighted earlier this year by the Korea Times, 90 percent of the Koreans claim to be under significant stress.
While there might not be an international Space Out league in the works, it doesn’t seem like a bad idea. In fact I think I’ll do a little training for next year’s competition this weekend.