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The Uncelebrated Impacts of Arm Wrestling

Updated: Sep 1, 2021

Art by Geena San Diego

With COVID-19 and quarantine, we all, for the most part, miss out on seeing our friends in person. This means no more high-fives, handshakes, fist bumps, or hugs from our besties and brethren for a long time. Or even the new pandemic additions: elbow bumps and foot taps. And for some of us, it means no more arm wrestling.

To most, arm wrestling is probably just a competitive game that tests the arm strength of all participants and is only really played when there is absolutely nothing else to do. Well, I am here today to tell you that you are not wrong. But like everything else in the world, it still shouldn’t go underappreciated.

My first encounter with the game of arm wrestling was in either kindergarten or first grade. Each class typically had two tables reserved for it in the cafeteria and for some reason, only my class seemed to segregate by gender at lunchtime. Anyways, I don’t want to get into the controversial minds of children so moving on. At the boys’ table, a lot of us were restless and itching to be dismissed from the cafeteria, so to kill some time, people arm-wrestled. The cafeteria monitors didn’t exactly approve of it, but from this first encounter, I knew it was the start of my epic arm wrestling journey. From that moment on, I trained my biceps, triceps, and even my octoceps. Many hours were spent enhancing my wrist pressure technique and revolutionizing my hand gripping style. I was determined to challenge and defeat Kevin in an arm wrestle match. And no, Kevin was not a classmate I had a rivalry with; I had no time for such weak competition. You see, Kevin was literally the most muscular teacher’s aide and campus aide you will ever see and he was the guy who would obliterate the students’ team in the Students VS Faculty softball game at the end of every school year.

But alas, six-year-old me was too distracted by Minecraft videos to actually commit to physical activity. I never actually arm-wrestled anybody in my class, just with my sisters who were determined to flaunt the underestimated brawn of women. Don’t worry my fellow men, I only lost on occasion, I swear… *sniffle*.

In all seriousness, from observation of my friends’ matches together, arm wrestling is simply a sport of flexing your muscles through friendly competition and banter. It is a part of our culture and it will go down as a nice event that strengthens relationships. And it isn’t limited to just male coteries, women also arm wrestle amongst each other [Verification needed].

And that actually brings me to something else. Arm wrestling, while being a fun activity, still does represent victory and dominance in some media. In the 16 GB of memory storage located in my brain lies a 2018 GEICO commercial. It depicts a woman endorsing GEICO for helping her save money and having professional, 24-hour service. This middle-aged woman was arm-wrestling men who had Viking beards, durags, shaved heads, sleeveless jackets, tattoos, and some serious muscle. Even so, they were no match for a mom who had switched to GEICO, a mom who now had power capable of bringing any country’s military to its knees within seconds. And this advertisement didn’t stick with me because a woman was crushing men in arm-wrestling; one should never underestimate another. No, no, I remember this advertisement because it traumatized me for two reasons. Reason 1: This woman would humiliate Kevin. And reason 2: What if my mom switched to GEICO?

But really, this GEICO commercial intriguingly used arm wrestling to convey the concept of winning, something that was promised if you chose to make business with them. The contrasting appearance between the intimidating and husky men and this sweet-sounding woman, and the unexpected difference in sheer might, made for a comical and memorable ad.

In conclusion, between the digressions and anecdotes, I have adeptly illustrated the effects that arm wrestling has had on our society. It serves as a method for bored children to expend their energy, it acts as a procedure to identify the manliest man in a clique, and it shows the immeasurable force that can be granted to you from having GEICO auto insurance. But most importantly, arm wrestling’s existence has caused me to write this article, which is, if I may say so, the best thing that will ever happen to the Eagle’s Scream.

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