The World Hide-and-Seek Federation has taken the unprecedented step of handing a lifetime ban to US Navy SEAL Erik Carroll following an incident in Pakistan last year which led to the death of the then hide-and-seek world record holder, Osama bin Laden.
‘Erik has long had a reputation as the bad boy of the sport,’ said the governing body’s president, Jack Carter. ‘From the moment he appeared on the scene – popping out from behind the sofa – it was obvious that we were looking at a prodigiously talented hider and seeker, but his talent was matched only by his lack of respect for the rules of the sport. I’d always warned him that it’s all fun and games until someone loses an eye.’
Erik’s 1997 world championship win was shrouded in controversy amid allegations that he waterboarded the first hider he found in order to extract information on the whereabouts of the remaining contestants, and that he made it harder for his opponents to conceal themselves by forcing them to wear bright orange boiler suits. His other infractions include fines for failing to announce ‘Ready or not, here I come!’ at the start of contests, and once tricking hiders to come out by falsely declaring a game to be over because it was dinner time.
‘Erik’s behaviour became increasingly erratic after he lost the top spot to Osama bin Laden in 2001,’ continued Carter, ‘and ultimately we were left with no choice other than to impose a life ban. We have to send a clear message that shooting fellow contestants in the eye, thereby severely affecting their seeking capabilities, simply isn’t acceptable in top-flight competition.’
Following the tragedy, bin Laden was given the traditional hide-and-seeker’s send-off as his body was tipped overboard into the sea as his fellow contestants respectfully covered their eyes and counted to one hundred.
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