It's all fun and games until 16,000 euros ($15,679 USD) is on the line.
Over the weekend, around 11,000 people came out to watch Spain's bi-annual "human tower" competition. This was the first of this event held since the world shut down because of COVID and this tradition actually dates back to the 18th century.
In 2010, human towers, or "castells," were added to UNESCO's list of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity as an "integral part of (Catalan) cultural identity".
"We train twice a week normally but... it's a social activity that goes beyond making castells and training," said computer programmer Juan Manuel Rodriguez, 39, who was been in his Tarragona team for 13 years.
The goal is simple: build the largest human tower (including a safe dismount).
It may seem easy, but this competition gets INTENSE, and when those human Jenga pieces start falling, you might want to look away.
According to Reuters, at this year's event, 71 people needed medical attention, and 13 people were taken to the hospital. 😬
This isn't for the faint of heart, but that doesn't stop the children from climbing up the human ladders.
"Without kids there would be no castells," sports psychologist Anna Jordand, 30, head of the children's squad of the Ceballuts team, told Reuters.
Don't worry too much, the youngest and most agile team members wear helmets. Which should help if they wobble and crumble towards the ground and crowds of people...
This year a team from Vilafranca beat 40 other groups finishing their human tower at about 43 ft and winning the grand prize of 16,000 euros. Remember, it's not just how high you can get; the organizers are also making sure the team gets down safely.
This competition looks fun and terrifying at the same time – which is what makes it so great!
And who am I to judge a century-old tradition?
The first castells competition took place in 1932 and was held in the Tarragona bull ring.
The competition has been held every other year since 1970.
So, would you rather...
Run with the bulls
Build the largest human tower possible?