Most of us are used to watching mainstream sports on TV. After all, the media gives full coverage to football, basketball, baseball, hockey, and soccer. The Olympics, of course, are a big deal and we are privileged to increase our knowledge about lesser broadcast sports as we’re dazed and amazed by the athletic prowess of young athletes.
However, there are a few not-so-common sports around the world that rarely, if ever, grab our attention and really cause us to invite the gang over and order out for pizza. Here are just a few:
Finland – Swamp Football. This is a variation of Football/Soccer which is played in bogs or swamps. A muddy mess of organized chaos. For major tournaments they simply play in a dry, muddy field which is covered in water. The sport has been used as exercise for athletes and soldiers since a soft bog is physically demanding. The first organized competition was in 1998 when 13 teams gathered to play for the Finnish Championship.
Australia – Goanna Pulling Festival. Goannas are Australian lizards, but this event does not involve pulling these little creatures. The event gets its name from the fact that the participants look like goannas when taking part in this competition. The event requires two men to face each other with a heavy leather strap joining them around their necks. They then pull each other in this version of tug-of-war.
Belgium – Bossaball. This is a spectacular new and unusual sport that is a hybrid of volley ball, beach soccer, gymnastics and Capoeira (an Afro-Brazilian art form that combines parts of martial arts, games, music, and dance). It’s played on a specially designed inflatable court with a circular trampoline on each side of a net. It is a ball game between two teams, each consisting of 3 to 5 players.
UK – Cheese Rolling. We simply can’t forget this sport…and yes, it is a sport. In the last weekend in May each year (the Spring Bank holiday) on top of the very steep Cooper’s Hill in Gloucester England, people gather with their seven pound hunk of cheese to take part in the famous “Coopers Hill Cheese Rolling and Wake.”
The aim of the competition is to roll your cheese to the bottom of the hill with you following it any way you can. The cheese can travel at up to 30 miles per hour, with the participants at much the same speed. People get hurt, some pretty badly, and if you ever see this event you will understand why. I haven’t seen Dhani tackle this one yet.
USA – Lawnmower Racing. This sport is not trivial; there are regional and national associations all over America, and others around the world, that hold regular race meetings, using the ride-on lawnmower as the vehicle. The primary aim of lawn mowing is to provide a well-organized and inexpensive motor sport and the racers are fierce competitors. I don’t think you will find much grass around the race tracks.
England – Shin Kicking. Now, doesn’t that sound like fun? Shin-kicking is an ancient sport, part of the annual Cotswold Olimpicks. The aim of shin kicking is simple: kick your opponent as hard as you can in the shins. Each time your opponent falls to the ground you earn a point. The winner is the person with the highest score in the best of three rounds. Competitors can also pad their legs with as much straw as possible.
Any unusual sport you know about that wasn’t mentioned here? Please feel free to share the sport, the game rules, and what country it originated in.