Have you ever wondered what the weirdest and wackiest sports are? Most of us probably haven’t heard of them since they don’t get any press or media attention and they aren’t broadcasted on mainstream media either. But they are out there, and they do exist! Let’s go through the top 10 weird sports in the world that you may have never heard of before.
Kabaddi resembles the schoolyard game of tag, but is descended from Indian wrestling and lets you tackle your opponent to the ground. Kabaddi is the national game of Bangladesh and Nepal, with roots in Ancient India. Every year, there is a World Cup in South Asia and India has won it every single time since it started. During a game, the raider has to cross the center line and tag the players on the other team before returning to their own half. Kabaddi, which might sound simple enough, but also includes this catch. The raider must do all of this while holding his breath in the opponent’s half of the court, and when he returns to his side he exhales his breath while chanting kabaddi, kabaddi. It has recently spread in the UK and there is now a governing body, so who knows – one day it might be a global sport.
A relatively new sport developed over the last few years, zorbing has quickly risen in popularity. Its sudden appeal isn’t difficult to grasp as participants have tons of fun and onlookers find it entertaining to watch. Although there is no competitive element, it’s still much more of a recreation than a sport. In the largest kind of donut, an inflatable orb, participants stand or sit, after which they are pushed down a hillside to their top speed, which results in a wildly chaotic tumble and the eventual stop. The balls are dual-layered, so there is protection against injury as well as a stability adjustment, which will offer the user better control. In an up-and-coming sport that originated in New Zealand, zorbing is performed at commercial locations all around the world.
3. Sepak Takraw
Perhaps it looks strange to those in the West, but Sepak Takraw is an enormously popular sport in Asia and has been around since the 15th century. The name means kick ball, but the game is not like soccer at all. A more accurate comparison to make would be volleyball, where a court is divided by a net and both teams must keep the ball aloft or the other team gains a point. Unlike volleyball, however, you are not allowed to use your hands and instead you must use your feet, knees, or your chin. Though it might sound as if there is no hope of a rally, you would be amazed at the skill and athleticism that is exhibited at sporting events like this. The sport is primarily played in Thailand and Malaysia, and it has been a recurring event in the Asian Games and Southeast Asian Games.
4. Chess Boxing
Essentially a mash-up of chess and boxing, one person proposed merging the two games to create a unique hybrid. The end result is simply called chess boxing, and Dutch performance artist Lepe Rubingh invented it. The first chess boxing competition was held in Berlin in 2003 and quickly spread around the world, attracting players in Germany, Great Britain, India, and Russia, among other places. Matches consist of eleven rounds, alternating between boxing and chess, with a three-minute time limit on each round. The challenger may be victorious through a knockout, technical knockout, checkmate, or because his or her opponent gets disqualified, resigns, or goes over the time limit. As the fight progresses, the game of chess typically decreases in skill.
5. Extreme Ironing
If you feel overwhelmed by your ironing, do extreme ironing instead. The activity is both a unique sport and performance art that originated in the UK but became popular across the world thanks to a documentary. This involves ironing on an ironing board at remote and extreme locations – and everything you iron, be it on a mountainside, snowboarding, canoeing, parachuting, or in any other extreme situation or location. The goal of Extreme Ironing is to combine thrills from extreme outdoor activity with the satisfaction of a neatly pressed shirt. The first Extreme Ironing World Championships took place in 2002 with 10 different countries competing.
Typically a Swiss farmers’ sport, Hornussen was developed in the 17th century and is starting to receive attention in other parts of the world. Traditionally it has been played to settle disputes or to test one’s strength. The best analogy would be a combination of golf and baseball. A batting team fires a projectile into the air with a whip and must try to send it as far into their opponents’ area as possible, while the defending team blocks it with big placards on long sticks. The team with the fewest penalties (failed interceptions) wins, and each team gets two chances per player to hit. A nonprofit foundation was established in 2012, and 20 clubs exist in the US.
Anybody who denies they would like to play Bossaball is a liar because it looks like an incredible amount of fun, and any sport that has the element of a trampoline will always be great. Bossaball is a new sport that was conceived by Filip Eyckmans (Belgian) in 2004, but it was first played in Spain. It contains elements of volleyball, soccer, gymnastics, and capoeira, and is most commonly seen being played on beaches around the world. The inflatable court has two trampolines on either side of the net, with one player (the attacker) occupying the trampoline. After the player on the opposing side serves the ball, the opponent’s team must hit the ball over the net with no more than five touches. An attacker has the opportunity to build up so much momentum that the attack becomes more powerful, impressive, and eye-catching.
8. Cheese Rolling
Soccer, cricket, rugby, tennis, and squash are just a few of the games that England has given the world. Add cheese rolling to the list. There is a race in Gloucester, England each year in which Double Gloucester cheese is rolled down a hill. To win, contestants must make it to the bottom of the hill and cross the finish line. Along the way, the hill is full of rocks and treacherous angles, which guarantee that most contestants tumble down to the bottom at great speed. This annual event involves a high number of injuries and laughing, but it’s also seen as great fun and has recently become an internationally famous event. Due to its popularity, it’s now taken place spontaneously without any help from management, and unofficial events are now popping up in the UK and around the world.
Unlike most of the entries, it is difficult to see this sport catching on in Western culture. The sport of Buzkashi (meaning goat dragging) is popular in countries in Central Asia, where it is the national sport of Afghanistan. Horseback riding sport with the goal of dragging a dead goat through obstacles and then throwing it into a circular goal area at the other end of the playing field. Not for the faint of heart. This game draws large numbers of spectators to its games, and many of the world’s best riders are sponsored by wealthy Afghans. This game was prohibited under Taliban rule, but it is now legal again and regulated by the Afghan Olympic Federation.
Bo-Taoshi, a Japan-native game similar to capture the flag, has become much more than a training exercise to Japanese military personnel, it is now an adrenaline-filled game that always ends in chaos with seventy-five on offense and seventy-five on defense. In American Lacrosse, a defending team must block the attacking team’s wooden pole by pushing it at an angle of no more than 30 degrees away from the ground. The attacking team may have as many players as it wishes, as long as it cannot pass the goalie. Pole defense consists of various obstacles which protect the pole and makes up the bulk of defense. Interference is the attack used by the defenders when attackers get close enough, a scrum disabling kills an opponents springboard, and the most coveted position of the ninja sits atop the pole to keep it upright and then quickly adjusts the direction it is leaning if necessary.