We all like to occasionally add a twist of taste, a quirky flavor to the mundane. Read on to find out how you can extend this primal desire to sports.
Sports are one of the oldest forms of mass entertainment and are one of the most popular and profitable careers today. Sports like soccer, football, basketball, baseball, and cricket are global behemoths, producing turnovers of billions every year and followed religiously all over the world. World Cups and finals of such sports often break TV viewership records; the Super Bowl, the final of the UEFA Champions League, and the final of the FIFA World Cup are some of the most watched programs in the history of television.
On the other end of the scale, there are some sports which are participated in and followed by not tens of hundreds of thousands, but by tens and hundreds and thousands.
Such sports are either peculiar to a very particular region, too complicated to follow for the masses, or just too plain crazy to catch on. Although they aren’t universally popular, some of these sports are quite possibly the best way to spend a wacky Sunday!
Here’s a list of some of the wackiest, funkiest, and weirdest sports in the world.
No, not the one where you fly on brooms, trick your keeper into believing he has taken a gulp of liquid luck, and seek flying golden objects that can also be used to surreptitiously store deathly hallows; muggle technology has not reached quite that level of sophistication (yet).
Fortunately, there is a muggle equivalent for the fictional magical sport: muggle quidditch. Invented in 2005 at Middlebury College in Vermont, the sport follows the same rules as the magical version. Teams consist of 3 chasers, 2 beaters, a keeper, and a seeker. In a rather innovative improvisation, volleyballs are used as the quaffle, while dodgeballs are used as the rogue, nasty bludgers. The snitch is carried by a neutral party, known as the snitch runner. The snitch runner, who is dressed in yellow or gold, is allowed to hide beyond the playing field (usually within the entire campus of the institution hosting the game), and is sought by the two seekers.
Like the magical version, the capture of the snitch ends the game. Like the magical version, there are three goals for each team, positioned at heights of 1 m, 1.4 m, and 2 m. And here’s the rule that makes the experience much more ‘magical’ — all players have to carry a broomstick between their legs for the whole duration of the match!
Bossaball is a weird and entertaining sibling of volleyball — think Amy or Jill to Rachel. While volleyball is played on regulation surfaces, bossaball is played on a rectangular inflatable. And that’s not all. Bossaball ‘fields’ have a designated spot for trampolines, to help the players achieve more height and hit more effective spikes!
The rules of bossaball largely resemble those of volleyball: each team has to land the ball — a bossaball is very similar to a volleyball, and even volleyballs can be used — over the net in the opponent’s area to win points. Like volleyball, the first to gather 25 points wins (provided they have a lead of at least two points).
Teams are composed of 4 players, although the number can be changed when the play is just recreational. The players are allowed to use any part of their body, and a total of 5 touches are allowed before the ball is returned. If a player manages to win a point with his/her foot, more points are awarded for the ‘soccer touch’ than for the regular ‘volley touch’.
Summing up, it’s a sport for grownups, played on inflatables and trampolines. It doesn’t get much better, does it?
Zorbing is quickly becoming a favorite pastime in the US, and it’s not hard to see why.
‘Zorbs’ are human equivalents of hamster balls, constructed from plastic. They are constructed in two layers, with the air cushion between the layers serving as the primary protection. Participants can either roll down a hill, or gambol around on a level plane in a much more controlled fashion. Zorbing can even be a competitive sport — we all love tumbling, and what can make it even more fun than the added incentive of racing against your friends?
Definitely not two words one would expect to find in unison. Chess boxing is a sport that combines the mental taxation and rigor of chess with the brutality and physical exertion of boxing. It is played via alternating rounds of boxing and chess, and can be won by an outright victory in either sport — a knockout or a checkmate — or a combined decision at the end.
This sport was invented in France and enjoys considerable support in Germany and England. Currently, a majority of chess boxing events are held in Berlin and London, the two hotbeds of the sport. It is also becoming increasingly popular in France, the Netherlands, the USA, Scandinavia, and India.
While not quite a Sunday-afternoon pastime with friends, this is one crazy sport to dabble with if you fancy yourself as a brawny nerd, or a brainy jock.
This is a sport for extremely fit and extremely talented ball players. Sepak takraw is a combination of volleyball and soccer, played with a ball smaller than either and made of natural fiber. Like volleyball and the aforementioned bossaball, each team tries to land the ball in the other team’s half, thereby earning them a point. However, like soccer, use of hands is considered a foul.
Competitively, sepak takraw is played either in teams of three or in pairs, but the number can be changed for recreational play. 1 v. 1 sepak takraw can be great fun if both you and your opponent are enthusiastic about (and good at) ball sports, and 4- or 5-member teams can accommodate families.
Sepak takraw emerged in southeastern Asia, and countries from the region still maintain a firm stranglehold on the sport’s world meets. Malaysia and Thailand, the founders and powerhouses of the game, named the sport by picking one word from either language — sepak means ‘kick’ in Malay, and takraw means ‘ball’ in Thai.
The highly acrobatic nature of the sport, as well as the breakneck pace at which it is played, has resulted in it becoming popular in the West in a very short time.
No, I am not messing with you, this is an actual sport! And as four-time world champion Taisto Miettinen will no doubt testify, it is quite a big deal.
The rules of this sport are very simple: male competitors must carry their wife (or any woman more than 17 years of age and weighing more than 49 kg) on their back across a 253.5 m obstacle course. The female competitor must wear a helmet, and is allowed to hold on to the man in any way she chooses. Estonian lifts, wherein the woman wraps her legs around the man’s shoulders and holds his waist, are usually preferred by competitors.
Piggyback carrying is also allowed and popular among amateurs, but is usually not used in major events.
This sport originated in Finland and is notorious for the nature of its prizes: in the world championships, the winner receives his female companion’s body weight — often more than 50-55 kg — in beer!!
This sport consists of, quite literally, the popular game of hockey played underwater. The obvious differences are that the players are kitted out with snorkels and masks, and the puck is much heavier than the regular ones (3 lb). Because of the extra weight, the puck can be lifted while passing, but it always eventually drops down to the surface.
The teams consist of 6 players and 4 substitutes. The hockey sticks in underwater hockey are much shorter than their ice- or field-hockey counterparts, usually measuring less than a foot (excluding the handle).
While this sport is popular among enthusiasts, efforts are underway to make underwater hockey more appealing to the masses. Since the crux of the action is underwater, it can be boring for spectators — especially at junior levels — to follow the game. Underwater filming is one solution, allowing spectators to view the game in its full intensity. However, the actual process of filming is quite risky, since the players move unpredictably and can actually be inadvertently impeded by the filming equipment.
This is the road version of the popular ice sport, luge. Street luge, or road luge, is accomplished via a luge sled propelled by gravity. Like the ice sport, lugers lie on the sled face-up, and steer via their calves, or elbows.
While luge is one of the most dangerous ice sports, it is much safer on roads (although the sleds can reach dangerous speeds of more than 90 mph if the gradient is too sharp). The luge can be a mere pastime, or a mock competition within or between families.
Forget Dancing with the Stars, dancing with your dog is the latest trend! Dog dancing is a duet between the dog and its owner, accomplished by a variety of obedience commands and tricks. While the dog is not expected to perform complicated ‘dance’ moves, jumps or loops are appreciated. The dog’s ability to heel with its dancing master is the primary criterion in scoring.
This is primarily a pastime rather than a competitive sport, but many competitions now exist to fulfill and even reward many owners’ desire to dance with their canine buddies.
Variants of Polo
In parts of south Asia, polo is played on the back of elephants. If you’re planning a vacation in the region, don’t miss the experience of this equestrian sport from a much higher vantage point!
Bicycle polo is a much more affordable, safer, and easier variant of polo. This is a competitive sport, but can also be enjoyed with your friends, or family.
Mobile Phone Throwing
Competitive mobile throwing emerged in Finland in 2000, and it is becoming increasingly popular elsewhere, including the US. There are 4 disciplines in this ‘sport’: Original (over-the-shoulder throw), Freestyle (extra points for acrobatic or well-choreographed throws), Team original (distances of three individuals added together to give a team score), and Junior (age 12 and below).
The phones can either be brought by the competitor (as long as they weigh more than 220 g), chosen from a given range by the competitor, or uniformly provided by the organizers of the event.
In the US, Mobile Throwing Championships have been held since 2008. In addition to mobile phones, Lawrence University also hosted a rotary phone throwing competition for three years until 2007.
One from my personal bucket list, this sport is wildly popular in Spain, Portugal, Mexico, and France. The format is quite simple, but quite simply terrifying. Participants (aged 18 or older) run along a designated route in a town, while being chased by raging bulls, with the route flanked by buildings and barricades! The bull run in the Spanish city of Pamplona is world-famous.
It’s a must-try if you are hooked to the addictive rush of adrenaline.
You Can Also Try…
Invented in India, this sport is a combination of basketball and handball, and is played on inline skates!
Played in teams of six, one member sits on a bed, while the other five push it to the finish line.
Players hold two racquets, one in each hand. This technique can also be applied to other racquet sports, such as badminton, table tennis, or squash.
Any team ball game can be turned into a bewilderingly fun variant by adding an extra team in the mix. Effectively, each team plays against the other two!
Instead of metal sluggers and hard baseballs, the pitcher bowls a soft ball, such as a tennis ball, or a sponge ball, and the hitter hits it with his fist. This variant of baseball requires much smaller playing areas — a backyard will do just fine.
This can include virtually any object. Apart from the aforementioned mobile phone throwing, this includes the Olympic throwing events, rocks, hubcaps, toilet seats, and pretty much anything you can come up with.
Go absolutely mad for a day, and compete with others in binging! We all are game for some gluttony.
Model Plane Racing
Build your own model plane, and indulge in races and friendly dogfights with your friends.
Variants of Soccer
Soccer can be made much more fun by introducing rules such as ‘no backpasses’, or imposing a limit on the amount of time (or touches) a player can hold on to the ball before passing it.
A combination of soccer and cricket, this is played with a football and the same rules as cricket, except you bowl, bat, and field with your foot! Baseball can also be played in this quirky fashion.
Although this game caught on among the young and the restless thanks to its inclusion of beer, it can be played with the whole family with any other drink.
The popular game of rock-paper-scissors even has its own world championship! It’s the same game, except with a chance to win a whopping $7000 Canadian dollars!
Here’s a hint — it is exactly what the name says. Competitors are given a snorkel and have to wade through marshy, muddy bogs.
Competitors in this sport are judged by the accuracy of their throws and the distance they manage to throw their aboriginal tools.
Beard and Mustache Championships
Competitors can enter in four categories — mustache, sideburns, full beard, and partial beard — and are judged by the length and aesthetics of their facial hairstyle.
Lawn Mower Racing
This is a quite popular sport in the States, where there are many associations that hold regional championships. The fastest to mow a given patch of lawn wins.
This consists of perfectly ironing your clothes while doing physically engaging activities, such as surfing. Great fun, and definitely the best way of getting the boring job of laundry done!
Race other participants and a large chunk of cheese down a hill in a bid to be the first to catch the latter. Because the cheese gets a head start, even the victor very rarely outstrips it.
Monster Truck Rallying
Get some B-I-G wheels, and go crazy over muddy terrain!
As can be fathomed from the name, this game combines jogging and juggling.
If you still can’t quite find your niche quirk in any of these sports, let your imagination run free. The world is your playground — literally, in this case! Tweak sports you know quite well, get acquainted with new sports, and set about messing them up with complicated and hilarious rules. And remember, sports are, in essence, a fun way to ‘recharge your batteries’ after a dreadful day, or a hectic, tiring week; so have fun!