Sports are one of the most popular pastimes in the world. Every single day, millions of people across the globe either participate in, or watch a variety of sports. There are a number of high profile competitions that are world famous, including the likes of the Olympics, soccer with the FIFA World Cup and the NFL with the Super Bowl. However, not all sports are all well known as these particular ones. Instead, many of them will only be watched or played by those in very specific locations, or will have only cult appeal amongst a small but very devoted fanbase.
It is these more obscure sports that can often times be far more unique and shocking. Often, they will be events that go back in a country’s history, even as far back as ancient times, and have become strong traditions in their native lands. In other cases, the more unusual sports will simply be new competitions that have been designed or invented in the last few years to appeal to a specific group of people. Sometimes, a person may even just combine elements from existing games to create a truly bizarre sport.
This article will look at those incredibly strange and baffling sports that are really played around the world. Some are spectacular, while others are simply odd because of what competitors have to do, but one thing is for sure, they are all shocking.
10 Ferret Legging
Originating in Yorkshire of the United Kingdom, ferret legging is a sport whereby participants tie the bottom of their trousers as tightly as possible before putting two live ferrets into each leg and then tightening the belt to prevent the animals from escaping. The goal is then to stand in front of a judge and see how long you can keep the ferrets in your trousers, while they bite and claw you with their exceptionally sharp teeth. Some of the more bizarre rules include the fact that all the ferrets must have a full set of teeth that cannot be filed, that participants cannot be drunk and that they cannot wear anything underneath their trousers.
The current world record for ferret legging is five hours and thirty minutes. Unfortunately, it has been something of a dying sport in recent times, despite having something of a resurgence in the 1970s. There are no longer any regular events held, though some sporadic meetings still take place across England.
Bossaball is a unique sport that combines elements of volleyball, soccer and gymnastics. Using an inflatable court that has in-built trampolines, two teams of four or five players attempt to hit a ball over the net and land it on the ground of any part of the scoring part of the zone, while the opposition tries to prevent this from happening by returning the ball using volleys. Due to the fact that trampolining plays such an integral part of bossaball, the participants can reach heights of several meters when they are playing.
The sport first gained popularity in Spain, where it was invented by Belgian Filip Eychmans, in 2004. Since that time, it has grown in stature in countries around the world. Universities and dedicated clubs that compete, can be found in Brazil, France, Singapore, Egypt, Greece, Portugal, Mexico and the Netherlands.
8 Chess Boxing
Chess boxing is exactly what it sounds like. It was first conceived in a French comic by artist Enki Bilal, and was developed into an actual event by Iepe Rubingh, with the first chess boxing event taking place in Germany in 2003. The rules are fairly simple; the match consists of 6 rounds of chess and 5 rounds of boxing. Each round lasts three minutes, allowing multiple moves to be made on the chessboard each round. A game is won with a knockout, checkmate or if the opponent retires or takes too long to make a move.
Since 2003, it has grown and has become a very competitive sport, with an official World Chess Boxing Organization governing the sport and organizing European and World Championships. It is regularly played in the UK, Germany and Russia, and World Champions have come from countries such as Italy and Belarus.
7 Cheese Rolling
Cheese rolling, officially known as Cooper’s Hill Cheese-Rolling and Wake, is an annual event held in the United Kingdom at Cooper’s Hill. It takes place on the Spring Bank Holiday and has been a tradition for the nearby village of Brockworth, for hundreds of years. It is a simple sport in terms of rules. Players simply have to chase a round piece of cheese down the hill, with the first to catch it or cross the finish line winning the cheese.
Catching the cheese is almost impossible though. It’s weight of 9 lb and the steepness of the hill, means it can reach speeds of 70 mph. It is incredibly dangerous with many participants requiring hospital attention from falling over while running. So many injuries occurred in 2005, that the event was delayed, as all of the ambulances had been used taking casualties to the nearby hospital.
6 Pumpkin Regatta
The Windsor Pumpkin Regatta is a water race that takes place every year at Lake Pesaquid, in Windsor, Nova Scotia. Much like other races over water, the distance is relatively short at just 1 mile long, but what makes this particular event so shocking is the fact that it does not use boats but instead, large pumpkins.
The giant pumpkins are carved out and are just big enough to fit a person in, as they attempt to finish first. There are a variety of different races to take part in, including a paddling category, an experimental category and a motorized event, whereby participants affix engines to their strange craft. Since the start of the sport in 1999, it has been dominated by Leo Swinamer who has won the race six times.
Buzkashi is a brutal sport that is played predominantly in Asia and the Middle East, in countries such as Kazakhstan, Pakistan, Uzbekistan and Afghanistan. The rules are essentially a mix of polo and rugby, with riders mounted on horses attempting to carry or drag a dead goat or calf away from other competitors and into a scoring zone. Because it is played at such a high pace and as there are few rules governing aggression, for example, players can use whips to fend off opponents, it is incredibly dangerous.
The United States has its own version of the game known as Kav Kaz, that uses a sheepskin-covered ball rather than a dead animal. It was introduced in Cleveland, Ohio during the 1940s. Apart from the change to a ball, the sport is largely the same as its Asian counter-part.
Bo-taoshi is a sport distinct to Japan that is largely played in schools throughout the country. It is similar to capture-the-flag type games seen in the United States and Europe. What makes this particular game so unique though, is that it involves such a large number of players that take part. Each team that competes is made up of 75 individuals and the overall aim is for the attacking team to lower a large pole to the ground, while the defenders attempt to stop them.
There are a number of strange positions that a person can play in. These include the scrum who acts as stepping stones for others to leap over the defensive barrier, the ninja who sits on the pole and tries to stop it being lowered by making himself a counter-weight and interference who must use any means necessary to stop attackers from reaching the pole.
3 Mountain Unicycling
Mountain biking is already a rather dangerous sport that involves competitors trying to race down rugged terrain in as fast a time as possible. The difficult routes and high speeds mean that injuries are common. However, some have taken the sport to another extreme completely, by ditching the traditional mountain bike and instead, choosing to travel the distance on a unicycle.
The extreme sport combines all the pitfalls of mountain biking, along with the incredibly difficult task of not just riding a unicycle, but also keeping balance and negotiating the natural obstacles that present themselves. Those competing need to have exceptional core strength and specially built unicycles that have added strength and more appropriate tires.
2 Shin Kicking
A very old sport that has seen a recent resurgence, shin kicking is a combat sport where two opponents attempt to kick each other in the lower leg until one of them submits while holding each other at the shoulders. Essentially, it tests both pain endurance and combat ability. In the past, combatants would use steel tipped shoes and no protection, however in modern times, those taking part are required to use soft shoes and pad their trouser legs with straw.
The sport was very popular in the early 17th century and played an important role in the Cotswold Olympick Games but diminished somewhat in the late 1850s. However, a revival of the Cotswold Olympick Games in 1951 brought shin kicking back into popularity and it is once again, practiced around the UK and regularly attracts crowds of thousands.
1 Kite Tubing
Tubing is a growing and highly dangerous sport that sees people attempt to ride at fast speeds on inner tubes across water. A new variant is known as kite tubing and involves a speedboat towing a tube at very high speed, leading to the person being pulled and the tube flying into the air, in much the same way as a kite.
While tubing itself already poses many risks, this different version increases the danger by many degrees. The tubes themselves are not designed for flight and so are likely to topple or crash into the water, while they are also very susceptible to sharp changes in wind direction and speed. Since 2006, there have been more than 30 injuries reported from those kite tubing, including broken necks, punctured lungs and cracked ribs, as well as two deaths related to the activity.
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