10 strange but real sports you haven’t heard of
Not every athlete is content to stick with such old standbys as baseball, basketball and football. Whether out of boredom or pure insanity, a number of really weird sports have been created over the years. Here’s a look at 10 of the weirdest sports from around the world.
Photo credit: JustABoy, Flickr
10 Chess Boxing
Pawn to rook’s FACE! Yep, the brilliant fusion of chess and boxing requires both mental and physical dexterity. Created by a Dutch artist in 1992, the sport involves alternating rounds of chess and boxing. The player to achieve the first knockout or checkmate is announced the undisputed heavyweight chess boxing champion of the world.
9 Kaninhop – Bunny Jumping
You’ve probably heard of equestrian show jumping, which involves guiding horses over a series of barriers and obstacles. Well, Kaninhop is essentially the exact same thing… except with rabbits. Invented in Sweden in the late 1970s, the U.S. Rabbit Agility Association now recognizes 50 rabbit show jumping clubs throughout Scandinavia.
8 Shin Kicking
No, this sport wasn’t invented by a bunch of five year-olds. Rather, it was organized way back in the 1600s as a way to protest the expanding popularity of Puritanism (yeah, we don’t get it either). Anyway, modern shin kicking involves two players going shin to shin to see who can knock the other one down more times. As a safety measure against bloody shins, competitors are allowed to cram as much hay down their trousers as possible.
7 Unicycle Hockey
Before the revolution of Rollerblades in the 1990s, dozens (yes, dozens!) of “athletes” were hitting the concrete to play street hockey with the help of unicycles. This super geeky sport was created around 25 years ago, with full-blown leagues now available in Great Britain and Germany.
6 Camel Wrestling
No, this long-favorite sport of Turkey doesn’t involve a man wrestling a camel. Camel wrestling pits two camels against each other to see which one will reign supreme. Male camels are specially bred and trained to be the best fighters they can be. When the big fight comes, those crafty humans introduce a female in heat and let the two males go at it in an attempt to win the chance to mate with her.
The favorite sport of Harry Potter has found its way into the world of Muggles. Inspired by the classic movie series, students at Middlebury College set to work making the game a reality. While there’s no flying involved, players do hold brooms between their legs and maneuver the field in an attempt to throw balls through round hoops. Sound stupid? Well, too bad — the sport is now played at over 400 colleges.
4 Wife Carrying
In the merry old land of Finland, male contestants race 253 meters (nearly the length of three football fields) with their better halves strapped firmly to their backs. As one might expect, the sport was initially conceived as a joke. However, over the centuries plenty of people have gotten serious about the sport. Today, wife carrying events take place across the globe.
3 Extreme Ironing
According to the Extreme Ironing Bureau (yes, that’s actually a thing), extreme ironing is, “the latest danger sport that combines the thrills of an extreme outdoor activity with the satisfaction of a well-pressed shirt.” Conceived in Britain, competitors now travel the globe looking for the most extreme places to get their iron on.
2 Man vs. Horse
You probably think a foot race between a human and a horse would be pretty one-sided. However, that doesn’t stop the good people of Wales from pitting man against animal in a 22-mile marathon race. To even the playing field, much of the terrain involves trotting through thickly wooded areas -– a fact that helps man stay in the running for victory.
1 Ferret Legging
Would you consider someone who stuffs two angry ferrets into his pants an athlete? Well, that’s all it takes to be a sport superstar in the game of ferret legging. The game (invented in North Yorkshire, England) simply requires contestants to keep the two biting, fighting ferrets in their pants for as long as possible (world record is 5 hours, 26 minutes). While not so popular anymore (gee, I wonder why), the sport was apparently all the rage in the 1970s.