If you thought the guys and girls at your local gym were a sight to behold, wait until you see our list of the world’s weirdest sports. From 500-year-old hands-free volleyball, to Harry Potter-inspired Quidditch, you ain’t seen nothing yet, mate.
We’re kicking off in style, with the national sport of Afghanistan, in which two teams, mounted on horseback, attempt to wrestle a dead goat from each other’s clutches, with the aim of throwing it over a goal line. Oh, you guys!
Did we mention that the goat is headless? It’s headless. At the start of the game, the goat (which in normal sports would be something like a ball) is placed at the centre of the field. Teams then rush in to try and take possession and score points by dumping it in the scoring area.
It is said that only the most skilled Buzkashi players ever even get close to scoring, but when they do, it makes their sponsors very happy. Did we mention that this sport has sponsors? It has sponsors.
So, you know how boxing has this bad reputation amongst some people as being awful and barbaric? Somebody decided to fix that, by combining it with the exact opposite of boxing. Chess Boxing – for want of a better name – involves two opponents, alternating between beating the crap out of each other physically, and mentally (presumably with lots of strategic trash talk.)
To succeed at Chess Boxing, you must have both the ability to box, and at least a partial understanding of the game of chess. Unfortunately for those who partake in chess boxing, it is unlikely that they are masters of both disciplines, because, you know, how could you be?
Apart from being one of the most insane sports we’ve ever seen, Japan’s Bo-taoshi is the only one we know of in which ‘Ninja’ is an official position.
In Bo-taoshi, which means ‘pole bring-down’, a gigantic team of 75 ‘attackers’, attempts to pull down a large pole, surrounded by 75 ‘defenders.’ On top of the pole, sits the Ninja, whose job is to lean in the opposite direction that the pole is being pulled. The pole itself can be up to five meters high.
Imagine 75 screaming attackers, clawing their way up an equally-screaming pile of 75 defenders, while one lone soul high in the air tries to salvage the entire mess, and you just imagined Bo-taoshi.
Long before Ellen Page brought Roller Derby to the big screen in ‘Whip It’, people – mostly women – were bombing it around in circles in sports halls on roller skates, intentionally smashing into each other.
In Roller Derby, two teams race around the track (either an official track or a sports hall) in the same direction. Points are scored when your designated ‘Jammer’ laps as many opposing players as possible. Your goal is to assist the Jammer in doing this, whilst the opposing team’s job is to prevent them. Both tasks involve lots of ramming and barging. To call Roller Derby a contact sport, doesn’t really do it justice.
In the Quidditch mentioned in the Harry Potter books, players actually fly around on broomsticks. In real-life Quidditch, players run around a field with a broom between their legs. According to the US Quidditch League (yes, really), Quidditch is “a mixture of rugby, dodgeball and tag.” If you’ve tried every other sport in the world, Quidditch could be for you.
It gets pretty cold in Finland, and presumably, due to the existence of Wife Carrying, pretty boring and/or alcohol-filled in parts, as well. In Wife Carrying, participants race through a course, often strewn with hilarious and dangerous obstacles, whilst carrying a woman (it doesn’t have to be your wife) in some manner. The most popular position is over the shoulders in a sort of backpack style.
Some say that Wife Carrying may have started as a joke, but that it became so popular, that everyone decided to just go right ahead and keep doing it.
The qualifying rules to invent one of the world’s weirdest sports might look something like this: 1. Take two wildly different existing sports that would be awful and dangerous if you put them together. 2. Put them together.
Not only is Cycleball basically football played on bicycles, but the bicycles are fixed-gear with no freewheel. Goodbye, shins!
Sepak Takraw wins the award for the coolest name on our list, and once you get over the potential broken necks, it actually sounds like a lot of fun.
Sepak Takraw was invented in Malaysia around 500 years ago, and is basically volleyball, only you can’t use your hands. This means that players spend most of the game upside-down, in terrifying overhead spin kick positions.
If you’re looking for a fun day out, you could do much worse than a good old fashioned Louisiana prison rodeo. Not only will you get to see inmates gored by raging bulls, you’ll also be able to sample exquisite family recipes, cooked on-site (prison) by convicted killers, or browse some of the many arts and crafts stalls, selling delightful gifts. Made by convicted criminals. You do you, America!