The world sure has produced some weird sports over time. Though everybody’s familiar with the core concepts of popular sports such as basketball, football and hockey, there are some lesser-known activities that might just raise a few eyebrows. Here’s a list of 10 of the world’s most unusual sports and weird games.
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Bossaball is an extremely odd sport, indeed. Invented in Spain by a Belgian named Filip Eyckmans, it was created in 2004 and is a close hybrid of football and volleyball. Imagine volleyball taking place on an inflatable court, which has a trampoline in the center of each team’s side of the net, and you’d have something close to what Bossaball looks like.
2. Wife Carrying
It is said that the legend of the North American Wife Carrying Championship begins with a character from the 19th century known as ‘Ronkainen the Robber.’ To be accepted into his band of criminals, you’d have to prove your worth by lugging a heavy sack or a full-grown woman around a lengthy course.
Though each competition differs, the North American version involves a 278-yard course, with two dry and one water obstacle to overcome. The winner secures his wife’s weight in beer, and five times her weight in cash. They also get entry to the Finnish World Championship. Bonkers.
Quidditch isn’t quite as long-rooted in history as some of the other unusual sports on our list, first having been invented in the 1990s by author J.K. Rowling of the Harry Potter series. Much like the sport in the children’s books, competitors must keep a hold on their broomstick at all times while trying to score points through a series of hoops, though of course they’re running, not flying. Though it’s hard to capture some of the more magical elements from the Harry Potter novels, all the core elements of the game are recreated by some means.
4. Oil Wrestling
Oil wrestling is a sport that was first founded in Turkey and one which is still practiced today. The premise is simple; liberally apply olive oil to the bodies of competing opponents, each of which wears a specially designed pair of trousers called a kisbet. Then, two opponents go head-to-head in a wrestling match, which is made all the more difficult by the lack of friction caused by the oil. The aim of the game is to get a firm grip on the opponent’s kisbet.
5. Chess Boxing
When it comes to obscure sports, chess boxing is as unusual as they come. It literally combines the sports of chess and boxing, within a traditional boxing ring, and participants must be skilled in both. A match has eleven rounds, with six rounds of chess and five rounds of boxing; either opponent can win the match through boxing or through chess. Both opponents are required to wear headphones to prevent them from becoming distracted, which only serves to make a match of chess boxing appear even more unusual.
6. Underwater Hockey
Underwater hockey is no more complex than the name would suggest. Simply put, it’s played much like the regular game of hockey, with the exception that both teams are competing against each other underwater, in a swimming pool. It’s far more relaxed than a typical game of ice hockey, and uses a range of different equipment to facilitate movement, including protective gloves, fins and a snorkel. Also like regular hockey, both teams have a goal of moving the puck into the opponents’ 9-foot net to score a goal.
7. Sepak Takraw
It’s said that this sport dates back over 500 years, but never had an officially documented set of rules until around 1829. Similar in appearance to volleyball, both teams stand on opposing sides of a net. However, rather than batting a ball back and forth with their hands, opponents must use their feet to propel the typically rattan ball across the net. Though it’s played in countries such as the UK and the US, popularity is strongest for this sport in Asia, with the best teams originating from countries such as Thailand, Japan, Singapore and Malaysia.
8. Cheese Rolling
Here’s an event that takes place in Gloucestershire, UK, once each year. Competitors gather at an extremely steep incline known as Cooper’s Hill, then proceed to chase a large wheel of cheese as it is rolled down the slope. The winner is the first person who can reach the bottom of the hill, and their prize is of course the cheese itself. Though cheese rolling may not sound like an extreme sport, the incline is extremely steep and has produced several injuries over the years.
9. Toe Wrestling
This unusual sport started in Derbyshire, UK, when some local patrons of a pub named ‘Ye Olde Royal Oak Inn’ decided that the UK should be the reigning champions of a new sport. And so, toe wrestling was born. Two competitors go toe-to-toe without shoes, attempting to pin each other’s foot against the outside of the podium (or toedium). One of the weirdest sports, toe wrestling was first played in that historic pub in 1976, and the title of champion was previously held by a Canadian man, much to the dismay of those Englishmen who regularly take part.
10. Tuna Tossing
For over 55 years, in a small Australian town called Port Lincoln, residents have been swapping balls or javelins for whole tunas; there is now even something called the ‘Tuna Toss World Championships,’ which draw in a great crowd. This sport is exactly what it sounds like; competitors from around the world gather to launch large tunas as far as they can across a field. The origins of this unusual sport lie in the town’s rich fishing culture, when workmen would have to prove that they could toss a tuna a sizable distance from their trawling boat onto the dock in port.
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If you know of a really weird sport then please let us know and we’ll add it to the list.