Ever since men and women first learned that they could compete with one another, competition has been a part of our lives. We are a naturally driven species and we want to know that we are the best or at least better than someone at something. That is why the NFL is so popular in North America and why Football (soccer) is so popular everywhere else. Yet, for some people these ‘mainstream sports’ are not enough. The competition needs to be weirder and more driven. So, with that frame of reference we decided to look at some of the world’s craziest sports! You won’t find sign up sheets at your local rec center for anything on this list, but you will find a ravenous fanbase somewhere on the planet. Keep on reading, listed below are 9 of the world’s CRAZIEST sports!
The last time we felt excited about ironing a t-shirt was when we tried to do it as a kid without our mom knowing. The burnt shirt and ensuing punishment was enough to know that this new challenge wasn’t for us. However, in Britain there is a renewed focus on the extreme thrills that ironing can offer you, er, kind of. The Extreme Ironing Bureau was created to take ironing to the next level by having players compete with one another to iron a shirt in the most extreme situations possible. Gaining a surprising amount of coverage in Britain, followers of the sport can watch players iron shirts in caves, near waterfalls, in the forest, or even out on the water in a kayak. We’re not saying this sport will ever catch on in North America but if it does, well, you heard it hear first.
Anyone who has ever had a bouncy ball in their possession has probably hurled it at a wall and tried to catch it. It is that innate desire which fuels the challenger to new challenger quota of the game Jai Alai. Jai Alai was first developed in the 19th Centruy in Spain under the Basque Government and since then it has become popular due to its fast tempo and element of danger. A typical game of Jai Alai consists of a rotation of players who have curled rackets in their hand. Players on both teams face a wall and use their rackets to hurl the goatskin ball to start the game. From there players catch and return the ball, not unlike tennis. Players are boxed in by walls on their back, left, and front and points are scored at a breakneck pace. When a point is scored players immediately rotate. Ball speeds can reach up to 200 MPH and frequently cause injuries. The rare fatality is also not unheard of in a game of Jai Alai.
When your teacher told you that chess was a strong mental exercise they probably had no idea what Chess Boxing could entail. Chess and boxing are about as similar to one another in the world of sports as dogs and giant squid. That is to say, there are no commonalities outside of the fact that you have to keep your ‘head in the game’. In Chess Boxing you have two players compete in two different sports at the same time. You have 11 four minute rounds that are split apart by boxing bouts. Players make their move on the chess board and then the board is removed and a four minute round of boxing occurs. The board is then returned to the ring and the next moves can continue. This is definitely an interesting way to get better at either sport, though we suppose the goal isn’t to have an exactly quality version of either game.
In the sport of worm charming there is nothing more exciting than watching your competitor rolling around in the mud, hundreds of worms at his beck and call. Worm charming is massively popular in England and requires competitors to entice worms to come out of the ground without any digging. Players are given a fork, some wood, and a boom box with 30 minutes of time. The world record for most worms ‘charmed’ is 511, set back in 1980. This creative sport may not make its way to America anytime soon, but a cursory trip around the internet can reveal some fierce competitions from years gone by.
Remember watching your first game of hockey? The violence, speed, and skill of the game were absolutely astounding — especially for a sport that doesn’t get much love. Octopush takes the concept of hockey and moves it underwater, forcing players to compete at the bottom of a pool. The goal of the game is the same, pushing your puck through an opponents goal, but you are not allowed to make contact with other players. Oh, yeah, and you also have to return to the surface to get air. This is an odd sport that has gotten some real traction in Singapore. This is like a slowed down, non violent, wetter version of hockey…without the sticks, beards, or ferocity.
The game of Buzkashi would have a hard time getting greenlit here in the United States due to our focused defense of animals and their welfare. In Buzkashi you have two teams of players riding horses while simultaneously dragging a dead goat behind them. The goal of the game is to drag the dead goat across a line in order to score a point for your team. The game dates back to the 10th century and is still going strong in Afghanistan. Americans have translated the game in a more humane version called Kav Kaz. In this version you have two teams of five trying to move a giant sheep skinned ball through a wooden goal post, similar to soccer.
No, Hurling is not a sport invented by your college’s most meat headed fraternities. Instead, Hurling is a sport invented by Northern Ireland’s most meat headed athletes. The game of hurling mixes lacrosse with field hockey and an incredible desire to incur some form of head trauma. The most striking aspect of this game, combined with the fact that it was once referred to as ‘war’, is the surprising lack of safety precautions. Players in the game often opt not to wear any sort of headgear despite the fact that the ball, hurled at full speed by a four foot long club, can reach speeds of up to 100 MPH. We aren’t saying that players are drunk when they play, but we wouldn’t be surprised.
Suriname probably isn’t on your short list of potential vacation destinations but after you learn about their affinity for birds, it just might be. In this tiny South American country you’ll find an almost impressive disinterest in national sports at large. There aren’t golf courses, there are no sports arenas, and you are going to be hard pressed to even find your way to a movie theater. With all of this free time, however, citizens of Suriname have turned their attention and energy toward birds and their voices. In Paramaribo, the capital of Suriname, you can make your way into just about any park early on Sunday morning to engage in the local’s most intense sport: bird chirping. Competitors bring their own bird to the event, put them in cages face to face, and then the crowd assembles and falls quiet. A judge sits beside the birds with a chalkboard and an intense stare. With the arena completely quiet it is up to the birds. Every time they chirp a point is scored for the respective owner. Competitions last five minutes and a Twa Twa, the competing bird, can cost thousands of dollars.
Ranking in at #1 in our list of insane sports is the world of cyber competition: eSports. Over the past several decades we have seen gaming rise in the realm of entertainment to become the go to hobby for the next generation. With the Xbox One, PS4, and personal computer crowds all aching to prove themselves as the best of the best, it only makes sense that eSports would explode. Conventionally, playing video games competitively isn’t that bizarre or crazy. However, the way that eSports gets treated is truly bizarre. Now you have teams of players for games like Starcraft and Call of Duty getting the same kind of endorsement deals meant for professional football players. You have entire arenas, like Madison Square Garden, packed with people watching other people play video games. In fact, eSports are even beginning to get coverage on mainstream sports networks like ESPN! We doubt eSports will ever secure a day of the week like the NFL (Sunday) or an entire season like the MLB (Spring) but it sure enough is going to stay in the public zeitgeist for the future to come.