No matter how you feel about sports, you can’t deny the joy they bring to tens of millions of people.
Not all sports are created equal, however. We are used to hearing about mainstream favorites like football, tennis, and soccer, but what about all of those off-the-wall events we don’t hear about as much? Did you know extreme ironing is a competitive sport? What about cheese rolling? There really is something for everyone!
1. The first annual Balloon World Cup.
Inspired by a viral TikTok video of a brother and sister playing a game of “keep up” with a balloon, Ibai Llanos and Gerard Piqué started the first-ever Balloon World Cup event in 2021. They rented out the convention center in the PortAventura World resort in the province of Tarragona, Spain. Not only did they fill the arena, but about 8 million viewers watched it all live on Twitch.
the Balloon World Cup was last week— Dan Toomey (@dhtoomey) October 17, 2021
watch this space
2. The annual Gloucester Cheese Rolling Race.
Since the 15th century, thousands of people have headed to Cooper’s Hill in Gloucester, England, for the annual cheese rolling event in the spring. During the race, people launch themselves down the steep hillside in pursuit of a 9-pound round of Double Gloucester cheese that is rolled from the top of the hill. The first person to get to the bottom wins, but getting there is no easy feat! People have actually been severely injured during this event.
In case you’re wondering about the prize… it’s the cheese. Yup.
3. Chess Boxing.
In what could be the ultimate test of brawn versus brains, chess boxing was originally adapted from an art performance and has since become a competitive sport popular in the U.K., India, Finland, and Russia. Chess boxing is exactly what it sounds like — two competitors play alternating rounds of speed chess and boxing until there’s a winner in either sport. Basically you either get knocked out physically or mentally!
4. Human Mattress Dominoes.
It’s a simple premise: The game is just like dominoes, except the dominoes are human beings strapped onto twin-sized mattresses. At their annual manager’s meeting, appliance and electronics company Aaron’s, Inc. rented a huge warehouse in Maryland in an attempt to set a new Guinness World Record for human mattress dominoes.
5. Extreme Ironing.
Since 1997, people have been participating in a sport that combines extreme outdoor activities and one of the most mundane household tasks imaginable. Participants hike mountainsides, climb ice floes, and even use scuba gear to iron items of clothing. In case you’re thinking, “Pics or it didn’t happen,” they document it all on social media using #extremeironing.
6. The annual Wife Carrying World Championship.
Every year, couples from all over the world head to Sonkajärvi, Finland, to compete in their annual wife carrying contest. In this event, partners must carry their wives through an obstacle course to win a trophy. Plus bragging rights, of course!
7. Underwater Hockey.
It’s just what it sounds like — hockey played 13 feet underwater! The game was originally stated in Great Britain in 1954 to help train divers and British soldiers. It was called “octopush” at first, but now Underwater Hockey is played in over 40 countries worldwide. Who knew?
A zorb is a giant plastic inflatable ball. Zorbing means getting inside that ball and rolling down a hillside! Sometimes there are harnesses to keep you stationary inside the ball; other times people just bounce around untethered. You can also go hydrozorbing, which is, you guessed it, when you add water to the inside of the zorb. Not to be confused with aquazorbing, which is zorbing on top of water.
9. The World Bog Snorkeling Championships.
Like many odd sports, this one started as a conversation in a pub! The village of Llanwrtyd Wells, Wales, hosts this annual competition that involves swimming along a watery trench cut into a peat bog using a snorkel and face mask to breathe. They can’t use traditional swimming strokes but they can use flippers and kick their legs.
10. Outhouse Racing.
This annual event got its start on Main Street in Coopersville, Michigan, back in 1993. It’s now held in various cities, and thousands of people flock in for the frivolously fun race. In it, contestants build their own outhouse, mount it on wheels, and drag it to the finish line.
Bonus: Ski Ballet!
It’s exactly what it sounds like, and it’s glorious!
Who knew there was a sport out there for any interest? Just think, next time someone could turn napping into a global competition! Sign us up!
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