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Sports Then and Now

5 Bizarre Sports and How to Get Involved

Posted on July 22, 2020 by Martin Banks

Sure, you’ve heard of rugby, ultimate frisbee and maybe even quidditch, but what about cheese-rolling? Odds are you don’t know what this is, nor have you tried this sport yourself. If you were never any good at soccer or wrestling or other traditional sports, why not try a more obscure one? You might just find you have a knack for it. 

While the following options may be bizarre, you must admit they’re interesting — at least in theory.

1. Sepak Takraw

Sepak Takraw is popular in many parts of Southeast Asia and is like volleyball without using your hands. Instead, players their feet, head, knees, shoulders and other body parts to get the ball over the net. Traditionally, the ball is made of rattan or dried palm leaves. 

While the sport originated in Malaysia about 500 years ago, it didn’t gain traction in the U.S. until 1996. Still, there is only one official USA Sepak Takraw organization, and it’s based in California. Therefore, if you’d like to get involved, you should first begin practicing on your own. Then, connect with others interested in the sport and possibly join the organization, which competes in Asia for the King’s Cup each year. 

2. Firetruck Racing

If you’ve never been to a firetruck race, you’re seriously missing out. This sport involves five firemen, a ladder and a truck with an obscenely large engine. It speeds toward a bridge where the driver hits the brakes. Then, while the vehicle is still moving, four men jump off the back and use the momentum to raise a ladder to the bridge as one of them climbs to the top. This all happens in a matter of seconds. 

While this sport is fun to watch, it can be incredibly dangerous for participants. Still, if you’d like to compete against other risk-takers, you must first get your own truck. You’ll need to look for one without a platform, just the ladder. 

3. Wife-Carrying

While most men are trying to get their wives off their backs, the Finnish are doing the exact opposite. In the sport of wife-carrying, male contestants must carry their partner through a series of obstacles. The couple with the fastest time wins the woman’s weight in beer. 

If you want to win the contest — and the title of manliest man in your friend group — you best begin giving your wife piggyback rides. You could also carry a heavy backpack around to prepare yourself. Then, once you feel you’re ready, simply sign up for a competition. The U.S. final takes place in Minnesota each year on the second weekend of July. However, other states, like Michigan and Wisconsin, also host competitions. 

4. Cheese-Rolling

No one really knows where cheese-rolling came from, but we do know there’s nothing more epic than chasing cheese down a hill. Every May, dozens of contestants gather in Gloucester, England, on Cooper Hill to do just that. Someone releases a 7-pound cheese wheel to roll down the hill, and players scramble to catch it. Whoever manages to nab it wins the title and the cheese — not to mention broken bones and torn muscles at times. 

We don’t condone risking your life for a wheel of cheese — and neither does England. In fact, it banned the sport in 2010. However, tradition is tradition. If you want to get involved, all you have to do is enter the contest and head to the top of Cooper Hill. 

5. Hurling

Compared to the other bizarre sports on this list, hurling may be the closest one to normal. However, most people in the U.S. still don’t know about it. This ancient Gaelic sport originated in Ireland and dates back to before the fifth century. Today, it’s popular in Europe, Australia, South Africa and many other countries. Much like in lacrosse, players must use a stick to hurl a ball into the opponent’s net to score points and win the game. 

This sport is full-contact, and players can make shoulder-to-shoulder charges at opponents. Hurling can, therefore, be quite rough. If you’re up to the challenge and have tried your hand at lacrosse, hurling may be right up your alley. Join a club near you or begin practicing basic skills on your own to get involved.

Finding Your Niche

One of these bizarre sports may seem like a blast to you. If so, try it out! You might just discover a natural talent you never knew you had. However, if none of the above options intrigued you, that’s OK. Continue searching and, eventually, you’ll come across something that will pique your interest. With time, you’ll discover your niche, and you’ll be happy to have tried something new.

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