Bizarre Sport Competitions from Across the Globe
The nature of athletics has been evolving and expanding for centuries.
Competition has been part of the human core since the beginning of time, and it’s something that individuals everywhere love engaging in. Sports are a healthy way to satisfy any competitive cravings, and the United States has been a big supporter of sports battles especially those involving the traditional games of football, basketball, and baseball.
However, if there is ever a time when someone would want to try something new to express a rival urge, there are new sporting events created all the time. With the increasing popularity of strange sporting events, it’s possible that in the future we will see locker rooms full of broomsticks and mattresses instead of basketballs and baseball bats.
First introduced in Sonkajarvi, Finland in 1992, wife carrying has expanded into a very popular competition and has even made its way to the United States.
The basis of the original game involves a man carrying a female over the age of 17 (doesn’t have to be his wife despite the name) through an obstacle course. Whoever completes the course in the fastest time wins and gets to claim the prize.
Traditionally, the prize was the wife’s weight in beer, but the North American competition changed things a little; the couple still wins the wife’s weight in beer (although in the US both teammates need to be 21 or older) in addition to five times the wife’s weight in cash.
Adored by residents of many countries such as Yorkshire, New Zealand, Thailand, Australia, and even the United States, bed racing has turned into an international phenomenon. With how widespread the sport is, rules vary according to the competition, but most involve four to six people pushing a mattress on four wheels and racing to the finish line (with one teammate on the mattress).
In some competitions, the team is required to also create a floating device for the bed and race it across a small body of water. It’s meant to be a fun, family-friendly event, and most competitions have a new theme every year with the participants being required to dress accordingly.
Not many authors can say their work has inspired a sport, but it’s not surprising that J.K. Rowling’s diehard fans have taken the fictional sport from the Harry Potter series and turned it into a real sport. Created in 2005 at the Middlebury College in Vermont, the game is now played at numerous universities and in over ten other countries; the next Quidditch World Cup is scheduled for April 2013 at the Austin-Tindall Park in Kissimmee, Florida.
Unfortunately, muggles (people with no magical capabilities) can’t fly on broomsticks like Rowling’s version describes, so players run around with brooms held between their legs. There are typically seven people on a team: two beaters, three chasers, a keeper and a seeker.
To sum it up, the chasers try to score points by throwing the ball (quaffle) in any of three goals, and the beaters try to block them from scoring by throwing a ball (bludger) at the chasers. If the chasers are hit, they must drop the quaffle.
The keeper protects the three goals, and the seeker’s job is to get the snitch (a person dressed in gold with a tennis ball in a sock tied around their waist). Capturing the snitch accumulates thirty points and signals the end of the game; the team with the most accumulated points wins.
World Worm Charming Championship
Traditionally used to get bait for fishing, worm charming transformed into a sports competition in 1980 with annual events held in Britain and many European countries. Participants compete to “charm” the most worms out of a 3 x 3-meter plot in a thirty minute period, but digging or using water is prohibited.
The teammates must rely on vibration methods to coax the worms out of the ground, and many people use simple techniques such as forks in the ground or even playing music. After thirty minutes, the team that has charmed the most worms wins the competition and the worms are released back into the ground.
Man vs. Horse Marathon
Another great sporting event from Britain, the annual event involves a 22-mile race between a team of runners and a team of horseback riders. The competition was created by a pub owner in 1980 who overheard an argument between two men in his bar about if a man could ever outrun a horse and ever since that fateful day, the competition has been loved by fans everywhere (Prescott, Arizona has even started showcasing their own event).
However, it wasn’t until 2004 that a runner finally came in first place, and to this day there has only been one other race when a horse didn’t win.
Strange sport competitions are becoming commonly played, and many people who aren’t traditional sports fans are enjoying the expansion of the sports community. There will never be a shortage of competitive spirits or imagination and in turn, there will never be an end to the creative competitive events that people invest and participate in.