Is that REALLY a Sport?
I’ve got an unusual topic for you today. It’s not your average run of the mill sports article but it is very real and like I say, quite unusual. Today I’m going to be talking about unusual sports. Some of these are very active and some require a degree of fitness, but all of them are just, well.. unusual.
I was chatting to a customer the other day about places he had visited on his travels and what plans he had in mind for the rest of his trip. He was quite an athletic looking chap, who looked more of a survival/outdoors-type than a general fitness fanatic. Nonetheless we were chatting about outdoor activities as he’d recently spent a good length of time in New Zealand, which, as most people will be aware, is known for being the ‘extreme sports’ capital of the world. As I’d lived there myself some time ago we naturally shared excitable stories of all the bungee jumps, skydiving, rafting and caving that is immensely popular over there. For someone who was clearly well-travelled and who was very much a sporty type I was surprised to learn he hadn’t heard of Zorbing – another great activity that originated in New Zealand and one that has evolved somewhat over the years.
Zorbing is an incredibly odd but highly exciting adrenaline-charged land activity that involves rolling down the twists and turns of a large hill inside a giant plastic orb. The plastic is actually transparent, which is great for on looking friends and family to sneer at the hapless soul inside as he or she is tossed around inside like a rag doll as the giant ball bounds and bounces down the hill. I remember being there back in 2005 and being genuinely shocked at the speed and ferocity of the thing. Back then I think it was classed as an extreme sport, though with all the other dangerous activities available in New Zealand, probably not so, though I do remember a couple of young girls plucking up the courage and taking on the ‘washing machine’ option, whereby the staff open up the orb and add copious amounts of warm soapy water and two willing volunteers before sealing it back up again. The whole spherical package is then sent careering down the hill as the audience rejoices in the shrieks and squeals of the two trapped inside.
These days it seems that the whole Zorbing concept has evolved somewhat. I saw an online video the other day of something they call the ‘Indiana Jones Ball’, which consists of the same Zorbing concept above but with several people ahead of the ball on foot, fleeing for their lives. Inevitably, they get picked off one by one as the giant Zorb ploughs straight over them leaving them pressed head down into the grass. Lovely.
Anyway, after chatting further it turned out that this guy was a semi-professional ‘Bossaball’ player. The tables had turned. I had absolutely no idea what he was talking about. He laughed and told me all about it. Bossaball is a spectacular and relatively new sport that originated in Spain in 2004 – around the same time I first discovered Zorbing ironically. It is similar to volleyball, but includes elements of football, gymnastics and capoeira. It’s played on a purpose-built inflatable court with a circular trampoline on each side of a net. It is a ball game between two teams, each consisting of 3 to 5 players.
From what he was saying it’s actually become an International Sport and it seems it’s taken the sports and recreation world by storm. The flexibility required to play Bossaball is incredible. He showed me a YouTube video of some game in Brazil and it was painful to watch, at least it was for me.
The whole conversation got me curious and I started thinking of other unusual sports and pastimes, like the English tradition of cheese-rolling and welly-throwing, but after a little digging around on the internet I found all sorts of wild and wonderful sports, including:
- Oil Wrestling
- Bed Racing
- Wife Carrying(!)
- Extreme Ironing
- Chess Boxing
- World Gurning Contests
..and last but not least:
- Sports with no clothes!
Trust me when I say, somewhere in the world this goes on, on a regular basis. It’s mind-boggling. It puts the other recent blog about cricket in a much tamer light.
Anyway, among my findings I came across a great site selling anything and everything to do with the weird and wonderful world of sports. Check it out at: http://www.for-sale.com
Thanks for reading guys, until next time..