Weird Sports Around the World

Zachary Grover, Sports Editor

   Amid the novel coronavirus pandemic, sports, along with the rest of the world, came grinding to a halt and sports fans needed something to fill the void. Whether it was Korean baseball on ESPN, a hotdog eating contest, or any of the many jaw-dropping sports on ESPN the Ocho, a network dedicated to unusual and niche sports, fanatics have found a plethora of interesting athletics to watch ( 

   First, we have a sport which originated in Southeast Asia and is called Sepak Takraw or “kick ball.” It is a volleyball-like game with three players on each side; however, players can only use their feet, knees or head. Each side has three touches to get the ball, called a rattan, over the net. Players jump, turn, twist, and even spike the ball with their feet. Word Traveler Matthew Burrus played the sport while he was traveling around southeast Asia. “[In Myanmar] people were playing the sport everywhere,” he said. “It was a great way for me to meet new people,” he said. Burrus, who played semi-pro soccer, experienced a learning curve with the game. “I definitely wasn’t out there spiking,” laughed Burrus.

   If you think ironing your clothes regularly is boring, this next sport might be for you. According to a sports website, extreme ironing is a sport that combines the monotony of ironing with crazy stunts. The sport started in England after someone took an ironing board on a hike, and ironed his clothes while hiking. Now, athletes iron while on top of speeding cars, water skiing, rock climbing, and doing many other activities that one would never dream of while ironing. This makes for a thrilling experience (

   Not only was 1893 the year the US Supreme Court declared the tomato a vegetable, but it was also the year the sport of cycle-ball was born. Cycle-ball combines artistic cycling with soccer. According to A Year of Sport Travel, a book about different sports around the world, each team has two players who try to hit the ball into the opposing net using their bikes. Players trap, pass, and shoot with their bikes in an enclosed field. The game is very fast paced, with players even playing goalie on defense. There are two seven-minute halves of fast-and-furious, up-and-down excitement. UC High Junior Joseph DePascale said cycle ball piqued his interest: “Cycle ball looks like it would be extremely interesting to play. I’d love to try it sometime.”

   Ferret-legging is an endurance competition where participants stick a live ferret in their pants for as long as possible with their ankle holes tied shut. Yes, this is real! It supposedly originated in England among coal miners who had to hide the animals as only the rich were allowed to have them. What is the record? Five hours and 26 minutes, according to a website about the rules and the history of unusual sports ( Next time you think ants in your pants is bad, just remember there is a person in England with a live, vicious ferret down his or her pants.  

   The Afghan sport of Buzkashi involves money, violence, contained chaos, and broken bones. Buzkashi literally means “goat grabbing” and involves up to 800 players racing around on horseback trying to grab a dismembered goat carcass. There are two versions of the game: tudabarai, in which players attempt to ride clear of the pack with the carcass, and qarajai in which two teams compete to gain control of the carcass and drag it to the goal area, according to A Year of  Sports Travel. Only the skilled players are allowed to grab the carcass and everyone else just adds to the chaos.

   Next is something which will stir up childhood memories. This game, usually played on school playgrounds all over the world, can now be played in front of millions. World Chase Tag is the extreme version of the beloved childhood game, and is the only professional tag League in the world. According to CNN, the League has travelled all over the world and been featured on many national sports channels including ESPN, BBC, and Fox Sports since its creation in 2011. The “Chase Off” format is the sport’s most popular format and it involves a Chaser and an Evader. The Chaser attempts to tag the Evader within 20 seconds inside the playing field filled with obstacles. A match has between 10-16 chases, and when the Evader is tagged, someone else on his team becomes the Chaser. Teams have four players on each team ( Don’t you wish you were a little better at tag in elementary school?

   Have you ever wondered what Dennis Rodman, Finland, and the Guiness Book of World Records have in common? Apparently, the World Wife-Carrying Championships, according to A Year of Sports Travel. Carrying positions for this wacky sport include “the piggyback,” “over the shoulder,” and the “crosswise.” In the modern day event, competitors must carry their wives or girlfriends over the 253 meter course made up of sand, grass, and asphalt, which includes two dry obstacles and one of water about a meter deep. Don’t drop her, gentlemen — otherwise, it sounds like a good way to end up sleeping on the couch.

   Sports have always been a way to engage in physical competition for enjoyment — and there are seemingly endless ways to do so. From Sepak Takraw, to ferret-legging, to wife-carrying, there is absolutely a sport for everyone to enjoy.


Sepak Takraw 


World Chase Tag


Wife carrying