Ever feel like March Madness is just too mainstream? There’s more to sports than shooting hoops or Sunday football. But be warned – it can get pretty weird.
Although not too far out, most people wince at the idea of a sport that’s founded on being hit by flying projectiles. Paintball is originated in the 1980s. The original paintball gun was actually used to mark timber for removal and stray cattle from far away. As we know, people are always looking for fun new ways to hurt each other, and one day old McDonald decided to play a little prank on his farmhands. Well, not quite like that. However, the first paintball game began after a group of friends made bets on who would last the longest in the woods and “ capture the flag”without getting tagged.
Paintball is now played by millions of people. Players use a gas or Co2 powered marker and attempt to eliminate the other team before they are eliminated. If the ball doesn’t break, then the player isn’t out. It can be played in massive groups up to the thousands in the woods, by teams competing in international tournaments for money, or by groups of friends at a local field.
9. Mountain Unicycling
A lot of outdoorsy people are minimalists, and two wheels is just too complex for some of them. With mountain unicycling you can take the balance and control out of regular mountain biking in the extreme outdoors – just pop off a wheel and hope for the best!
But actually, you can achieve a great deal of control with a mountain unicycle. Specialized off-road unicycles are designed with extra features for speed, stability and safety. A skilled unicyclist can operate their one wheeled vehicle with the same control as a mountain biker. Mountain unicycling requires immense upper and lower body strength as well as balance. There are even professionals who are sponsored by mountain unicycling companies.
8. Sepak Takraw
Look Ma, no hands! Popular in Southeast Asia, Sepak Takraw is basically hands-free volleyball. The ball is also smaller rattan ball instead of a volleyball. Teams of three players hit a ball back and forth over a net, but can only use their feet, knees, chest, or head. The sport dates back to the 15th century.
Sepak Takraw is played primarily in Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, and other Southeast Asian Countries. Tournaments also exist in Japan, Canada, and the United States. The ISTAF (International Sepak Takraw Federation) governs the rules and regulations of international play.
When sports of brains and brawn are put combined, you get something like chess boxing. In Chessboxing, a KO can be a right hook or a checkmate. Players alternate between chess and boxing, with 5 rounds of boxing and 6 rounds of chess. All rounds are five minutes. Players can win by KO, techincal KO, a checkmate, the opponent exceeding the time limit, opponent disqualification, or their opponent quitting.
Chess boxing originated in Germany in the early 2000’s, but has since spread throughout Europe and the Western Hemisphere. It is most popular in Germany, The United Kingdom, India, and Russia.
This obviously wasn’t the kind of Polo Ralph Lauren named his brand after, but it’s close enough. Instead of horses, competitors mount their majestic segways and attempt to hit the ball into the other team’s goal with their mallets.
Segway Polo became somewhat popular after enthusiasts from the Bay Area Segway Enthusiasts Group decided to get competitive. Since then, other groups in other countries have formed their own Segway Polo teams. The Segway Polo world championship is known as the Woz cup.
This ain’t like the roller skating you did in grade school. Initially a form of sports entertainment, roller derby is now a worldwide phenomenon. It is a high speed contact sport that requires players to be hard-hitting and quick on their wheels. There are over 1,000 roller derby leagues, half out them outside the United States. It is also predominantly played by women.
Play consists of one team designating a “jammer” a player who laps the opposing team members for points. Teams must play offense and defense at the same time, preventing the other jammer from passing while giving their jammer a clear path. The sport has many theatrical elements, such as colorful uniforms, funny and unusual player nicknames, and some good ol’ physical altercations.
4. Air guitar
Originally created as a joke, the first Air Guitar Championships were hosted in 1996in Oulu, Finland. Competitors fly in from all around to compete in the prestigious competition. There are also championships hosted in other countries such as the United States and Canada.
Participants in the official games perform a one minute song of their choosing in the first round, and a surprise song chosen by the organizer in the second. A group of judges then rates the performance on its technical merit, mimemanship, stage presence, and “airness” (the “art” of the presentation). Since the first official games, many other competitions in different countries with differing rules have been created.
3. Ostrich Racing
If the rich snobbiness of horse racing is getting to you, try its redneck cousin, ostrich racing.The clumsy looking birds are actually capable of reaching speeds of up to 45 miles per hour. They’re certainly a forced to be reckoned with – jockeys are regularly thrown off the speeding birds mid-race. Protective gear is a requirement.
Every year in March, the Chandler Ostrich Festival is hosted in Chandler, Arizona. The festival attracts over 100,000 visitors. The festival is like an Ostrich-centered state fair, with rides, food (no Ostrich meat of course), and performances during the 3 day festival.
The Japanese sport of Bo-Taoshi is quite possibly the ultimate playground team sport. Bo-Tao, which translates to “bring the pole down”, roughly describes the object of the game. Two teams face of 75 people off in a weird blend of capture the flag and king of the hill – where the hill is made out of other people. The defending team holds a large pole and uses its members to keep the attackers from lowering it. The attacking team must use their numbers to knock over the pole to a perpendicular angle (previously only 45 degrees).
Bo-Taoshi is played every year by the Japanese Defense Academy on its anniversary. It was originally created by the Defense Academy of Japan for cadets as a teambuilding exercise. Without proper training, the sport can be dangerous. Participants must wear helmets and other protective gear.
If you’ve ever wondered how hamsters see the world from their hamster balls, Zorbing is for you. A Zorb is a particular brand of inflatable ball in which a human (or several) can fit inside. The ball has two sections, a small inner chamber for a person, and an outer chamber that holds air. The outer chamber makes the Zorb resistant to impact and bumpy terrain. This makes a Zorb a much safer choice when rolling down a hill or ramming into other Zorbers. Additionally, the buoyancy provided by the outer chamber allows users to use it on water.
Zorbing can be done in several ways. Users can use them as transport, roll down hills, or use smaller zorbs play human bumper cars. Some “extreme zorbing courses” have harnesses users are strapped into before rolling them down a steep hill. Zorbing courses are located all over the world in places like North America, Europe, Russia, and New Zealand (the Zorb’s country of origin).