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« Dead Air | Main | The Dude F***ing Abides »

Top Ten Obscure Sports in the World

Posted by Jellio on July 18, 2006.

Marbles.jpg

Hey, was there a big soccer game or something, recently?

I don't know. I couldn't get into it...the whole World Cup thing. A guy totally trashing his career with a headbutt, and having fifty parody videos on YouTube...that I can get into, but the actual game puts me to sleep faster than a State of the Union address. And it's not like I'm not into sports. I watched the Wimbledon final that same day, watched the Mickelson meltdown at the Open, cheered for the Heat and yelled "who?" when the Knicks made their first round pick, and I'm counting the days until NFL pre-season. Still, it only takes ten minutes of soccer before I'm screaming "somebody fucking score" at the TV. Then again, about ten bajillion people think otherwise.

So this got me thinking...What other sports are there that thousands (maybe tens or hundreds of thousands) of people follow, that I'm basically unaware of? We all know the networks are thinking the same thing. As more channels pop up, and the target audiences get more segmented, programmers turn to more obscure events that have built-in followings. ABC's doing it with the the National Spelling Bee, proving you're never too young to be exploited. ESPN's bettting on dominoes for the Latin audience, and was that juggling I caught on ESPN2 last weekend? (That one actually drove me outdoors) So I wondered, what other sports are there that I don't know about but could possibly bet on because I have I have a bit of a problem? Let's take a look...

10) World Highland games
CaberTossing.jpg
These are the festivals held in Scotland that celebrate Celtic culture. Events like the Sheaf toss where you throw a bundle of straw, the stone put where you throw a rock, and the caber toss where you throw a tree. I think landscaping was evented here. Just a guess, but I think sometime in the 70's human growth hormone was thrown into the mix, and the World Strongest Man competition was invented. The tree thing isn't too suggestive, is it? Reminds me of my summers at camp thumping eagle.(Hi Mr. Oglethorpe)


9) Professional Putt-Putt Tour
PuttPutt.jpg
The players would probably frown on my calling it putt-putt. They call it the Professional Putter's Association. Kinda like asking a girl if she wants to go for a ride on your hog, and pointing to a moped. Then again, the site says they're playing for thousands of dollars, so maybe I should shut the fuck up and start walking toward the windmill. You think putters' wives are as hot a golfers' wives?


8) Surf Lifesaving
Surf.jpg
Combining the grace and beauty of watersports with the thrill of cardiac arrest. Two things I can tell about Surf Lifesaving from the entire fifteen minutes of research I've dedicated to the subject. It appears to be big in Australia, and you have to be really good-looking to participate. But wasn't it a hottie that drove me to walk into the water in the first place? They say 2007 is the year of the surf lifesaver. If it gets any hotter Ohio can have it's own team.


7) American Cribbage Congress
Cribbage.jpg
Looks like Congress, don't it?

The American Cribbage Congress takes the meaning of the word athlete, and stretches it so out of context it's own etymological mother wouldn't recognize it. Lightning-quick reflexes, Lavish tounament prizes provided by the fine folks at Hickory Farms, gaming halls thick with the smell of Vicks vap-o-rub, and still this is ten times as much action as you'll find in my apartment on any given weekend. The final person to peg out gets worldwide recognition and a year's supply of beta blockers to ensure constant blood flow. Good luck players!


6) Dog Sledding, Dog Racing and Dog Tossing
DoggieToss.jpg
So here's how this happened. I found an image of an Antactic cribbage club (seriously) while doing the cribbage research. That reminded me of dog sledding. But then I thought, what about dog racing (a sport I have actually witnessed in person on several occasions...see previous gambling problem comment). Then just for the fuck of it, I googled "dog tossing", and found this photo. So basically, #5 is all dog-related sporting activities. And what did we learn in the process...the Internet is a wondrous and magical thing.


We interrupt this list to pay tribute to the newest obscure sport on the scene, combining tense competition, excessive drinking and the carny's sense of sports ethics...BrewSkee-Ball.

skeeball1.jpgSkeeball2.jpgskeeball3.jpg


5) World Footbag Association
Hackysack.jpg
Man, hackeysack's changed since I played. What's with the net? And where's the keg? Now it's called the World Footbag Association, and it doesn't seem to be affiliated with the Grateful Dead or Bob Marley. According to the site, there are over 80,000 registered players, and 20 - 30 major tournaments around the world. But I'll bet they don't even have tobacco sponsors. No one's got any sense of tradition anymore.


4) Rock Paper Scissors League
RockPaper.jpg
This is a sport started on a dare...right? The U. S. Association of Rock Paper Scissors. That's right, I said U.S. Association...damn proud. And of course, the lovely girls of the RPS. What do you think? Which network's gonna snatch this one up? Spike? GSN? Oxygen? You know if it's big, Oprah's gonna get a taste...stay tuned.


3) World Adult Kickball Association
kickball.jpg
Isaac Newton discovered three laws of motion. 1) For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. 2) Objects in motion remain in motion unless external force is applied. And 3) If the object in motion is a kickball, and you are the external force kicking it, the amount of sex enjoyed by the external force will diminish in proportion to the amount of games played...it's science, look it up. This is a sport begging for Johnny Walker or Baccardi to take it to another level, but I definitely don't see the x-games calling. Look at him ladies...like a gazelle.


2) Unicycle Hockey World Championships
Unicycle.jpg
I think there's also a mime's bowling tour, but I need to do some more research. I shouldn't judge. What else are you gonna do with your unicycle that doesn't involve getting beaten up? And they've definitely got the balance thing down. Good for quick exits when you tell people you're in a unicycle hockey league and you need to chase after your self-esteem. This would've been #1 until I found out about...


1) The Extreme Ironing World Championships
ironing.jpg
For those times when she orders you to get the ironing done, but if you stay in the house any longer you may take a bath with the toaster...welcome to Extreme Ironing.

You see what marriage does to perfectly normal guys? There are like, ALOT of sites dedicated to this, um sport. It's got a wikipedia page. It's got it's own bureau (to put the ironed shirts in, no doubt) According to the official website, it's the latest danger sport that combines the thrills of an extreme outdoor activity with the satisfaction of a well pressed shirt...and the world is officially out of things to do.

There you have it. Extreme Ironing...the most obscure sport in the world. And if the extreme home makeover thing doesn't pan out for ABC, look for it as a lead-in to Desperate Housewives in the fall.

If you enjoyed this story, read more like it in our Top Ten Lists section.

Reader Comments

Yea why is it that ESPN is covering a spelling bee and a hotdog eating contest and not the tour de france?

Posted by tommy.

In a little town known as Bellingham, WA. They've got a sport called underwater hockey. When I first heard about it I thought it was a joke, sure enough they play hockey underwater.

Posted by brandon.

there is also underwater hockey. weird stuff.
https://netfiles.uiuc.edu/ro/www/UnderwaterHockey/

Posted by t.

Well, with ESPN showing DOMINO tournaments now (yes, dominoes), these can't be too far behind. First it was synchronized swimming, now all this.

Posted by Abe.

Buzkashi. Yes, buzkashi. Google it. You know you want to. It's the national sport of Afghanistan. Think polo, except with a headless calf carcass. "The rider (or team) who is able to pitch a dead calf across a goal line first wins. The game may last as long as a week and is as free-wheeling as the Afghan spirit." I'm telling you, it's just a matter of time before people are lining up to get their tickets for the U. S. Professional Buzkashi League. Buzkashi fever, baby!

Posted by Greg.

Dude, your rendition of Issac Newton's laws of motion was absofuckenlutely hilarious.

This may not be as pathetic as buzkashi, but professional whistling is really lame, really obscure.

www.whistling.com/results.html

Posted by Manbearpig.

I'd go as far as to say that, in my opinion, that was the best piece you've ever written. Just hilarious.

Posted by Scaramouch.

what ever happened to bowling on espn

Posted by cj.

I'm quitting my job and leaving my family to become a professional BrewSki-Baller. Thanks for changing my life, Jellio!

Posted by TheMuggler.

Also, I'd love to know how you found Extreme Ironing. Brilliant!

Posted by TheMuggler.

This is AWESOME! I run Fringe Sports Central - home to overanalysis of the random, obscure and unknown in sports - and this list is the most beautiful thing I've ever seen. Some of these have been on my list of things to cover for a while, some are brand new and one of them was an idea I thought would make me rich in high school (BrewSki-Ball). Great job! If you get a chance, check out the site - http://www.fringesportscentral.blogspot.com

Posted by Fringe Sports Central.

What? No korfball?!

Posted by Roscoe Bojangles.

i thnk this should qualify as an obscure sport..http://www.prostaredown.com/index.html

Posted by anonymous.

Two words: Pumpkin Chunkin'www.punkinchunkin.com

Posted by SoulBee.

In a small fishing town in Australia called Port Lincon they play Tuna Tossing... Like the hammer throw in the olympics but with a whole tuna that they'd otherwise export to Japan for $50,000 each.

Posted by Wilbur.

Don't forget the exciting sport of finger jousting and its global governing body, the World Finger Jousting Federation. You can find it at www.fingerjoust.com.

Posted by Julian Gluck.

Fun piece.
I'm a very keen Unicycle Hockey player. In South Africa we refer to the sport as UniHoki, based on the MTV-inspired belief that nothing can become hip unless it's misspelt.

While UniHoki hipness might still be a geographical age or two away, Olympic inclusion might be closer.
Watch several spaces.

My favourite description of the sport is courtesy of the Lunis (London Unicycle Club) who described it as 'good fun, a great workout and not entirely serious.'

Gotta have a sense of humour about yourself on this planet.

There's also Unicycle Basketball (particular fun to play against the wheelchair guys - they are viscious!) and two that I suspect will really float your boat (www.boatfloater.com??), Unicycle Jousting and Unicycle Sumo.

Keep up the nobutyesbutno'ing.

Posted by Dave.

what about over the line?
http://www.ombac.org/over_the_line/

Posted by brian.

what... no mention of donkey basketball???

Posted by nonya business.

bbc ran a story yesterday about bog-snorkeling.

Posted by mary.

I was upset not to see "Chess-Boxing" make the list...honestly, what's more extreme than jacking your opponent in the face, then check-mating him 30 seconds later??

Posted by Steve-O.

There were 48 teams from 17 countries at the World Underwater Hockey Championships in Sheffield England.
Check it out at:
http://www.uwhworlds2006.net/
For a small fee you can watch replays of the games on:
www.247.tv

I kid you not!

Posted by JJ.