“The thrill of victory. The agony of defeat.” Those are the words that launched ABC’s “Wide World of Sports.” Every week we were taken on a whirlwind tour around the globe for some of the most exciting sporting events put forth at the time. Whether it was horse racing, soccer, diving or ski jumping ABC Sports was there. Like most great television shows, the “Wide World of Sports” was eventually canceled, and we needed to get our sports fix elsewhere. Sure, there will always be the Super Bowl and March Madness but what about the more bizarre kind of games around the world? How will we find those? Things like competitive eating. Yes, that is a sanctioned sporting event, but it doesn’t even come close to some of the other bizarre sporting events. I’m happy to present the top five most bizarre sporting events ever.
According to the Chess Boxing Organization, this unique sport “combines the #1 thinking sport and the #1 fighting sport into a hybrid that demands the most of its competitors both mentally and physically.” Pugilists square off in a traditional boxing ring but then alternate rounds with bouts of speed chess. You can win by scoring a knockout or a checkmate. The rules are very specific about stalemates. If that happens on the chess side, then the higher boxing score wins. If it happens on the fighting side, then the player with the black pieces wins. That is determined by a toss of a coin at the opening. So much for thinking boxers get their brains scrambled.
Did you hear the one about the guy going to a prizefight and a hockey game broke out? No? How about the one where the guy went for a swim, and a hockey game broke out? That is a real thing. Underwater hockey plays are the same rules as ice rink hockey, but it’s in a pool. The big difference is there is no body contact, and you push the puck around with a little stick that looks like a banana. The Underwater Society of America sanctions the official games, but there is nothing stopping you from getting a pick-up game going in your pool. Fun for the players, not so much fun for the spectators who can only see bubbles and ripples in the water.
YouTube and Tumblr are chock full of videos, pictures, and memes of dogs dancing. If only those folks knew about the official dog dancing event. That would be K9 Musical Freestyle sponsored by the WCFO or the World Canine Freestyle Organization. The rules are simple. Get a dog. Pick a song. Dance together. Of course, you get points for finesse, style, choreography and all the rest but it really does come down to dancing with your dog. Unlike the stuffy Westminster Dog Show, your dancing pooch doesn’t have to be a purebred. Time to get the tap shoes on Fido!
The legend goes that during the 1996 Summer Olympics, some pundit quipped that since the games were being held in Atlanta that it would be “run by a bunch of rednecks.” A local radio DJ took umbrage and decided to hold the Redneck Games. What started out as a silly party turned into a real thing that has grown in size each year. The Redneck Games also raise money for the Make A Wish Foundation. If you think you’ve got what it takes, then head down to Georgia this summer. You’ll have to sharpen your skills in events like bobbing for pig’s trotters, seed spitting, toilet seat throwing and everyone’s favorite the mud pit belly flop. Talk about the agony of defeat.
If you never heard of Quidditch, then you’re really showing your muggle side. This is the sport made famous in the Harry Potter books and movies. Although in the original version you needed flying broomstick to play, the “grounded” version allows for players to stay on their feet. Part soccer. Part rugby. Part filed hockey. This is one sport that takes some serious skill and magic.
Maybe you have an original game to add to the list.