Obscure sports during hiatus

What to do when there are no sports on TV? Be a kid and make one up and have it blow up



Madeline Phelps, Arts Section Editor

During this time, traditional sports are on a bit of a hiatus and cannot be enjoyed to their full capacity. Because they are not a global necessity but a form of recreation, they have been temporarily pushed to the wayside as the world focuses on more important things. For sports as popular as basketball, football, and baseball, these circumstances are unusual, but for plenty of other sports, this global sense of ignorance is all too common. Beneath the surface of mainstream athleticism lies a world of obscure sports that receive little to no recognition simply because they sound too outlandish to be taken seriously. I think it’s time to take a closer look at the world of obscure sports and finally give them the attention they deserve. 

Zorbing – Zorbing is a severely underrated sport of grace and complexity. It consists of running around like a hamster inside of a plastic orb over varied terrain and…Well, that’s really all there is to it. If you’ve ever wanted to hop inside of a plastic ball and roll down a hill into an utter state of delirium, this is the sport for you. Competitive races over flat terrain, down slopes, and on water are popular variations of zorbing and are a year-round phenomenon in the sport’s country of origin, New Zealand. Despite being relatively difficult to find in the US, there are many locations dedicated to zorbing where competitors and casual participants are given free reign to roll around and make themselves feel nauseous for as long as they please (at a reasonable price, of course). Hopefully it’s only a matter of time before zorbing becomes the world-renowned sport it was always destined to be. 

Underwater Hockey – Underwater hockey is a self-explanatory sport enjoyed only by those with inhuman lung capacity. During a game, members of two opposing teams attempt to hit an underwater puck with a modified hockey stick into the goal zones of the opposite team. Underwater hockey rarely takes place in shallow water and, therefore, participants need to be able to hold their breath for extended periods of time in order to swim to the bottom of the pool, make various maneuvers, ensure that the opposite team does not counteract the maneuvers, and return to the surface to grab a breath before starting the process all over again. Just writing about this sport is making me feel lightheaded, so I think it’s best that we move on. 

Chess Boxing – Ah, yes. Chess boxingthe ketchup and ice cream combination of the sports world. Whoever chose to combine the strategic and contemplative nature of chess with the fast-paced action of boxing was probably guilty of pouring orange juice over their cereal, and I’m honestly quite surprised that this sport continues to be something of an underground phenomenon to this day. You’d expect it to only last as a punch line, or perhaps the element of a parody, yet it still attracts many serious participants. A match usually consists of six rounds of chess and five rounds of boxing that alternate with one another. Checkmates and knockouts both serve as victories, though, with the amount of serious head bashing going on between the timed rounds of chess, I can’t imagine that checkmates are a very common occurrence. 

Giant Pumpkin Kayaking – Do you ever find yourself unsure of what to do with that giant, recently hollowed-out pumpkin you have lying around? Well, today’s your lucky day! All you need is a couple of paddles, some glitzy decorations, and transportation to your nearest Giant Pumpkin Kayak Regatta and you’re ready to go! Finally, you’ll be able to participate in a sport that doesn’t require any professional-grade equipment or experience. If your pumpkin kayak holds up successfully during the race, and you’re able to secure a victory, rest assured that you will be recognized for your heroism and respected by all! Just let everyone around you know that you’re a Giant Pumpkin Kayaking Champion, and I can guarantee that your talents will be respected and you’ll go far in life. 

Mountain Unicycling – As if mountain biking wasn’t fear-inducing enough with its narrow paths, ridiculous slopes, and ungodly rocky terrain, mountain unicycling has managed to surpass universal expectations by, through its existence alone, being infinitely more horrific than its two-wheeled cousin. Just imagine what riding around on mountain slopes would feel like if you had nothing to hold onto, no reasonable breaking method, and no way to change your direction except through precise balance and timing. The less this nightmare of a sport is acknowledged, the better. 

Extreme Ironing – Extreme ironing combines the joys of the outdoors and physical activities with the delightful pastime of running a steaming, hissing iron over clothing items that look less like garments and more like slabs of magnified elephant skin. When these two amazing worlds collide, anything is possible. In all seriousness, however, extreme ironing is a highly underrated sport in which participants iron clothing in any place and under any circumstances possible. For instance, if you’ve ever wanted to get your ironing done while skydiving (and yes, people have done this before), then extreme ironing is for you. Anything goes as long as it’s unconventional, nonsensical, and at least a little bit dangerous. Ironing on steep mountain tops? Absolutely. Pressing your clothes at considerable ocean depths while surrounded by potentially dangerous sea life? Heck yes! Completing your wrinkle exterminating chore while being secured upright on top of a rapidly moving vehicle on a desolate desert road as the sun sets? Every extreme ironer’s dream! This obscure sport is undoubtedly multitasking at its very finest.