In the United States, there are basically four major sports; baseball, football, hockey, and basketball. Amazingly, these four sports are not the only ones that exist in the world. Examples of other sports you may have heard of include soccer, snowboarding, ice skating, water polo, and surfing. What about more obscure sports, though? Have you ever heard of Olympic Handball? It’s included on this list and you won’t want to miss it!
Camel Racing Is Like Racing Horses… But With Camels
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Yes, there is a sport all about racing camels. As crazy as it sounds, the sport is not dissimilar to horse racing.The popular Arabian sport used to feature young children as jockeys racing camels as far as eight kilometers (five miles). Labor and safety concerns have shifted the sport into a more futuristic territory, with small robots riding atop each camel. That all sounds pretty exciting to us! Maybe horse racing should take note, after all, it doesn’t take much to knock a jockey off and seriously injure them. Then again, maybe robots riding camels is an unhealthy step towards Skynet taking over.
Don’t worry, this next sport won’t cause nearly the same controversy.
Chess Boxing Is A Cross Between Exactly What You Think It Is
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While not as controversial as camel racing, chess boxing is just as weird and confusing. The premise is simple enough, two competitors play chess until the match is interrupted for a more physical bout. At this point, both opponents take to the ring and try and knock the snot out of each other. Once the round is over, they go back to trying to destroy each other mentally. A winner is declared after one of four outcomes; knockout, judge’s decision, checkmate, or time expires. Each player is given nine minutes per chess game. If one thing is certain about chess boxing, there are no pace of play problems with this sport!
Aquathlon Is Fancy Speak For Underwater Wrestling
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Not surprisingly, this next sport started in the USSR and is just as ridiculous as the moniker “aquathlon” would imply. There are no bears involved, just two adults in goggles, flippers, ribbons, and ankle bands. Each round lasts 30 seconds and action can happen both under water and at the surface. The goal for each wrestler is to steal their opponent’s ribbon. Beyond belief, this sport was invented around 1980, but was not recognized as a sport by the World Underwater Federation until 2008!
Our next sport was invented in 2002, was nationally televised in 2007, AND involves trampolines!
Slamball Was Supposed To Be The Next NBA
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Okay, maybe the title is misleading, but slamball might be the most exciting variation on a nationally beloved sport on this list. The premise is a four-on-four game of basketball that takes place on a court with trampolines. Yep, instead of a traditional key, the lower part of the court is covered in trampolines. Scoring is different as a result, with slam dunks counting for three points instead of two.
After being founded in 2002, the sport gained enough traction and received national television coverage for tournaments a mere five years later. Unfortunately, interest didn’t last as the NBA was just too big of a beast for this small independent league to compete with. Slamball still exists, just not with the audience size it deserves.
Handball Is Not The P.E. Game You Remember
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One of the joys of watching the Olympics every four years is the forced exposure to some sports that seem ridiculous to the normal person. Take, for instance, handball, the game we all remember playing on the blacktop at school growing up.
The big difference is Olympic Handball is played on a court with two teams and a goal, not against friends slapping a ball against a wall until someone misses. Modern indoor handball was introduced as an Olympic sport in 1976 and has been featured every tournament since. Unfortunately, the United States has never placed in this sport, which has historically been dominated by Europe.
Cheese Rolling. Yes, Cheese Rolling
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Invented in the 1800s, cheese rolling is exactly what it sounds like. People roll a giant wheel of cheese down a hill and chase after it. Whoever catches the cheese first wins the race. Seriously, this is a sport that exists. This is a sport that has existed for a long time. It is also a surprisingly dangerous sport. In a competition in 2009, 18 people were injured chasing cheese down a hill. The country that was crazy enough to start cheese rolling? England, of course. Just goes to show, some people will do anything for good dairy! Perhaps it will come to Wisconsin next.
Our next sport doesn’t involve cheese, but it does smell quite a bit…
Toe Wrestling Is Basically Extreme Thumb Wars
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Do you remember playing thumb wars with friends in elementary school? Well, prepare to get excited as an adult, because an extreme version called toe wrestling exists! The sport goes like this; two same-sex competitors have their toes inspected for… reasons. They then lock their big toes and wrestle to pin their opponent’s foot down. Whoever accomplishes this wins all of the glory and bragging rights. Rumor has is this sport was invented by a bored pub owner in the U.K. who was looking for something interesting for athletes to do than thumb wrestling. All we know is it really brings new meaning to the term “athletes foot!”
Underwater Hockey Is The Version Of Hockey You Didn’t Know You Needed
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Hockey is great. It’s one of the most physical, fast-paced, and exciting sports there is. Putting the sport when placed funderwater makes the competition even more interesting. Originally invented in the 1950’s to help keep NAVY divers fit, the sport quickly exploded to over 20 territories around the world. The premise is the same as hockey, players try to hit a puck into their opponents net. The big differences are each team consists of six starting players and four substitutes. And the sticks are much shorter. And it’s underwater.
If underwater hockey is the sport you didn’t know you needed, our next sport is one you didn’t know you could do with your friends and neighbors!
Lawnmower Racing Is The Best Backyard BBQ Sport
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Lawnmower racing is about as patriotic as middle America can get, except for the fact that it was started in the UK in 1973. It sure feels American though. The first organized lawnmower race took place in the United States in 1963, 10 years before the official racing organization was formed across the pond. Since that time, lawnmower racing has become a 4th of July tradition. The fastest man on a lawnmower is Bob Cleveland. His modified machine can reach speeds of 80 miles per hour. Luckily for anyone who gets in his way the lawnmower clippers are removed from the mower for safety reasons.
Korfball Is Fun For Everyone
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Korfball, as strange as the name is, is a basketball-inspired sport that features teams with an even number of men and woman. The spine of basketball exists, but the basics are skewed. For example, the hoop is higher than a basketball hoop and has no backboard. Each team also consists of eight players on the court, four men, and four women. The sport originated in the Netherlands in 1902 and currently has over 100,000 players in Europe. These athletes are governed by an official korfball organization with regionally affiliated associations.
The only thing korfball is missing is dogs, something our next sport has plenty of.
Dog Surfing Proves That Dogs Really Can Do Anything
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People might claim the internet was invented for cat videos, but really it was invented for videos of dog surfing. This totally and legitimately real sport started in the 1920’s and has dogs compete with each other riding the waves. Dogs can be trained on a surfboard, bodyboard, skimboard, or without a board. The most notable competition is the “Surf City Surf Dog Competition” in Huntington Beach, California. This annual tradition started in 2009 and has brought spectators endless happiness since its glorious inception. It has also given the internet some of the best videos it could have ever asked for.
Dodsing Is The Ultimate Form Of Competitive Belly Flopping
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One of the most painful experiences a person can have is messing up their dive in the backyard and hitting the surface of the water belly first. It stings worse than a bee! For some reason, Norway has turned this painful activity into a competitive sport called dodsing. The goal is for each jumper to stay completely flat for as long as possible.The big finish has them curling their bodies at the last second to prevent injury. After all, it’s all fun and games until you curl up too late! The jumper who stays perfectly flat the longest gets the highest score from the judges and wins.
Ostrich Racing Puts Horse Racing To Shame
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This list may have started with camel racing, but ostrich racing is the true star! Did you know that Ostriches can reach speeds of 43 miles per hour and cover over 16 feet in one stride? Making this sport even more extreme than its camel counterpart is that jockeys are not replaced by robots. Each ostrich is ridden by a jockey, who faces serious injury if the slightest thing goes wrong and they fall off or get trampled. The sport started in Africa and quickly spread across the globe. One of the biggest annual races in the world takes place in Arizona as part of the Annual Chandler Chamber Festival.
Bossaball Is The Final Evolution Of Volleyball
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Bossaball is a beach sport that was invented in 2003 by Felip Eyckmans. The Belgian born athlete decided to turn volleyball into an extreme four-on-four sport that would take place on an inflatable court with a trampoline on each side of the net. This allows for higher and faster spikes and some breathtaking acrobatics. Each team is allowed five volleys before the ball must be sent back to the other side. Bossaball, while not as popular as volleyball, has a large following and has spread worldwide, with competitions happening anywhere there is a sandy and sunny beach available and waiting for a good time.
Sepak Takraw Is Volleyball For Your Feet
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Sepak Takraw was invented somewhere in Southeast Asia, with a number of countries claiming it as their own. The concept is simple, the game is volleyball, only instead of using their hands to pass and volley, athletes must use their feet. Teams are divided by a net on a court the size of a badminton court. Each team has three players and three touches before the ball must be kicked back over the net. The sport has advanced to a point where the ball is made synthetically, making it safer than the original ball made of rattan.
Our next sport is also an adaptation, but probably not the kind you’re thinking would exist.
Quidditch Isn’t As Magical As It Sounds
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Pretty much everone knows Quidditch from the mind of J.K. Rowling, the creator of the Harry Potter franchise. It didn’t take long for Quidditch, the sport where wizards fly around on broomsticks, trying to score goals, and capture the golden snitch, to become a reality. In the real world version of Quidditch, athletes compete on the ground, the sport is timed, and there is sadly no golden snitch. Players do run around with broomsticks under their legs for sport identification purposes. Since its real-world inception, Quidditch has become increasingly popular, with a competitive college league even being formed and scholarships being handed out (assumably).
Wife Carrying Is About As Crazy As It Sounds
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Wife Carrying is a sport based on old tales of famous robber Herkko Rosvo-Ronkainen stealing men’s wives and carrying them away while running. As crazy as it sounds, the sport is incredibly popular and major competitions have existed since 1992. The best country is Finland, who won seven straight gold medals from 2009 to 2015. Currently, there is not a husband carrying competition, although it would be a welcome change of pace. It would also go a long way to finally prove the old saying that “all is fair in love and war.”
If you think wife carrying crazy sounds crazy, you won’t believe what elephants are doing in our next sport!
Elephant Polo Takes The Sport To New Heights
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Elephant polo is the exact same sport as regular polo but while riding elephants. For those who don’t know, polo is a game where players ride horses, trying to knock balls through goals by hitting them with mallets. In elephant polo, the sticks are longer but the game is played with the same rules as traditional polo. A governing body for the sport, the World Elephant Polo Association, was formed in 1982. While impossible to play in the United States because of regulations, elephant polo is popular in Asia, particularly Nepal, India, and Thailand. Luckily for the states, ostrich and camel racing both exist.
Next up on our list is another kind of ridiculous racing we haven’t touched yet.
Bed Racing Is Not Full Of Rest And Relaxation
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The first bed race took place in the UK in Knaresborough during the 1960’s. The current form of the sport still follows the original path of the race. The annual event consists of two parts; a beauty pageant and a race. The pageant sees competitors judged on how they’ve adorned their racing beds. The actual race is 2.4 miles long and ends with a 20-yard swim through ice water. The best teams can complete the race in under 14 minutes. Perhaps most impressive, the race has never been canceled for a racer sleeping through their alarm!
Our next final sport is one you definitely will want to watch and stare at in horror!
Street Luge Brings The Boys Back To The Hood
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Street luge is as every bit as awesome as you can imagine. Unlike the traditional luge you watch during the Winter Olympics on downhill racetracks made of ice, street luge takes place on blacktop with racers laying on their backs on top of a board going at perilous speeds downhill. And when we say perilous, we do mean perilous! Some courses see racers reach speeds of 62 miles per hour, just under the speed limit on most American freeways. Unlike most sports on our list, there is no origin known for street luge but it’s fast, dangerous, and addictively fun to watch.