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Top 5 strange sports

They see me cheese rollin’, they hatin’… tryin’ to catch me rollin’ dirty/ Michael Warren
They see me cheese rollin’, they hatin’… tryin’ to catch me rollin’ dirty/ Michael Warren

You won’t find the Cougars playing any of these soon, but we can only hope.

The world is full of strange stuff, strange bugs, strange plants, strange fish (seriously, there are some really messed up fish), but we often forget that we as humans come up with some strange stuff, too. With our love of sport, we can sometimes get a tad bored with the usual fare. Football and hockey are nice and all, but where is something new? Well, I am here to enlighten you all. Here is a list of five strange sports.

 

  1. Muggle Quidditch

Alright, this one most people have heard of but it is still a sight to be seen. Muggle quidditch is based on a sport invented within the Harry Potter film and book series written by J.K. Rowling. In the books, young witches and wizards fly around on broomsticks throwing quaffles through rings, smashing bludgers into the opposing team and, hopefully, catching the golden snitch to automatically end the game.

As you may have noticed, we currently don’t have flying broomsticks, so some dedicated HP fans created a more non-magic friendly version of the game. The quaffle is just a deflated volleyball, thrown through the rings; the bludger, a deflated dodgeball thrown to stop the progress of people in possession of a quaffle, and the Snitch is just a person in yellow shorts with a tennis ball in a sock, taped to them like a tail. The game is ended once one team’s seeker catches the snitch. Muggle quidditch also has a strict ruling that no more than four of the seven people on the field at any time can identify as the same gender, thusly creating a truly inclusive co-ed environment that is also friendly to all of you folks who don’t identify with the gender binary. Regina even has its own Quidditch Club, which you can find on Facebook.

 

  1. Speed Stacking

This sport has become incredibly popular worldwide since it’s inception in 1981. The object of the game is to stack specialized plastic cups in a particular order, typically a pyramid, and then to deconstruct it as fast as you possibly can. Competitive speed stacking is typically geared towards those under 18, but that doesn’t mean that you should deprive yourself if you have a really strong desire to stack cups. Many scientific studies have been done on speed stacking to measure its effect on children, and most of these studies came to find that speed stacking was increasing hand-eye coordination, cooperation, ambidexterity, and in one study, even reading comprehension in those who participated.

The world record holder for fastest 3-3-3 pyramid is William Orrell who was able to build and deconstruct a nine cup-high pyramid in only 1.363 seconds. Is there a university that offers cup-stacking scholarships? [Editor’s Note: No, but I hear that the U of R is close]

 

  1. Cheese Rolling

What pairs really well with a nine-pound wheel of double Gloucester cheese? Why, going up to 70mph down a hill of course! A Zinfandel wine isn’t a bad choice either. Every year on Cooper’s Hill near Gloucester, England, people from around the world gather to chase a cheese wheel down a hill. No, seriously. That’s it. Be the first down the hill and you win the cheese. Cheese rolling’s origins came from a local festival that still had the same fundamental object of “chase cheese to win cheese.”

It is unclear as to the exact start date of the local tradition, but in more recent years, it has expanded to become a tourist attraction, and even has American and Japanese champions. There is a long-held pre- and post-event ritual of going to a local bar and drinking up courage/drinking away injuries, as well as discussions of tactics.

The event, while no longer fully “official” due to the large number of injuries sustained every single year, has proceeded without any management and through the donation of the local St. John’s Ambulance chapter’s time to attend to any injuries suffered from careening down 200 yards of hill, or spectators being struck by the cheese itself. In my humble opinion, any sport where the grand prize is cheese holds a place near and dear to my heart.

 

  1. Underwater Hockey

Alright, scenario: It is a blistering July day here in Saskatchewan. It is right in the midst of summer but you still can’t shake that hockey feeling. No NHL games on TV, the ice rink is overrated, and you have all of these snorkels and flippers just lying around. The obvious conclusion is underwater hockey! The game is played in a similar fashion to regular hockey, just under water. Two teams of six compete to push the puck into the opposing team’s goal. The puck, typically made of lead, sits at the bottom of the pool and can be lofted and passed to teammates. The sticks or “pushers” are short, often no longer than 35cm.

Unfortunately, for very obvious reasons, underwater hockey is not a very accommodating spectator sport. This sport was originally devised as a way to keep professional and competitive swimmers active during the offseason. This sport is played all over the planet, with an international competition being held in Canada in the 1980s.

 

  1. Chess Boxing

This one actually makes me really intrigued. Chess boxing is as simple as it sounds, eleven rounds, alternating between six of boxing, five of chess, three minutes for each round. Chess and boxing are my two favorite sports on opposite ends of the spectrum, so them combined just makes watching matches easier. The game has five potential ways to end: KO, TKO, checkmate, exceeding the time limit, or resignation. This sport is also interesting because it forces competitors to switch almost instantly from a physical bout to a mental bout. Chess boxing is also relatively new, having only gone international in 2013.

It is garnering enough appeal that even a few professional boxers have tried their hand at the newly emerging sport. It takes a pretty specific skill set to be able to play a full game of chess after your head has just been beaten in.

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