BestXI: ‘Wife Carrying’, 'Ferret-Legging' - some of the most bizarre sports of all time

By July 10, 2020

With sports all over the world coming back, and some are already in full flow, it was interesting to look back at what people used to entertain themselves throughout the lockdown period.

Sports like marble racing garnered unprecedented attention during COVID-19’s lockdown of sports.

But even before that, people found ways outside of traditional sports to enjoy themselves and some of them are, to put it mildly, quite strange.

We thought we would just introduce you to some of the more strange of these sports. Enjoy!

 

Underwater Hockey

This sport is not big on spectators and you can probably guess why. The field or rink is underwater, so nobody save for those with underwater cameras can see what the hell is going on. However, the rules seem to be similar to ice or field hockey. Two teams of six go at it against each other, using a stick to hit a puck into a goal. The game originated in England and is many times called Octopush and has a world governing body, Confédération Mondiale des Activités Subaquatiques, complete with a World Championship.  

 

Bossaball

Bossaball was started in Spain by Belgian Filip Eyckmans in 2005. The game combines volleyball, football, gymnastics and music. Played on an inflatable court, there is a trampoline on each side of a net that allows players to bounce and score through spiking as they would in volleyball. The game is played between two teams of four players. One player stays on the trampoline, with the others on the remainder of the inflatable. After a serve, each team is allowed five attempts at getting the ball back over the net. Any body part may be used and a player is allowed to take two touches if he or she does not use his hands or arms.

 

Wife carrying

This sport was created in Finland with the objective simply being for a man to carry a female partner through an obstacle course, with the fastest time declared the winner. Interestingly there are a number of ways to carry like the classic piggyback, or the fireman’s carry (over the shoulder), or the Estonian-style. The Estonian-style is the most visually interesting of the bunch as the ‘wife’ is upside-down on the ‘husband’s’ back with her legs wrapped around the neck and shoulders. The Wife Carrying World Championships are held every year in Finland with the prize is the wife’s weight in beer.

 

Rock Paper Scissors League

In the United States, the classic game of Rock, paper, scissors has taken on professional proportions, with the founding of the Rock Paper Scissors League. A national championship was televised in 2006 and 2007, but playing the game at that level has not caught on even though there has been no word that the league’s commissioner, Matti Leshem, has given up on the idea.

 

Dog surfing

Dogs surfing have made for famous pictures the world over, but who knew it was a full-on sport. Judges look at a dog’s overall certainty on the board, the size of the wave, and the ride length. The largest dog surfing competition is the Loews Coronado Bay Resort Surf Dog Competition held at Imperial Beach in California.

 

Unicycle hockey

Horses can be expensive to maintain, making the sport of polo a little prohibitive for some. Enter the unicycle. Riding unicycles has always been novel but a very isolationist type of endeavour. Enter hockey. Now you have a team endeavour, bringing the lonely unicyclist, a shared goal with others. The International Unicycling Federation governs the sport. Any stick which is legal for ice hockey, outside of the goalkeeper’s. The game is played five-per-side with unlimited substitutions. All positions are interchangeable, including that of the goalkeeper. Unlike ice hockey, the game is a non-contact sport.

   

Caber Toss

This sport involves the tossing of a large tapered pole called a Caber. It is a traditional Scottish sport and the caber is usually 19 feet 6 inches long. According to rumour, the sport developed out of the need for lumberjacks to transport logs by throwing them in streams. The scoring is fairly complex and would probably take up quite a bit of time, but even if you don’t understand all the rules, the spectacle of it is undeniable.

 

Chess Boxing

Chess boxing, as its name suggests, is a merger between the two combat sports. The combatants fight in alternate rounds of chess and boxing. It is interesting that you can either get checkmated or knocked out to lose.

The contest consists of 11 rounds. Six rounds are dedicated to chess and five to boxing, with a victory in either discipline ending the affair.

 

Cheese Rolling

Cheese Rolling, like Chess Boxing, is self-explanatory. A nine-pound round of double Gloucester cheese is rolled from the top of a hill and competitors chase after it. The first person across the finish line at the bottom is declared the winner and the cheese is his or her prize. The aim really is to catch the cheese but almost nobody can make up the ground between the one-second headstart the cheese gets and the manner in which it accelerates. The event has made Cooper’s Hill in Glouchester where it takes place, a world-famous tourist destination with visitors coming from everywhere to take part.

 

Blind Soccer

Football is the most popular sport in the world but was played, unfortunately, to the exclusion of the blind. That is not the case anymore as the Paralympic sport has found a way, using pebbles or marbles in the ball, to allow the blind to follow the ball. The only persons who are allowed to see, are the goalkeepers and so those who are legally blind but can see more than others, must wear a face mask. The sport is fast-paced and a really exciting thing to watch, with talented players all over.

 

Ferret-legging

Ferret-legging, for all intents, is a test of endurance - but it is strange. Participants wear pants and close off the legs before putting ferrets down each pant leg. Whoever can stand to keep the ferrets inside their pants for the longest wins. It is thought the sport had its origins in England where poachers would put the animals down their trousers to hide them because it was illegal for anybody, save the relatively wealthy, to keep ferrets. Fortunately or not, Ferret-legging is a dying sport.

Paul-Andre Walker

Paul-Andre is the Managing Editor at SportsMax.tv. He comes to the role with almost 20 years of experience as journalist. That experience includes all facets of media. He began as a sports Journalist in 2001, quickly moving into radio, where he was an editor before becoming a news editor and then an entertainment editor with one of the biggest media houses in the Caribbean.

Related items

  • Well played Windies - much love and respect Well played Windies - much love and respect

    I use my Sundays to look back at what has been happening in the world of sport. On many a Sunday, I realise that people have looked at the stories they've seen throughout the week with different lenses. I have my own personal take on some of these issues and I will share them with you. Welcome to #INCASEYOUMISSEDIT

     

    CPL 2020 – Age, just a number?

    India’s Pravin Tambe has been signed by the Trinbago Knight Riders, for the Caribbean Premier League 2020, set for August 18 to September 10. The leg-spinner will make his debut at the age of 48. Upon the announcement, there was major opposition, with some even questioning the direction of the CPL.

    In my opinion, age is just a number, and CPL is doing a great job at marketing the product by firstly stepping out of the age group commonly associated with the tournament, and secondly, signing the first Indian player. Bollywood actor Sharukh Khan co-owns the Knight Riders franchise, which started its journey in the Indian Premier League as Kolkata Knight Riders in 2008.  One must consider that the CPL wants to expand its market even more because of COVID-19 and its financial repercussions. Attracting a new audience by signing the first Indian player is a brilliant marketing decision.

    The signing of Tambe is a good move, as his expertise will also add to the Knight Riders unit. The wrist-spinner, who played just two first-class matches for his home team Mumbai in 2013-14, was sold to KKR in the IPL auction in December. He has a total of 67 wickets in 61 T20 matches, at an average of 22.82.

    The move by CPL to sign Tambe could encourage aging players to re-think their place in the shorter format of the game. Based on how he performs, this is shaping up to be a major turning point for older players in the CPL. Best of luck sir!

     

    Respect earned West Indies!

    It has been a while since I have felt this amount of confidence and excitement waking up at 5 am to watch the West Indies play cricket.  From this Test, what is certain is this group of players is on the right track and the positives outweigh the negatives. They have re-evoked confidence and hope in the fans. Congratulations on the four-wicket win earlier today! You have shown heart and hustle.

    Jason Holder’s maturity as a captain continues to exceed expectations. He has reiterated through his performances that he should not be underestimated - especially with his new career-best of 6 for 42. The skipper came into this series with an injury cloud over his head, having bowled only five overs across West Indies’ two intra-squad warm-up games, while nursing an ankle niggle. He admitted that he felt ‘a little sore, a little stiff,’ after play on the second day but had confidence in his team. He had no hesitation in answering, ‘discipline,’ when asked at the toss what he was looking for from his bowlers, and followed that message by his own example.

    Another glaring factor, in the team's enhanced performance, is there has been a lot of improvement from the youngsters. The unit is looking much more competitive than they have in previous years. Shane Dowrich is a good example of that improvement, having scored 61 off 115 balls in the first innings. Jermaine Blackwood and his well-played 95 from 154 balls ensured the Windies secured the win.

    Kraigg Brathwaite’s 65, his first half-century in international cricket since March, put his team in a commanding position. He set up a platform from which the middle order could build on the third morning.  While many would have lost faith in Brathwaite's ability during his barren run - his most recent half-century came some 729 days ago - his captain, Jason Holder, gave him full support and he has played a pivotal role in the player’s re-emergence.

    Shannon Gabriel has also been a standout performer, picking up a total of 9 wickets in the first Test, despite initial fitness concerns. He created an impact with the ball each time he bowled. These sentiments have been echoed by the Windies skipper who said, ‘he is a strike force for us, he is a weapon.  I think we were able to use him in short bursts where he can run in and express himself.  To me his consistency was good, and he looked good.’

     It is one thing to perform well at home, but the real test is away from familiar conditions. Especially coming off a long break due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  Whether we win, lose, or draw the series, this display of competitiveness has got the fans feeling hopeful and celebratory for the first in a long time. Thank you, Windies!

     

     Barca without Messi? What a joke!

    Initially, when I read that Lionel Messi was leaving Barcelona, I dismissed it as fake news. I am fully aware that the captain has recently been displaying a different demeanor than we are accustomed to, but this information did not sit well with me.

    Even after establishing himself as the best player in the world, Messi has always shunned the limelight. He has always been content with his records and to let his game do the talking for him, and it has spoken volumes. Things have changed, though, dramatically.

    Recently, Messi has felt compelled to make his voice heard.

    When sporting director Eric Abidal suggested that Barcelona's players were responsible for the dismissal of coach Ernesto Valverde, in January, Messi issued a sharp rebuke. When news broke the squad was reluctant to accept a coronavirus-related pay cut, the captain responded, highlighting the report was far from the truth. Although these are significant public statements from such a private person, I don’t see Messi ending his career at another club based on the legacy that he has built at Barca.

    What we do know is that Messi is immensely frustrated with how the club is presently being run. The suspension of talks over an extension is evidence of his dissatisfaction, and it is indeed an indirect warning to the club’s management that the way things are done needs to be rectified.

    There is a twist to the tale though. If anyone must go, it will not be Messi. It was previously thought that Bartomeu would see out the final year of his tenure no matter what, but Messi's refusal to sign a new contract has thrown the president's immediate future into doubt.

    Messi's refusal to commit himself to a new deal has now piled pressure on his boss and there is every chance that next year's elections could now be brought forward. In reality, it’s Bartomeu who's now facing an early exit.

     

     

     

     

  • Big-impact athletes not making a dent on climate change Big-impact athletes not making a dent on climate change

    The effects of climate change are staring athletes dead in the eye.

    The increased expenses of cooling Stadia around the world should be disturbing enough.

    It’s full time athletes advocate for the environment.

    Yes, climate change affects everybody.

    The thing is, I can list everyday people who try to spread knowledge about it. I remember reaching out to Suzanne Stanley, CEO of the Jamaica Environment Trust because I was curious.

    I wanted to know more about the environment and climate change and I wanted to share that knowledge with others. She answered all my questions.

    There aren’t many athletes who, with their millions of Instagram followers and big endorsement contracts who have taken similar steps. Maybe it isn’t their job, but it is their business.

    Sport contributes to climate change in more ways than we think. Researchers have even dubbed the industry’s impact on the environment, an ‘inconvenient truth’.

    Here’s one example. To fill a stadium ahead of an event, athletes, spectators and the media travel. This travel impacts the environment in major ways. Air travel, driving by bus, taxi, or personal vehicles add to the regular release of carbon dioxide into the air.

    Carbon dioxide traps heat— increasing the global temperature. As places get hotter, you may find just as sport impacted the environment, the environment will now begin to impact sport.

    At the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, water breaks became a regular part of the game. Interestingly, water breaks just to help footballers survive 90 minutes on the pitch are expected to be part of the sport for the foreseeable future. Will we wait until the medical requirements for playing a game of football become too prohibitive for the game to be played? Maybe that is too far down the road for some of us to look.

    Cutting down trees increases temperatures as well. We need trees because they absorb carbon dioxide. Less carbon dioxide, less trapping of heat, cooler temperatures.

    However, every few years, there are a number of cities and/or countries that bid on major international events like the World Cup or the Olympic Games. For a bid to be successful, that country or city has to prove it can provide the facilities to host those games.

    Yes, you guessed it, these stadia are going to be built at the expense of trees. Trees in the construction, as well as trees just to make space.

    Sports like car racing contribute to the carbon footprint. These athletes get paid to do a sport that glorifies the internal combustion engine. When income is involved (and lots of it) it’s easy to turn a blind eye.

    Formula One racing, for instance, is a billion-dollar-per-year business, climate change be damned.

    NASCAR is another racing entity that hovers around the billion-dollar mark as well, but the need for big engines and blinding speed will mean, unlike the circuit has done with the Black Lives Matters campaign, there won’t be too much change.

    Thank God for Formula E!

    What I’m saying is, we all have a part to play in spreading awareness about climate change. This includes how we contribute to it and ways to mitigate/adapt to it. But athletes are barely doing anything. Hardly ever utilizing their following.

    Why aren’t the voices from athletes posting information about climate change on social media platforms as big as the carbon footprint their sports leave?

    Let me make some suggestions that won’t hurt an athlete.

    There are fun and accurate infographics about climate change that are free to share. Infographics aren't overwhelming— this is good for short attention spans. They give relevant information quickly and clearly. The visuals help too.

    But before athletes can share information, they have to educate themselves. Luckily, they can ask around as I did.

    There are athletes who do their part and are providing an example for others to follow.

    Elaine Thompson was the ambassador for NuhDuttyUpJamaica and participated in the International Coastal Cleanup Day in 2017.

    It’s an eye-opening experience to see just how much waste is collected.

    Last but not least, and I don’t envisage this happening anytime soon, but athletes and the associations that fund events need to begin sanctioning countries that don’t take climate change seriously. Don’t compete in those countries. Let’s see the reformative power of sport at work.

    The lack of advocacy from athletes would suggest they aren’t impacted by climate change.

    Maybe their spacious houses have a pool and air conditioning to keep them cool. Perhaps they fly out to another country when the weather in their own takes a turn for the worse, who knows?

    What I do know is climate change affects everyone. We all need to speak up about it.

    Please share your thoughts on Twitter (@SportsMax_Carib) or in the comments section on Facebook (@SportsMax). Don’t forget to use #IAmNotAFan. Until next time!

  • More documentaries needed on Jamaica's exploits in sports More documentaries needed on Jamaica's exploits in sports

    Last week one of the cable channels was showing the 2016 documentary 'I am Bolt', which captured what was happening behind the scenes with Usain Bolt, in his own words, from 2008 to his final appearance at the Olympics in 2016.

    Over the course of those three Olympic Games, Bolt won nine gold medals (the 2008 relay medal was stripped) in what was one of the most dominant eras by any athlete in track and field. I had a full plate of work before me but I was not able to pull myself away even though I had already watched it, maybe four or five times already.

    It still gave me goosebumps watching Bolt’s career finally take off the way many of us expected, setting world records and winning gold medals and exciting track and field fans like no one had ever seen before.

    It is a critical piece of the sport’s history and Jamaica's history as well.

    Before the Bolt era, there were not that many books written about Jamaica’s track and field athletes and there have been many of the latter.

    For a country its size, Jamaica has produced so many superstar athletes, it belies imagination. Herb McKenley, Arthur Wint, Lennox Miller, Marilyn Neufville, Donald Quarrie, Jackie Pusey, Merlene Ottey, Raymond Stewart, James Beckford, Sandie Richards, Juliet Cuthbert, Winthrop Graham, Veronica Campbell-Brown, Brigitte Foster-Hylton, Beverly McDonald, Veronica Campbell-Brown, Shelly-Ann Fraser Pryce, Asafa Powell; the list goes on and on.

    However, by comparison, so little has been documented of their respective careers.

    The time has come for us to commission the production of documentaries that will provide archival material on what has been the greatest era of the country’s prowess.

    From the current era alone VCB, Shelly, Melaine Walker, Omar McLeod, Sherone Simpson, and more have set records that have become necessary to document.

    Not all will be a 107-minute long piece like 'I am Bolt'. The respective stories will determine their own lengths, but it is important that we have these athletes tell us their stories.

    These athletes are living history and we should not wait until they are gone to have someone else tell their stories. They should be telling us their stories. VCB and Fraser-Pryce, for example, have some compelling stories to tell.

    What do we do with these documentaries?

    Well, the government is building a sports museum. These documentaries would be playing on big screens as be part of any tour by those interested in Jamaica’s sporting history. Copies should also be at the National Library to be used in a similar fashion.

    The Ministry of Sports should have its own YouTube channel where each of these documentaries is always available to the public for general knowledge, research and similar pursuits.

    This undertaking should not be limited to track and field, however.

    Alia Atkinson, Chris Binnie, Ali McNabb, Lindy Delaphena, our boxers Mike McCallum, Richard Clarke, Trevor Berbick, Simon Brown, Nicholas Walters are others worthy of being documented.

    As time passes, we should not be searching all over the place, oftentimes unsuccessfully, to find data on Jamaica’s incredible sporting history. Our ancestors used to pass knowledge along verbally. We have built statues to honour some of our sporting greats, the time is nigh for us to have more than just images cast in stone.

     

     

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.