5 Wacky Sporting Events From Around the World
Around the world there are many sports which are popular in different areas–football in the United States, hockey in Canada, soccer everywhere except the United States–but the overall gist of them is the same: players competing with one another to win. Some of the rules may seem unusual for those outside of the fanbase (we’re looking at you, cricket), but it can be easy to see why these sports are able to draw an audience.
This list of sports is not that.
Have you ever wanted to dress up like a corpse or pallbearer and ride a coffin down a mountain? Of course you have, it’s something we all dream about. The largest such event is the Emma Crawford Coffin Races and Parade, held annually in Manitou Springs, Colorado in honor of a woman whose burial place was eroded and her coffin slid down the hill. Every year, celebrants dress up like her and her mourners to race downhill in a somewhat less dignified manner, with prizes for “Best Emma” costume and coffin racers. Farther north in Colorado in Nederland another coffin race is also held annually at the Frozen Dead Guy Days, in honor of a man who was frozen and placed in a tool shed. Those Coloradans are a morbid bunch.
Perhaps the only people rowdier than Coloradans are Australians, proven by the annual Darwin Beer Can Regatta. With a name like Darwin, you can bet that survival of the fittest is the name of the game here. Participants make boats out of beer cans, as well as other empty beverage containers, which are then placed asea without testing seaworthiness beforehand. From there, it’s sink or swim (mostly sink) as onlookers and participants alike laugh and mock their soggy friends. Other events at the festival include thong throwing and a sandcastle competition. Proceeds go to various charities and the event is also key to recycling efforts in the area.
Underwater Ice Hockey
Ice hockey is already a pretty hardcore sport. After all, players are known for fighting, not having teeth, and fighting some more. So how can this sport get any rougher? By playing underwater. In a partially frozen pond. Without breathing apparatuses, though masks are allowed (pssh, what are they, soft?). The bottom of the surface ice is used as the rink as players attempt to play while going up for air every once in awhile. This sport is very popular in Siberia, which should surprise absolutely nobody.
Things can get ugly at the World Gurning Championships during the Egremont Crab Fair–literally. Gurning is the sport of people contorting their faces into the most grotesque and weird expressions and grimaces they can manage. This isn’t just crossing your eyes and touching your nose with your tongue either, some of these competitors can make faces which would make David Cronenberg wince. Just take a look at the video above, if you dare, but be careful imitating them–your face might freeze that way.
We saved the most hardcore, most grueling, and most exciting event for last: clothes ironing. Okay, so the chore you typically avoid at home doesn’t sound terribly exciting, but maybe that’s because you’ve never tried it while skydiving or scuba diving or all kinds of other wild activities. Participants in this sport grab their wrinkliest clothes and an ironing board before competing in an extreme sport. Hopefully other household chores will get the adrenaline upgrade that this one has.
(Image courtesy Phil Shaw via Wikimedia Commons.)