Not your average game: the most unusual sports from around the world

Around the world, there are plenty of strange sports that locals play to relax and have fun.

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Not your average game: the most unusual sports from around the world

Savana Olivas '18

Savana Olivas '18

Savana Olivas '18

Skylar Smith, Sports & Fitness Editor

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Though most students at Xavier are accustomed to playing sports such as basketball, tennis, and volleyball, there are many others around the world who participate in more unusual sports.

The first bizarre sport is called extreme ironing, which involves ironing in obscure places, like in the sky while skydiving or at the bottom of the sea while scuba-diving. According to the website for Team Steam, an extreme ironing team that blogs regularly about the sport, extreme ironing originated in Leicester, England in 1997 by a man named Phil Shaw. When faced with a decision to either complete chores or go rock-climbing, Shaw opted to combine both and created the sport of extreme ironing. Since then, the sport has spread to other European countries, as well as the United States. Many have found the activity thrilling with Team Steam stating on their website that extreme ironing is “an adrenaline sport which combines the thrill of an extreme outdoor activity with the satisfaction of a well-pressed shirt”.

The next strange sport is called wife-carrying and is an obstacle-course race between male competitors who have a female on their backs. According to the website for wife-carrying in North America, the sport first began in Sonkajärvi, Finland, where the world championships are held annually. Legend has it that a 19th-century robber named Herkko Rosvo-Ronkainen started the sport as either a means to escape capture, train other robbers or steal other men’s wives. There are various strict rules, though the male and female who are competing together aren’t actually required to be married. Since its origin in Finland, the activity has expanded all over the world to places such as Hong Kong, Australia, North America and the United Kingdom.

The final weird sport is a twist on polo with riders using elephants instead of horses. The sport started in Meghauli, Nepal with the World Elephant Polo Association establishing rules in 1982, according to their website. The activity is very popular in Nepal, Thailand, and India. However, there have been recent allegations of animal cruelty regarding the elephants from the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, which has caused sponsors to withdraw and matches to be canceled. In response to criticism, the World Elephant Polo Association has enforced strict regulations for the proper treatment of elephants in order to keep the sport alive. “If the elephants are treated fairly, I think this would be a very fun sport to play if I ever traveled to Nepal,” junior Alondra Ramos said.

In addition to the sports described above, there are many other wacky sports played around the world that entertain spectators and thrill players. These other unusual sports are ones that most Xavier students have probably never heard of, as they’re from different parts of the world and not regularly played in America. However, these bizarre sports can be very exciting and a nice change from the normal American sports most play daily.

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