Maybe, you are fed up reading baseball and football news on your sportstalk feed that you manage to arrive here. Or maybe, you get tired stalking that chick doing push ups in actifit? Congratulations, and welcome to the team of bored sportstalk browsers. There some really good authors here on sportstalk but some posts are just pure [enter your word here], like this one you're reading. At least you know I'm talking and engaging to you. Yes, you, who is picking his nose while deciding if you'll leave this ramble in t minus x seconds.
But hey, don't go! I'm here to share something uncommon, something about the weirdest 'sports' in the world. How weird it is? That's for you to decide. The weirdness of this list might range from legit-acceptable to wtf-nonsensical. This is only part 1, so expect something weirder on the coming posts.
Sepak Takraw originated from South East Asia, particularly in Malaysia around 500 years ago. Sepak is a Malay term which means kick, while takraw is a Thai word which refers to the woven rattan ball used in the sport. So, basically it means 'kick ball'.
Sepak Takraw, by Paul 012, CC Attribution 2.0
The odd thing about the sport is that it really is like volleyball. The rules and arrangements are almost the same but players use their feet, chest, knee or head with the exception of their hands. I have the opportunity to watch a game live a few years ago and it was a fantastic experience. Players were kicking really high and to me the exchange between the 2 teams seemed like a martial arts demo. It's a bit dangerous compared to volleyball because they have to be extremely keen with the execution of their routine else they would fail to serve the ball and might have a bad fall. Passing the ball between teammates is a bit easier because most feet movements were happening under the belt area, but to score, high kicks were really required to deliver a fast and powerful attack.
Sepak takraw ball made of rattan
I think sepak takraw is weird in a sense that it's something unconventional. Using feet to perform rallies requires special training and routines to execute movements in a very limited space. Anyway, it is a legit and recognized sport. It has historical origins and currently has a steady growing player pool, many countries even in Europe and the Americas are already playing the sport.
Most of us have experienced walking beside a river or a lake. And chances are you have tried to throw a flat stone to the water and count the number of skips it would made. I also had some really good numbers of skips I made during my childhood. But do you know that stone skipping is actually considered a sport in some parts of the world?
Eighty eigth skips seems quite impossible for most of us, but well not for Kurt Steiner who achieved the world record for most stone skips on September 2013. Come on, it's in the name. Do you know that 'Steiner' is the Norwegian word for stone? It all makes sense now.
But how to choose the perfect stone? Of course, it should be disc shaped, smooth , hard and compact. That makes sense right? Who would pick a stone with many pores if you want it to skip? But here's a more acceptable explanation from wikipedia.
The stone generates lift in the same manner as a flying disc, by pushing water down as it moves across the water at an angle. Surface tension has very little to do with it. The stone's rotation acts to stabilize it against the torque of lift being applied to the back.
There are 2 main categories or say classes of stone skipping tournaments. One is the more popular tournament by counting the number of skips. The other which is held in Scotland based their on distances between each skip. Of course, in tournaments the stones being used are almost identical. The World Stone Skimming Championships that yearly take place on Eastdale Islands, Scotland uses Easdale slates that should not be more than 3 inches in diameter.
It seems that stone skipping can be grouped with sports like darts and archery. There's very little requirement for the physical aspect but players need very good control and accuracy to perform as many skips as possible. It's also a very low maintenance sports as what you need are free and can be readily found in nature. I just find it quite weird that a simple leisure such as stone skipping can be considered a sport.
I love boxing and it's also considered a mental sport by most people, which is true in my opinion. In boxing, aside from having speed and power one has to have the smarts. Boxers need to faint, anticipate and sometimes even irritate their opponents to score or land a good hit. The decision of picking which punches to throw to counter the opponents is also a mental game. But what if we take this mental aspect to another level? Here comes Chess Boxing.
Waiting for his next move
Chess boxing is literally a brawn meets brain type of sport. The game starts with a four minute game of chess and the most of the time players are in hustle. Deliberately delaying the chess part might invite some penalty to the players. Your brows might crease but don't belittle this hybrid players. The minimum chess rating to participate in Chess Boxing is 1800. This falls under Category A just under candidate masters or experts, so expect that these guys are good.
The game consists of 6 rounds of chess and 5 rounds of boxing. It starts with a 4 minute game of chess which alternates with boxing. To win, a player could either check mate his opponent or make it concede. In the boxing part it's counted a win if the player knocks out his opponent or win by decision at the end of the game. I think that this might be pretty exciting to watch and it would be great if we'll have a chance to witness such a sport.
Well, that's quite long but it's just the start. These 3 sports can be considered as weird but it is indeed played and accepted. Speak takraw has it's history and although still not as popular as volleyball it is slowly spreading it's influence. Stone skipping is a leisure for most of us but is actually considered as a sport in some parts of the world. Chess boxing is a unique hybrid sport which requires the smarts of a chess player and the speed and power of a boxer. In part 2 expect the weird getting weirder. That's all for today. Have a good day and thanks for reading!