This would normally be the time of year where the NBA and NHL's best would be angling for playoff position and Major League Baseball would be kicking off their season, the but the coronavirus pandemic has the major sports shut down. Don't fret though, as there are a wealth of other sports out there worth learning about, as evidenced by ESPN's recent coverage on "The Ocho." Some of these sports can even be played indoors, which will come in handy to fight your boredom while self-isolating.
Some sports were born out of typical childhood activities. You might have played with marbles, skipped stones, played mini-golf or even tossed the bean bags playing Cornhole, but did you know there are actually competitions based around all three activities?
Other sports marry elements of multiple sports into one brand new game, like chess boxing, dodge juggling or Headis.
There are activities for just about all levels of expertise and physical fitness. Whether you want to get the heart pumping playing Ultimate Frisbee or simply sit behind the wheel of your lawnmower racing others, there's something for everyone.
So join us as we investigate these lesser known sports that you can learn about while self-isolating.
Axe throwing has seen a surge of interest in recent years as more cities capitalize on the rush of flinging an axe at a target. But for those with a competitive streak, there is a World Axe Throwing League, taking the fun beyond the axe throwing clubs into a tournament setting. There’s even an International Axe Throwing Day every year on June 13. So sharpen your skills and enjoy this growing competitive sport. Learn more here and visit more videos from the World Axe Throwing League at this location.
Take the mental acuity needed to be a great chess player, add the physical toughness and dexterity to be a great boxer and then combine them into one sport. Chess boxing fights consist of a maximum of 11 rounds, alternating rounds back and forth between chess and boxing. Trust us, it’s not as simple as it seems. Keeping mentally strong after a round of taking shots to the head with only a minute break between rounds is definitely tough. How do you win? Either checkmate your opponent on the board or KO your opponent on the canvas. Learn more about getting involved with Chess Boxing here.
Most are probably familiar with this game, a favorite from youth growing up tossing beanbags and hoping to hit the right hole from a distance. But this is no family picnic with some drunk uncles pounding some brews before limbering up their arms to toss. There is an actual American Cornhole Organization, complete with tournaments and rankings. Whether you’re a newbie who needs details on how to play or a seasoned pro looking for competition, visit the American Cornhole Organization to feed your thirst for more cornhole and see more highlights here.
Stuck indoors? A dartboard could stem the tide of your boredom, but you still might have to go a long way before you’re able to compete professionally. While you may know names like LeBron James, Mike Trout and Patrick Mahomes more, make no mistake … darts is a draw. The Unibet Premier League has been filling arenas with those anxious to watch the greats of the sport check out on a double.
You may recognize it as the belly flop, but Death Diving certainly makes a splash. It may hurt like hell, but you can still do it in style, as evidenced by some of the inventive dives. Feel the sting, but come out a champ. Learn more here.
You likely played Dodgeball in school, hoping beyond hope not to get pegged in such a manner as to “leave a mark.” But the World Dodgeball Federation has taken it to the next level, overseeing a variety of Dodgeball-themed games including the most traditional version, which saw a spike in popularity after the 2004 comedy, Dodgeball. One of the film’s in-jokes, ESPN’s The Ocho, also spawned the sports network to dedicate a day of programming to many of the often overlooked sports. See more highlights here.
One of the more entertaining variations on Dodgeball combines a bit of two sports – dodgeball and juggling. In one of the competitions, a Dodgeballer is tasked with getting six jugglers to lose concentration on their pins during a timed event. Another pits one juggler on each team to keep their pins afloat while their teammates attempt to deflect any incoming high ball heat. It’s incredible concentration vs. hardball pinpoint focus. Who will emerge victorious? Does it matter? This one is highly addictive to watch. Learn more here.
You know the traditional dodgeball model but what if you had incredible hops? Enter Ultimate Dodgeball, a variation in which players get ready to square off on a trampoline filled playing field. It’s hard to hit a moving target, but if you’re able to add up and down to left and right, good luck.
For many, being an electrician is a vocation. But for the nimbly skilled few, it can also be a competition. IDEAL launched a series of competitions in 2015, where pro electricians display their workmanship, safety and efficiency, all in the name of a cash prize and bragging rights, of course. Learn more about the IDEAL Electricians National here.
Frisbee has come a long way, with the first U.S. Open Frisbee Championship being held in 2012. In the years since, it’s now become an international affair where those in the Ultimate Frisbee community come to compete. There are men’s, women’s and mixed team competitions, all attempting to get that flying disc down the field. See more highlights here.
Thank you Mark Twain! Were it not for the author born Samuel Langhorne Clemens, we might not know of the The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County. And had it not been for a sense of civic pride, we might not have one of the more interesting annual competitions, with The Calaveras County Fair and Jumping Frog Jubilee. Held the third weekend in May every year, competitors place their frogs on a tiny swatch of turf and then attempt to have the little amphibian use its incredible jumping ability to leap forward three times. However, the little critters are not always the most predictable, needing a little urging along the way. The one with the longest length is eventually crowned champion.
Take the idea of table tennis or ping pong, but lose the paddle and incorporate soccer’s infamous header. Dubbed “Headis,” this sport was invented in 2016 and has grown in popularity in Germany, where more than 20 universities have adopted the game. The main rule – you lose a point if you touch the ball with any other body part than your head.
Rather than a solitary game, the International Highland Games is actually a variety of competitions, some of which are said to have dated back to 1500 B.C. Some of these games include a hammer toss, a weight throw, a stone putt, tossing a weight over a bar and a sheaf toss. In 2001, the IHGF was founded to oversee the annual competition, which eventually pits the national champs from various countries into a battle to determine the world champion.
This sport originated in ancient India and South Asia. It’s essentially a version of tag that’s a little more contact oriented. Players cross the center line and attempt to tag members of the opposition, then running back to their side before being caught themselves. Each player touched yields a point, unless they don’t make it back to their side safely. As for that game name, the “raider” must repeatedly yell “Kabaddi” before he crosses the midline and can’t stop repeating the word until he crosses back to his territory, otherwise he’ll score no points. Learn more here.
Admit it. You’ve sat behind the wheel of your lawn mower at one time or another envisioning it as a racecar. Well, since 1992, the United States Lawn Mower Racing Association has fed into that mindset, giving competitors a chance to fire it up, hold on for "Deere" life and kick a little grass!
Though many have seen log-rolling before, there’s so much more to the Lumberjack Championships. Competitors vie in competitions of sawing, chopping, speed climbing, boom-running and yes, log-rolling. So stay strong, stay nimble and let your feet and hands lead you to victory.
Marbles were fun as a kid, but Jelle’s Marble Runs has more or less made a full Olympiad of competitions for those who like to see how the marble rolls. Competitions of speed, balance and strategy are in place, with courses designed to test how well you can control the roll. See more highlights here.
Odds are that as a child, you probably had a miniature golf course in your town. The good time game made it fun and helped prepare you for the major courses when you came of age. But there are those who enjoyed the game and the obstacles enough to put their putting skills on display. Thus, the Professional Putters Association was founded, with tournaments being staged to find a national winner.
Is Bigfoot real? Does it matter? The New York city of Whitehall has been a center of supposed “bigfoot” activity, which is something the city has capitalized on, launching the Sasquatch Calling completion. How do you call as Sasquatch and do any of these calls actually work? Who knows? But it certainly seems like folks enjoy letting out their “call.”
Slippery Stairs appears to have really found its (ahem) footing on a Japanese game show, where competitors in skintight body suits are doused with goo and challenged with making it to the top of a stairwell, which has also been sprayed down with the slippery stuff. What ensues is a quest for traction, often with competitors knocking each other back to the bottom when failing to secure their hold. This one’s bound to leave a few bruises.
For the uninitiated, Spikeball is fairly similar to volleyball with a few distinct changes. Instead of a full fledged team, it’s most frequently two-on-two battles, with a ball and a trampoline-like net in which teammates attempt to outmaneuver their opponents by spiking the ball off the trampoline to where they’re opponents are out of reach. Points are scored when the ball contacts the ground. Play outdoors, play indoors, have fun with it, but if you are on the more competitive side, there are also tournaments.
Here’s something you can do at home and then apply it to a competition later. The competition of sport stacking became more official in 2001 with the formation of the World Sport Stacking Association, with a World Cup competition following in 2005. According to the association, sport stacking is now part of over 47,000 school and club programs in over 54 countries. How quick can you build up and tear down your cup formations? You’d be surprised how nimble these competitors are. See more highlights and tutorials here.
Have a body of water? Have stones nearby? You have the making of a pastime that has now turned into an annual competition. Michigan’s Mackinac Island has played host to the annual Stone Skipping competition, with competitors seeing how many times their projectile rock can skim across the water’s surface before it finally sinks for good.
Formed in the rural town of Te Puke in New Zealand, Stupid Robot Fighting is just about what it sounds like. The robots are made up of various parts, strung together like a mobile marionette with the one prerequisite being that each robot have angry eyebrows. There are poles attached to the hands and feet that are manipulated by the handler, with the two competitors attempting to obliterate the other over a two minute period. The winner is the one who inflicts the most damage, while managing to maneuver their fighter to take the least carnage. Adding to the fun of it all is that fighters are encouraged to talk trash to each other during the bouts. Got it? Now fight!
Zone Ball appears to be a mix of basketball and cornhole. A two sided hole sits in the middle of a zone that players are not allowed to enter with teams attempting to maneuver to get into the best position to get their ball through the hole. Pass or dribble, just don’t step inside of the zone because if you do, the other team gets a free throw. Get a Zone Ball kit and learn more here.