The 20 Weirdest Sports and the Athletes Who'd Be Great at Them
ESPN 2 was created in part to broadcast some of the less mainstream sports. The sports in this article likely wouldn't have made the cut. Nor for an ESPN 3 if it existed. Nor 4. No, these unique sports would find a home on the theoretical ESPN 15...or thereabouts.
But readers, I don't care to overspend my strangeness budget with you. So in order to keep us all grounded and not too far off the cable box from ESPN 1 or 2, allow me to speculate as to which mainstream athletes would excel in each of these otherworldly sporting events.
Click on to enter a new dimension in sports.
20. Inuit Mouth Pull Starring Paul Posluszny
The Gist of the Sport: give your opponent a bro hug, hook a finger in his cheek. Pull. Good, clean Arctic fun for the whole family.
What mainstream athlete would excel at it: NFL's Paul Posluszny. No one would be able to reach around his massive neck. I mean come, just look at it (see following pic). The guy would win by forfeit every time.
Credit: Photograph by NFL via Getty Images.
19. Oiled Wrestling Starring Joseph Park
The Gist of the Sport: Large men don leather pants, douse themselves in olive oil and throw each other around. It's the national sport of Turkey.
What mainstream athletes would excel at it: wrestler Joseph Park because he most recently beat Joey Ryan who is famous for slathering on the baby oil. So Park has proven himself against a slippery opponent.
18. Sepak Takraw Starring Jerome Simpson and Zlatan Ibrahimovic
17. Octopush Starring Pete Reed
16. Buzkashi Starring Giovanni Carmazzi
The Gist of the Sport: a Central Asian version of polo but without the sticks—you just reach down and use your hands. And without the horses—yaks instead. And without the ball. A puck? A shuttlecock? A Frisbee? No, try a goat. A dead one. With its head lopped off.
What mainstream athletes would excel at it: Giovanni Carmazzi. Remember this guy? He was one of the six QBs drafted ahead of Tom Brady. Carmazzi's now a goat-herding yoga practitioner.. Yeah, for real. No punchline. So all that goat wrangling should make tossing around a carcass in a friendly game of Buzkashi as easy as yak pie.
15. Shin Kicking Starring George Best, Teófilo Cubillas, Mario Kempes...
14. Eskrima Starring Lyoto Machida
13. Beach Kabaddi Starring Ray Lewis and Jonah Lomu
The Gist of the Sport: Think capture the flag meets red rover. But full contact. Combative even.
What mainstream athlete would excel at it: (1) NFL's Ray Lewis. Now that he's retired he can put his hard-hitting talent back to use. (2) Jonah Lomu, often cited as the greatest rugby player of all time.
12. Quidditch Starring Royce White and Brent Burns
The Gist of the Sport: the magical sport from the Harry Potter books (Don't pretend like you don't know it well). Only real. Without the flying part.
What mainstream athletes would excel at it: Royce White of the NBA. He's a Potterphile, so he knows the rules, knows the moves. Ditto Brent Burns of the NHL. Check out his Potter tat:
11. Duelling Pistol Shooting Starring Bo Jackson
10. Haka Pei Starring Lolo Jones and Others
The Gist of the Sport: an Easter Island thrill ride. Careen down a grassy cliff atop banana plant stumps. Loin cloth optional.
What mainstream athlete would excel at it: only the winningest luger (luge sledder? lugist?) of all times, Herr Georg Hackl.
9. Rope Climbing Starring Patrick Willis and Nick Catone
8. Mokomoko Boxing Starring BJ Penn and Evander Kane
The Gist of the Sport: an ancient Polynesian form of boxing minus the gloves. And minus the dodging. Yeah like this: stand still, take a punch. If you're still standing, shake it off. Now it's your turn.
7. Mountain Boarding Starring Shaun White
The Gist of the Sport: snowboard without snow. (Wheels help.)
What mainstream athletes would excel at it: Shaun White. Duh.
6. Wife Carrying Starring Joe Flacco
5. Mayan Ball Game Starring LeBron James
The Gist of the Sport: Get the ball through stone hoops mounted high up on the walls. The ball could not touch players' hands, feet, or calves. Losing the game sometimes meant losing one's life.
What mainstream athlete would excel at it: With your status as one of the living at stake, you damn well better be one of the best clutch players out there. Got to go with LeBron for this one.
4. Finger Jousting Starring Rajon Rondo
3. Elephant Starring Yao Ming
The Gist of the Sport: polo. Minus the horse. Plus a pachyderm. The WEPA (World Elephant Polo Association, but of course) is headquartered in Royal Chitwan Park in Nepal, where the annual World Elephant Polo Tournament is played.
2. Ultra Marathon Starring Mo Farrah and John Isner
The Gist of the Sport: run a marathon. Then another. Then another. Then another. Until you have run 118 of them. Consecutively. At least if you are participating in the 3,100 Mile Self-Transcendence Race.
What mainstream athletes would excel at it: (1) Mo Farrah. Thanks to the magic of Photoshop, the guy just hasn't stopped running. (2) Tennis player John Isner. You know the guy who won the freakishly long tennis match at 2010 Wimbledon? He's proven his endurance all right.