20 Amazing Plays from Sports You've Never Seen Before

Matt Haupert@@matthaupFeatured ColumnistMay 21, 2014

20 Amazing Plays from Sports You've Never Seen Before

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    Vincent Thian/Associated Press

    Everybody has an opinion on LeBron James and Johnny Manziel. Everyone has seen the latest incredible shot by Kevin Durant. Everyone was surprised by Donald Sterling's harsh punishment.

    These are the topics that dominate every sports fan's water cooler conversations at work. And let's be honest, it's tough to really find anyone with a unique perspective, and most of what you here is decidedly predictable and boring.

    How much more interesting would your day be if you showed up to work ready to break down the latest Sepaktakraw match? How much cooler would you look with a cutting-edge opinion on a controversial Bo-Taoshi call?

    Finally, all this and more can be true.

    The following compilation of videos is a collection of some of the most extraordinary plays from the most bizarre sports—plays you can't believe you've never seen from sports you didn't realize even existed.

    Buckle in and prepare for 20 examples of human athletic accomplishment in its finest and rarest form.


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    A strange fusion of volleyball and Hacky Sack, Sepaktakraw, in its incredible display of coordination and flexibility, makes pretty much every American sport look about as physically challenging as a game of checkers. Watch the top-five compilation above, and then try to tell me that it's still impressive when LeBron James jumps up and puts a ball into a hoop.

    If you're gonna impress me with a basketball shot, the least you could do is dunk it with your feet. Come on.  


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    First of all, it's worth noting that the man sitting on top of the pole is playing the position of "Ninja," which immediately makes the strange sport of Bo-Taoshi significantly more awesome than anything you're going to find on ESPN. It sort of resembles the stampede scene from The Lion King more than it does a sporting event, but watching these men scramble over each other like animals to take down a tall wooden pole is nothing if not captivating.

Canadian Football

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    Watch and witness the bizarre rule differences that make Canadian Football so much more exciting than its more-famous American counterpart.

    Chris Chase from Yahoo Sports summarizes three rule changes important to the play above:

    Rule 3, Section 2, Article 4: (paraphrased) If a field goal attempt misses, the kicking team can score one point if it recovers the ball in its own end zone or if the ball goes out of the back of the end zone. 

    Rule 1, Section 3: (paraphrased) A field goal attempt stays alive if it is touched by a member of the opposing team.

    Rule 5, Section 1, Article 6: (paraphrased) An eligible player may kick the ball at any time to advance it to the other team.

    The brilliance of all three of these rules was on full display at the end of this game between the Montreal Alouettes and the Toronto Argonauts. Things seem to be going well for the Alouettes—they pulled of this win in miraculous fashion, and in 2014 they're adding the always entertaining Chad Johnson to their roster.

    Where do I sign up for DirecTV's CFL Sunday Ticket package?


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    If ever you thought curling was boring, watch the play above, witness the passion of these women's screams as they flail their brooms around in the air, and try to tell me honestly that your heart isn't racing. The intensity in Jones' eyes, the passion of the sweeping by her teammates, the drama of the announcer's call—I may not tune in to every curling match in the following year, but I'll certainly hit refresh on this video a few times.

    If nothing else, it's pretty amazing how a couple of brooms and a rock can bring a person so much unbridled happiness.

Table Tennis

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    Okay, so you've probably seen people play table tennis before, but have you ever seen it played like this? The athletic prowess of these two players is definitely enough to make table tennis cool again. And how awesome is it just to sit and watch two fully grown men, drenched in sweat, playing ping-pong in front of a crowd of adoring fans as if their lives depended on it?

    The paddles are tiny, but the stakes are high, and the passion is unmatched. I know where my viewing interests now lie.

    Goodbye, Wimbledon. Hello, World Table Tennis Championships.


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    You probably don't remember when football was created in the 1870s. You definitely weren't around when baseball was first being played in Cooperstown years before that. Hurling—one of Ireland's native Gaelic games, similar to a combination of lacrosse and field hockey—predates all of that by centuries. Considered the world's fastest game, Hurling has been around for over 3,000 years.

    That's older than the Cubs' World Series drought! Who knew that was possible?

    Enjoy the best Hurling plays that 2013 had to offer, and lose the desire to ever watch any other goal-oriented sport again.


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    The compilation of shots in the video above will stop you from ever thinking of handball as a playground sport again. The incredible speed and agility of these players make soccer look like it is played in slow motion and basketball look like it has been dumbed down for lesser athletes. Though it oftentimes looks like a bunch of adults chasing a bouncy ball around the gym, handball is an Olympic sport, a distinction that lesser games like baseball and wrestling will not be able to claim in 2016.


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    Another sport that you probably haven't thought about since you learned to play it in P.E. class in elementary school, but these guys make badminton look cool. In what other racquet sport can you see rallies like this? The entire point seems to miraculously defy gravity as the two men race around the court endlessly to continue saving the point.

    Worth noting: A birdie can travel over 200 mph, significantly faster than a tennis ball or ping-pong ball. Apparently tennis is just a poor man's badminton.

Cheese Rolling

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    The world's most dangerous sport: cheese Rolling.

    In this bizarre sport, competitors race down an uneven hill after a giant, high-speed round of cheese, which is given a short start and reaches speeds of 70 mph. The cheese is so large and so fast that it can be fatal if it crashes into a spectator. As for the competitors, many do not make it down the hill injury free, and several ambulances need to be present at every race.

    Perhaps this is just a weird tradition that people find amusing enough to continue doing every year. But, perhaps, this is something more—perhaps, this event is cheese sending a message to the world that it is a force that needs to be feared.

Downhill Bike Racing

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    As if the high-speed cheese race wasn't dangerous enough, this entire race seems to defy physics and beg for a death-inducing crash. From the huge accelerations to the sharp turns, the stairs and the little dog that gets in his way, this video makes me afraid to ever touch a bicycle again.


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    It's everyone's greatest athletic dream: sink a miraculous putt on a mini-golf course to prove your doubters wrong and show that you have what it takes to be a true champion. Though it wasn't exactly featured on SportsCenter, the man in this video accomplishes an athletic feat so much more challenging and awe-inspiring than anything you'll ever see on TV.

    The celebration at the end resembles that of a team that just won a world championship—and it is oh, so warranted.

Ultimate Frisbee

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    The epitome of a true bro sport, Ultimate Frisbee finds most of its popularity at college campuses across the country. The balding man in this video, however, proves that this is not just a child's game. The impressive speed and picture-perfect dive-and-catch should have television pundits talking for years to come.

Disc Golf

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    For those who can't golf: play disc golf.

    Don't tell that to Nate, who proudly proclaims that he hails from the great land of Eugene, Oregon. Maybe he just got lucky, or maybe they take the throwing of discs way more seriously in Oregon than they do in the rest of the world. Either way, props to Nate for accomplishing something that physics might declare nearly impossible.


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    Bowling has a pretty bad reputation among sports fans, often considered "just a game" and dominated by old men who are typically wildly out of shape. But you have to admit, this shot is pretty awesome. Personally, I was just impressed that he was able to get the ball all the way down the lane without using bumpers, a feat I'm still trying to accomplish after several decades of failure.


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    Now, here's a play you can talk about at the office tomorrow. Watch as Bart Helmholt lands a world record jump of 21.51 meters—a record that still stands today. The sport originated out of necessity as a way for Dutch people to maneuver around waterways and remains a competitive sport today that resembles the cooler older brother of pole vaulting.

Water Polo

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    In a seemingly effortless play, a goalkeeper manages to toss the ball all the way across the pool and into the net for a miraculous goal in a game of Water Polo. An extraordinary feat to witness, and a painful reminder that I still barely even know how to tread water.


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    In this high-speed, heart-racing play from a rugby match, the commentators build suspense and excitement by being thoroughly convinced for most of the video that the player wasn't quite able to get the ball down and complete the try. The crowd, commentators and players go wild when the referee's decision is made, and the rest of the world is left wondering why on earth rugby is not televised more regularly.

Drift Racing

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    Watching drift racing sometimes feels like watching drunk drivers race around on a freeway, but make no mistake that the over-steering and bizarre angles are intentional and considered a thing of beauty in the world of drift racing. Competitors are judged based on both speed and showmanship. Now sit back, relax and enjoy the art of two cars swerving around a track, bumping into each other.

Dance Dance Revolution

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    Dance may be a form of artistic expression, but Dance Dance Revolution is a brutal competitive sport, and the world's best are nothing to laugh at. This guy takes it to a whole new level, basically break dancing around the dance pads, using hands, feet and flips to hit the right spot at the right time, never missing a beat. Seems like he's making things unnecessarily difficult on himself, but hey, definitely looks cool.

Synchronized Skydiving

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    To conclude, an athletic feat that is truly astonishing. This breathtaking video seems less like a sport and more like an artistic expression of all human beings coming together, hand in hand, to accomplish something beautiful. It's physically stunning, symbolically moving and inspiring in every possible way. Sometimes, sports really can be transcendent.


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