If you woke up Saturday morning and wanted nothing more in life than to watch people bag groceries competitively, then you were in luck, as the 2020 Ohio Grocery Baggers Bowl was part of the ESPN 8: The Ocho lineup.
The Ocho slate included slippery stairs, frog jumping, cheese rolling, marble runs and stupid robots (their words) fighting each other. It also consisted of a sport called death diving, which looks as scary as it sounds.
In addition, the day's showcase featured Japanese monster wrestling, a world deadlift attempt, the 2019 Grit n' Writ National College Championship and the ITSF Foosball World Cup.
Competitive grocery bagging was arguably the most interesting sport of the group. Supermarket competitions are nothing new, but the Ohio Grocery Baggers Bowl took things to a whole new level, even offering biography cards for players as if they were professional athletes:
The baggers also had to comply with COVID-19 protocols and wear masks while competing, perhaps making their challenges a bit more difficult as they worked toward the finish line:
Grocery bagging is, frankly, an underrated and underappreciated job, so it's encouraging to see baggers shine in the national spotlight.
Elsewhere, a routine task like climbing stairs became an adventure during the slippery stairs competition, which demands a significant amount of athleticism, hand-eye coordination and perseverance.
The sport is the modern-day version of the story of Sisyphus in Greek mythology. Zeus punished Sisyphus by forcing him to roll a boulder up a hill for all eternity.
Likewise, there is significant risk of getting close to the apex, only to fall down a few stories worth of stairs, hence the need for pads and helmets.
There is no protective equipment for death diving, which basically involves people jumping off high-diving boards in some of the unsafest ways possible for sport. Granted, the competition isn't as dangerous as some of the most life-threatening sports in world history, but if you're afraid of heights and/or swimming, this is not the activity for you.
But if you don't mind either or enjoy both, then death diving is undoubtedly entertaining, with this unusual dive serving as one example:
The competition shown Saturday was from 2019 and has aired before, but if you are intrigued after missing it, you're in luck because the show is on YouTube:
Overall, The Ocho, whose inspiration comes from the 2004 movie Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story, provided some brevity during difficult times.
Sports have been put on pause for much of the world amid the COVID-19 pandemic, even as some activities return, so it was pleasant to see competition taking place on television, however unorthodox it may be.