Alternatives to football and hockey
By Cazzy Lewchuk, Staff Writer
While most sports are universal, there are lots of sports particularly popular or only found in certain cultures. This may be due to climate or simply the game originating in an area and never being exported elsewhere. Many of these sports may be considered “funny” or “weird” to an outsider, but it’s important to understand cultural differences. After all, is throwing a ball at a stick and then trying to tag someone running really any less odd?
Kabaddi is played in two teams of seven (under international rules), players known as “raiders” run into the opponent’s playing field and attempt to tag at least one member of the other team. They must then return to their home area, but they have to do all of this in one breath. To show they have not inhaled, players chant “Kabaddi, kabaddi!” while running the whole time. The lack of equipment and easy setup makes kabaddi a popular sport amongst children in India, but is also the national sport of Bangladesh. It is professionally competed in the Asian Games: there is also a pro league, Asian Cup, UK Cup, World League, and both men and women’s World Cups.
Underwater hockey is basically what it sounds like: a full hockey game played in a swimming pool. The main difficulty comes from the fact that scuba equipment is not used, so players have to practice usual sports agility and complicated strategies in the amount of time they can hold their breath for. The sport, also known as “octopush” in the UK, has had a bi-annual World Championship since 1980, with a record 68 teams from 19 countries in the 2013 competition.
Sepak Takraw is similar to volleyball, except it’s played with a rattan ball, and players are not allowed to use their hands or arms. The exact name of the game varies depending on where it’s played: in Malaysia (where it was invented in the 15th century) it’s known as “sepak raga,” “takraw,” or “kataw.” It’s known in Myanmar as “chin lone” and in the Philippines as “sipa.” The International Sepak Takraw Federation (ISTAF) contains 31 countries, and national championships are held in the Asian Games and the ISTAF Superseries on a regular basis.
Zorbing is the practice of rolling and racing on a (usually, but not always, downhill) course inside a giant plastic orb. The orbs are about 10 feet in diameter and usually hold one rider, although some have room for two or three people. Some riders are strapped in while others are free to navigate the orb as they like. When sealed properly, zorbing can even be performed on water, adding to its novelty excitement. Invented in New Zealand in 1994, zorbing is not widely practiced professionally. However, facilities and equipment can be found in 16 countries, and zorbing has even found its way into the Guinness Book of World Records.