Sports

ESPN Highlights of lesser-known sports

Sepak Takraw
Image Source: The original uploader was Jasy jatere at English Wikipedia., CC BY 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

Those who enjoy sports of all kinds can appreciate the hard work and dedication of athletes. The years of training, injuries, and miles traveled to get to the skill level of an accomplished competitor are something to be admired. 

There are so many sports out there. But it wasn’t until ESPN decided to take a joke and make it a reality that ESPN 8, aka The OCHO, has become a yearly celebration of the lesser-known sports in the sports stratosphere.  

Since the pandemic has limited sporting events, here are some sports students might not have heard of.  

Chess Boxing: Inspired by a comic, it is exactly how it sounds. There are 11 rounds of competition, three-minute rounds, alternating between boxing and chess. Players win by either knockout, checkmate, or if the chess clock runs out the leading opponent wins. It was designed to test the strongest and smartest athletes in the world and has been going on since 2003. 

Sepak Takraw, aka Kick Volleyball: This started in Southeast Asia and is now a worldwide sport. It has a same size court as badminton, using only feet, knees, and heads to touch the ball. The ball is called a rattan, designed after wicker furniture, and has synthetic rubber on the outside of it. Best two out of three wins the game. 

School Bus Figure 8 Racing: Think NASCAR with school buses, stock car racing mixed with a demolition derby, and you get the idea. There are people inside the buses, too, with helmets on, of course. The wheels on the bus go round (and round) and might crash to the finish line.  

U.S. Acrobatic Pizza Trials: If you thought you had pizza skills, think again. This is a fierce competition with events including largest dough stretch, fastest pie maker, fastest box folder, and freestyle dough acrobatics. This is where competitors from coast to coast vie for best in the Midwest when it comes to pizza. 

Stupid Robot Fighting: Created in New Zealand, Stupid Robot Fighting is a unique form of fighting that pits two life-sized hanging puppets, controlled by an operator sitting behind each robot, against each other. Think junkyard robots going at it. Viewers will have a good time watching the battle in all its ridiculous glory. 

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

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