Sports you’ve never heard of: Toe Wrestling

1, 2, 3, 4, I declare a thum-…wait, a toe war? Toe wrestling, different from thumb wrestling, but similar to arm wrestling, is an official sport in the United Kingdom. Although unusual and relatively unheard of, toe wrestling has been around since 1976, starting in Wetton, Derbyshire. Patrons of ‘Ye Olde Royal Oak Inn’ decided to hold a toe wresting competition the same year, and ever since, the world championships have been occurring annually.

Sports you’ve never heard of: Yukigassen

The snowball fight is a timeless winter tradition. Every year, kids across the snow-receiving countries of the world gather to build forts, mould snowballs, and pelt each other with icy snow. The appeal of this parent-approved violence is so great that in some snowless countries, kids have re­sorted to using elephant dung to achieve similar satisfaction. Apparently kids aren’t the only ones who harbour a secret desire to imagine themselves lords of a battle fort, hell-bent on the de­struction of the forces of evil that threaten their realm – adults also feel the need to pummel each other with icy balls, although they get more organized and high-tech about it. Enter Yukigassen, from the Japanese yuki, meaning snow, and kassen, meaning battle.

Sports you’ve never heard of: Extreme ironing

Essentially, if a person wants to take part in the sport of Extreme Ironing (EI) all they need are a few key pieces of equipment. For starters, you need something to iron, an ironing board, an iron, a camera and perhaps someone to take a picture of you in the act. From here, Extreme Ironing allows for the imagination to run wild. Whether you are taking part in the sport on your own, or you chose to elect an entire team, how extreme you choose to be is up to your comfort level. In the past, participants have been known to climb to the top of mountains to iron, dive deep into the ocean and eradicate wrinkles or scale buildings in order to steam-rid their creases and crinkles.

Backwater brilliance: The undiscovered majesty of freestyle canoe

On placid lakes and untamed streams across North America, a small but impassioned group of flat-water aficionados are dedicated to mastering the art of obedience lessons for the canoe. Practitioners learn moves like the Axle, Sideslip, Christie and Wedge before putting it all together and setting it to music. It’s the dance sensation that’s sweeping the nation.

Sports you’ve never heard of: Planking

Are you looking for a summer sport that won’t make you break a sweat? Are you looking for an activity that anyone can do, regardless of age or capability? Are you looking to be involved in the art of doing nothing at all, while still calling it an activity? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then planking might be the sport for you!

Sports you’ve never heard of: Maggot Racing

If there is one thing I know for certain about my gender, it’s that we men love to gamble. There is no situation, no circumstance that is too sacred to be spiced up with a couple of bets, a little high-stakes action. I mean, think about it. What’s the first thing the Roman soldiers did after crucifying Jesus? Why, cast lots for his clothes of course. Never mind that they’d just murdered a presumed deity, what the Romans really wanted was a gambling fix. It makes perfect sense... if you’re a guy. Everything in life has the potential for competition, and everything competitive can only be improved by adding betting.

Sports you’ve never heard of: Extreme Ironing

For those of you who really enjoy a neatly pressed shirt and for those of you who really enjoy extreme outdoor activities, but have never been able to combine them, your time has finally come! For more than a decade the semi-professional sport of extreme ironing has been growing in popularity. According to the website www.extremeironing.com, “It all started in the city of Leicester in the UK, in the summer of 1997. When mild-mannered Steam returned home after a long day in the knitwear factory, the last thing he wanted to do was start on a pile of ironing. The sun was shining and Phil preferred the idea of an evening out pursuing his (somewhat unsuccessful) hobby of rock climbing. Then it occurred to him to combine these activities into an extreme sport - the result: extreme ironing.”

Sports you’ve never heard of: Frog Jumping

While the competition is fierce, the issue of frog care is an important part of the frog jumping sport and there has been an official “frog welfare policy” in place since 1997. Frog jockeys or any member of the frog handling team that violates the policy or in any way abuses the competitors face banishment from the sport. The competition organizers are anticipating 10,000 frog competitors for the 2012 event.

Taze me out at the ball game

Taser ball is the latest in a long lineage of increasingly “extreme” 21st century sports seemingly designed to try the patience of the public safety commissioner.

Sports you’ve never heard of: ice golf

Let me answer your first question; they use coloured balls to avoid losing them in the snow. Your second question: the “green” is referred to as the “white.” Ice golf has been around for centuries. It was first played, as far as we know, back in the 17th century in Holland. Originally called “kolven”, the game was played on frozen canals and players used clubs to get a ball into a hole in the ice – much like regular golf.

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