9 Obscure Sports You Can Try Being a Champion In

(Last Updated On: October 10, 2021)

Ever wanted to be a sports legend but never been athletic enough to compete? Well if you were to find a sport that nobody plays you could probably become a champion just by being kind of mediocre at it. Just in case that’s how you were thinking, here are some obscure sports you could try becoming a champion in. If you’re a couch potato like us we’re not entirely sure how much it will help, though. 

1. Broomball

Broomball is like hockey–so much so it’s often played in hockey rinks. Except instead of a puck you use a ball. Also instead of those hockey sticks you have brooms. 

2. Sipà

Translated from Tagalog, “sipà” means “kick.” So you should know exactly what this sport is about. 

If you thought it was like soccer, well you thought wrong. Sipà shares a branch in the athletic family tree with Sepak Takraw, a sport that can be briefly summarized as “volleyball but with your feet.” Sepak Takraw was standardized by Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, and Myuanmar in the 1960s.

Sipà is similar. It is a traditional native sport in the Philippines that predates Spanish colonial rule. Two teams of four play on opposite sides of a net where their goal is to kick a ball back and forth. The ball is often made of rattan fragments (in both sipà and Sepak Takraw), though a synthetic ball can also be used. 

3. Bog Snorkelling

With its first competition in Llanwrtyd Wells, Wales in 1976, bog snorkelling is exactly what it sounds like. A 60 yard trench is cut through a peat bog, competitors have to swim 2 laps (120 yards total) through it using the power of flippers alone. Oh also you have to wear a snorkel, which was implied in the name. 

The world record is just over 1 minute 18 seconds so… Get bog snorkelling. 

4. Chess Boxing

Chess boxing is what happens when your chess opponent gets you really angry, leaving you wanting to bash their head in. Or maybe it’s for boxers who want to flex their intellectual chops. Honestly, we’re not sure, but chess boxing is exactly what the name implies. 

Players (combatants?) play alternating rounds of speed chess until someone gets a checkmate or is knocked out. Other ways of winning include time penalties under normal chess rules, or boxing decision via points if the chess game hits a stalemate. This sport’s first competition took place in 2003.

Honestly, there’s just something really great about the image of two sweaty boxers in the middle of the ring breaking out a chess board and pieces with pensive looks on their faces. 

5. Goalball

Unlike many other sports on this list, goalball is a sport designed to be accessible to those who are not able-bodied. Specifically, goalball is designed for those who suffer from vision impairment (originally it was a rehabilitation exercise for individuals returning from WWII in 1946). It has been a part of the Paralympic Games since 1976.

Goalball is played by throwing a ball into the opposing team’s goal (it is never kicked). Because the sport is designed for those who cannot see, the ball has bells in it and winning relies on ear-hand coordination. Able-bodied players are blindfolded as goalball has no able-bodied equivalent. 

6. Zorbing

Honestly this sounds like an alien sport, which is probably why its alternate names include “globe-riding” and “sphereing.” Zorbing is named after the Zorb product, which is a giant inflatable ball that you shove yourself inside. While the Zorb company was born in 1997 to capitalize on sphereing, big sphere to put people in dates back about 20 years prior. 

The dictionary captures zorbing quite well: “a sport in which somebody is put inside a large clear plastic ball which is then rolled along the ground or down hills.”

Honestly this sounds less like a sport and more like some dumb thing we’d do as kids the more we think about it.

7. Cheese Rolling

We’re not done rolling things down hills, though. Because when you’re done throwing yourself down the nearest incline in a giant, inflatable ball it’s time to go to the grocery store to get a big wheel of cheese. 

Localized to Gloucester, the cheese rolling event takes place specifically on Cooper’s Hill. A 9 pound roll of Double Gloucester cheese is made to roll down Cooper’s and everyone races the cheese wheel.

Winner gets to keep the cheese.

8. Kabaddi

Kabaddi is a contact team sport popular in India. Most theories suggest that kabaddi dates back to the Vedic period, somewhere between 1500-500 BCE. Various forms cropped up around the Indian continent, and it wouldn’t be until the 20th century that kabaddi was standardized as a competition sport. 

The rules are like a very incense version of tag, except you have teams. In the standard style of play, a player from the attacking team tries to tag as many of the defending team as possible in the defending team’s territory. They then have to leave before getting tackled. All within 30 seconds, and the attacker must chant “kabaddi” the entire time as the attacking phase must all be within a single breath.

Also the attacker is officially titled “raider” and that’s just super cool.

9. Shin-Kicking 

An old combat sport dating back to 17th century England, shin-kicking is exactly what it sounds like. It’s two people kicking people in the shins. 

Why are people like this?


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About Kyler 588 Articles
Kyler is a content writer at Sporcle living in Seattle, and has just finished his undergraduate at the University of Washington. He's been writing for Sporcle since 2019 and has accumulated so much random, general knowledge he'd rather not think about it. Most of his free time is spent drinking black coffee like water.