There are other sports outside of America. Whaaaa?! I know. Pretty unbelievable, right? But it’s true. In fact, some of those sports are even more hardcore than what we have here in the States.
Origin: The earliest known record dates back to the year 1200 with the first official match held in 1771.
What Is It? Competitors in this North Sea game sprint to a pole between eight and 13 meters long, jump and grab the pole, then climb it and try to control themselves over a body of water and into a sand bed on the opposite side of the starting point. The winner is determined by distance jumped.
Fun Fact: The current Dutch record for distance jumped is 21.51 meters, or roughly 70 feet.
2. Dwile Flonking
Origin: The earliest known game of dwile flonking took place in 1966 in a small town in England, though some speculate the game dates even further back than that.
What Is Itt? Dwile Flonking is like duck, duck, goose for grown-ups. It starts with a group of participants on the outside of a circle — girters — and a man in the middle, a flonker. The girters then dance (or walk) around the circle, while the flonker dips his dwile-tipped pole (think of a mop with a rag on the end) into a bucket of beer in the middle of the circle and walks in the opposite direction. The flonker them must flonk his dwile at them — launch the rag at someone on the outside.
If he misses, it’s a “swage,” and the flonker must then chug a beer from his gazunder (large mug) before the wet dwile has passed from hand to hand amongst the girters, who have now stopped girting (dancing or walking). If the wet dwile makes its way around the circle before the flonker finishes his beer, the girters get a point, and the game continues in the same fashion.
If the flonker hits his target, the girter who was hit must then chug a beer, as the flonker races around the circle, slapping each girter with his dwile. If the flonker completes his circle run before the girter finishes his beer, the flonker gets a point.
Just your typical dwile-girter-flonking game.
Fun Fact: A sugar beet is tossed to determine who is going to flonk first.
3. Calcio Fiorentino
Origin: No one’s really sure when the first game was actually played, but some believe the origins go all the way back to the 5th century. Official rules were established in the 16th century.
What Is It? Picture rugby mixed with MMA mixed with the prison from The Dark Knight Rises. Two teams of 27 players try to score a goal by throwing or kicking the ball over a designated spot on the field (a 100-by-50 meter sand pit). And since there are very few rules, players can do just about anything to defend their goal (i.e. head-butting, punching, elbowing, choking, and kicking).
Fun Fact: Annual games still take place in Florence, Italy, in the third week of June.
Origin: Experts believe the game, popular in Asia, dates back to pre-historic times, but the sport first received international exposure during the 1936 Berlin Olympics.
What Is It? Kabaddi is a cross between wrestling, tag, and “Mom, see how long I can hold my breath underwater.” Two teams of seven battle it out on a court, with one team sending a raider into the opponent’s half, whose job is to tag out the opposing team members without taking a single breath during the raid. To prove he’s not breathing, the raider must continually chant “kabaddi.” The goal of the defense is to maneuver in such a way that the raider cannot tag anyone before he takes a breath.
Another version involves the raider tackling the opposing team members, instead of simply tagging them. In this variation, the defenders are allowed to wrestle the raider down.
Points are earned each time a player is tagged “out” and two bonus points are awarded if the entire opposing team is tagged.
Fun Fact: Due to series of hilarious misunderstandings that began with a a misspelling of “kabbalah,” Madonna actually spent 2007 through 2009 managing a minor-league kabbadi team in Malaysia.
Origin: Unknown, but it possibly dates back to the early 16th century when the Turkic-Mongol people arrived in Afghanistan. Buzkashi is now the national sport of Afghanistan and the game is played throughout Central Asia.
What Is It? The game itself is much like polo, where competitors ride on horseback and try to knock an object into a goal. The major difference though, is that polo is played with a ball, whereas buzkashi is played with a headless goat carcass that must be dragged into a circle on the ground. Other than that, it’s pretty much the same sport.
Fun Warlord Fact: According to the Wall Street Journal, sponsors are usually “warlords who bet on their favorite goat grabbers.”
Origin: Unknown, but it’s Japanese.
What Is It? Bo-Taoshi is a hardcore Japanese version of capture the flag. Each team, consisting of 150 individuals, is split into two groups — 75 attackers and 75 defenders. The defenders must protect their own pole, which begins perpendicular to the ground, while the attackers try and lower the pole of the opposing team to a thirty-degree angle. Helmets are encouraged because this shit gets reckless.
Fun Fact: Based on this footage, it’s totally acceptable to take your shirt off and kick someone in the face.
Origin: It is believed that hurling has been an Irish pastime for at least 2000 years.
What Is It? The object is to use a wooden club to hit a small ball (sliotar) between the opponents’ goalposts either over the crossbar or under the crossbar into a net guarded by a keeper. Goals scored through the uprights are worth one point, while goals scored against the goalkeeper are worth three points.
Players may catch the ball with their hand and carry it for up to four steps, at which point they must then bounce or balance the sliotar on the end of their wooden stick or pass it with a kick or an open-hand slap.
Fun Irish-Sphere-Of-Death Fact: Hurling is known as the fastest game on grass, due to the speed at which the balls are hit (near 100 mph).
8. Sepak Takraw
Origin: It’s up for debate, but most likely 15th-century Malaysia. Formal rules were introduced in the 1940s.
What Is It? Sepak takraw is basically volleyball, except players are only allowed to use their feet, knees, chest and head to touch the ball. So if your hand-eye-coordination is terrible, but your foot-eye coordination is off the hook, this is the sport for you.
Fun Fact: Sepak takraw has been a part of the Asian Games since 1991, and supporters of the sport are trying to make it an official game at the Olympics.
Origin: Modern schwingen was institutionalized in Switzerland in the 19th century, but records of wrestling in Switzerland date all the way back to the medieval period.
What Is It? Wrestlers wear Schwingerhosen (“wrestling breeches”) with belts that competitors take hold of and use to pin their opponent’s shoulders to the ground. In other words, you try to use your opponent’s pants against him.
Fun Fact: It is customary to wipe the sawdust off your opponent’s back after a match as a sign of respect.
And those, my friends, are the only nine sports that it will be legal to play in America if the [insert whichever political party you oppose] get their way. Now get out there and flonk someone.