By Malvina Petropoulou, Demetra Papoutsi & Joanna Barlou (A Class)
Sports have been around in various forms and cultures since pretty much the beginning of time. To this day, they are praised and loved by many for not only the numerous health benefits they come with, but also for the recreation they provide and the values and ideals they continue to instill in people of all ages.
But what can be considered a sport? Is it necessary that it is physically challenging, or should everyone be able to participate? Must it take place in a specific, designated area, or could it be played anywhere? The list of potential questions is endless and answering them all practically impossible, since there is no explicit definition of what may or may not be called a “sport”.
This has inevitably led to a number of strange, unique and unusual activities being dubbed “sports”, and slowly but steadily catching the eye of the public and gaining popularity throughout the years. That being said, here is a list of some of the most noticeable, and, obviously, unusual sports to date:
And no, we did not just make that up. Extreme ironing is, according to the official website, “the latest danger sport that combines the thrill of an extreme outdoor activity with the satisfaction of a well-pressed shirt.” It invites players (“ironists”, that is) to take their iron boards with them to remote or exotic locations, and take pictures of themselves doing a little ironing. So far, extreme ironing has taken place on various unexpected occasions, including hanging from cliffs, being on top of moving vehicles and, of course, underwater. Ouch.
Who said that being physically fit is all it takes to be an athlete? A sport that is interesting and spectacular as well as unique, chess boxing combines -you guessed it!- boxing with playing chess. The first official chess boxing event was organised in 2003 and the sport seems to have hit a real chord with the public, constantly increasing its popularity and expanding its fan club ever since. It alternates between games of boxing and chess after each round, waiting for a knockout or checkmate to decide the match. A game between two individuals can last up to eleven rounds, commencing with four minutes of chess followed by two minutes of boxing.
Canine Freestyle Dancing
Last but not least, man’s best friend gets to participate in a rather unusual sport as well. There are two types of canine freestyle dancing, which can be best described as a test for obedience, tricks and dance, freestyle heeling and musical heeling. Depending on the category, the dog is either allowed to perform only heeling tricks accompanied by a trainer or carry out a set of tricks all by itself, to the sound of music, all while dressed accordingly to the selected track. There are even special choreographers who can help train a dog, as well as its master, in order for them to partake in such a competition. Yep, doesn’t get much stranger than that.