Sportsworld 2014: A look at the world's weirdest sports

"sport, NOUN, An activity involving physical exertion and skill in which an individual or team competes against another or others for entertainment."

There's an isolationist tendency in the USA when it comes to international sports. That's why soccer is about as foreign as most are willing to tolerate. Here's the deal: If you think that way there's a whole wild world of amazing sports you're missing out on -- and we're going to teach you about the best ones.

Totnes Orange Races

The year was 1580, or so the story goes. Sir Francis Drake visited the lovely town of Totnes in South Devon and happened to bump into a boy selling fruit. An orange rolled down a steep hill and a sport was born! Now the Elizabethan society hopes to continue this tradition of remembering the time an explorer ruined a child's burgeoning fruit business and his parents died of scurvy.

Rules: It's pretty simple. Drop your orange on the street, chase it. If you need more explaining then this probably isn't the right sport for you.

If you win you get a Kit Kat.

Smokin' John Daly athleticism quotient:



If chasing oranges down a hill isn't extreme enough for you (hard to imagine) then you can leave Devon and head east to India for a game of Kabaddi. A sport that's more akin to the torture techniques of a James Bond villain than fun. It started in the 1930's and has been steadily gaining popularity, which is to say we're becoming sadomasochists.

Rules: Okay, here we go. Kabaddi games are divided into two teams of wrestlers. One player, the "raider" takes a deep breath and crosses the center line. No, this isn't for dramatic effect -- THE PLAYER HAS TO HOLD THEIR BREATH while trying to tackle members of the other team. If he gets somebody down it's a point, if he exhales and doesn't make it back to his side of the field then the opposing team can wrestle him down for points.

In short, if you're really good then you will pass out before exhaling.

Smokin' John Daly athleticism quotient:


Goanna pulling

If the physical aspects of Kabaddi appeal to you but you're more of a solitary competitor then perhaps it's time to visit rural Australia for some good old fashioned Goanna pulling. A phrase that sounds utterly wrong. A goanna is a large predatory reptile in Australia. Like most lizards it has a pretty long neck. So when it's time for humans to interpret them into a sport, this happens.

Rules: It's basically tug of war, but USING YOUR HEAD. Seriously Australia, this is not a good idea in any way.

Smokin' John Daly athleticism quotient:



Is this a frightening blend of turning and grinding? Alas no, it's far scarier than that -- gurning is making faces.

Yep, faces. Like the ones you probably made to friends when you were a kid. Fingers in nostrils, mouth contorted, trying to make people laugh. The origins are seriously horrible. Rumor has it that Gurning started in the middle ages when people would throw a horse collar over the village idiot and force him to make faces in exchange for alcohol. So yeah, let's turn abuse into a sport.

Rules: Put a "Gurning collar" around your neck (which looks like your grandmothers padded toilet seat) and make a face. Judging is subjective and mob rule. So make sure you you play the crowd. Don't be trying to pull a Cornwall face in Nowich, that just wont fly.

Smokin' John Daly athleticism quotient:


Dunny Derby

Here's the deal: We could probably make an entire list of bizarre sports that originated in Australia and it would take you three hours to read it. There's something about being isolated on an island that breeds these kind of things, imagine that.

Dunny is Aussie slang for toilet. You get the picture here. It's a subtly nuanced sport that requires strategy, hard work and peerless effort. All of those things are a lie.

Rules: One person is responsible for running with their underwear around their ankles to retrieve toilet brushes from designated locations. Four teammates help the runner get there by carrying them around in a home made porta potty.


Smokin' John Daly athleticism quotient:


Team Fighting

We've had some fun, maybe a few laughs, but now things are serious. The best and brightest of Europe's youth are becoming involved in "Team Fighting." An incomprehensible team version of MMA that always ends up with multiple people punching a single guy laying in the fetal position.

Rules: Two teams of five square off in a tire-filled ring. As each member submits or is knocked out their team is reduced. Finally the team with the last man standing wins.

So basically we're witnessing the genesis of The Hunger Games... might as well enjoy it while we can.

Smokin' John Daly athleticism quotient:


More from

SB Nation Featured Video
Log In Sign Up

Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.


You must be a member of to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at You should read them.


You must be a member of to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at You should read them.




Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.