5 obscure sports you’ve never heard of — but should definitely start watching

The word “sport” is a pretty broad term. Yes, football and volleyball are sports, but so are shuffleboard, mountaineering, duckpins bowling, pigeon racing and skeleton sledding.

There are thousands of sports out there to choose from, meaning ideally, there’s never a reason to get bored.

So if you’re tired of playing the same game of pickup soccer at the park with your friends, here are some obscure sports worth giving a shot.

Finger wrestling

Played throughout southern Germany, for at least the past 60 years, finger wrestling is exactly what it sounds like. Competitors, who are often dressed in traditional Bavarian garb, sit across from one another at a wooden table as they each put their finger through one end of a small, looped string.

Then, the battle begins. Both wrestlers tug on the string from either side, using all of their strength to try and pull their opponent over to their side of the table. First one to fall across the table loses.

Reindeer racing

Think skiing, but add some animals. Reindeer racing, which is popular in Norway, Finland and parts of Russia, is a dog sled-style sport for some of the world’s northernmost nations.

Basically, racers strap into skis and hold on for deer (sorry) life as one or two of the large beasts pull them through the snow. Competitors can reach speeds of up to 37 miles per hour.


Another sport with a name that almost entirely describes its premise, footvolley is an exciting — and difficult — combination of soccer and beach volleyball.

Teams use their feet, chests and everything but their hands to power the ball across the net, hoping to spike it into the ground on their opponents’ side.

Chess boxing

A full-on combination of brute force and mental acuity, chess boxing requires an equal dose of strength and smarts. The game, which is less than 20 years old, pits two “fighters” in a battle where either a checkmate or a knockout can score a victory.

To make it more challenging, the boxers switch off repeatedly between speed chess and hitting each other in the face — each of which has to make the other a lot harder.

Dinghy derby

In most waterside towns, a dinghy is a small, slow-speed boat used as a lifeboat or to transfer between larger ships. But in Renmark, Australia, they’re a vessel for high-speed racing.

Dinghy derby involves strapping motors to the little boats and then propelling them in a fast-paced race through a 100 kilometer stretch of river. Surprisingly, these daredevil races have been going on since 1981.

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