Each week, our sports jock Joshua Jayde tries to justify wasting his life watching sport videos on YouTube by writing it all down.
We’re in the weird space of the year where there isn’t all that much sport going on. Yes, there’s the Ashes, the Rugby Championship, the endless, endless football; but compared to the excitement of the Football, Netball and Cricket World Cups just been and the Rugby World Cup to come, major sport is in a bit of a vacuum. It can be nice to take a break from the high-stakes world of major sport every once in a while and pay just a bit of attention to some of the eight thousand other minor sports.
Take Underwater Hockey, which is just playing regular hockey while drowning. To play, you have 6 people a side, all trying to either hit the puck into the opposing goal or, failing that, try to knock out people’s teeth. The game is full of injuries, very hard to watch or record on camera, and gameplay is “only limited by your imagination”, arguably making it the ideal sport (although maybe I’m just saying that because New Zealand are the Women’s and Men’s World Champions). If you’ve ever wanted to be in a mass brawl a metre underwater, this is the game for you.
For the few of us who don’t, though, there are plenty of sports which don’t have a high risk of suffocation by liquid. As you would know if you’ve ever been decapitated by a disc in Albert Park, Disc Ultimate / Ultimate Frisbee / Super Amazing Flying Saucer Game is a popular choice among University students. Ever since some Californian threw a frisbee to a dog and wondered “what would happen if he threw it back?”, the sport has gathered a cult following among students and Latin teachers alike. It’s a surprisingly athletic sport, somewhat like American Football without the ad breaks. However, the game suffers from the lack of referees to blame when the opposition scores. Games therefore routinely descend into ugly scenes of polite discussion about the rules and play. So, if you’re into hyperbole, debating or being tall, try Ultimate Frisbee.
There are in fact so many weird and wonderful sports out there. Want to play football and volleyball at the same time? Try Sepak Takraw. Felt the need to play squash with gigantic scoops on your hands? You’re looking for Jai alai. But there are some sports which not only push the boundaries of the human mind and body, but the very definition of what sport truly is.
Is ironing a sport? Apparently, it is if you’re doing it suspended upside down over a river. Extreme ironing has a large following, a World Championship and was referenced on the TV soap EastEnders in 2003. Ironists, as they unironically call themselves, have ironed up high mountains, underwater (which defeats the purpose, I would have thought) and even on moving vehicles. The sport was born in England but became global when pioneer Steam ran into some German tourists in New Zealand, who then formed the sport’s governing body Extreme Ironing International.
It can be easy to forget how much sport is being played, done or ironed in the world when the big sports take their foot off the pedal, but if you look hard enough, as I have, you can still find ways to procrastinate or forget about life for a while. Go out there, climb a hill, do your laundry and call it sport; in the end, it’s still better than watching football.
The Rugby Championship has just concluded, but at the time of writing the games haven’t happened yet, leaving me, a relic of the past, to try and guess the results. Here was this week’s attempt.
The All Blacks fought off a spirited Wallabies attack to scrape past Australia, 72-9, in the final game of the Championship. It could all have been so different if the men in yellow hadn’t had a try at 41-6. Michael Cheika, Wallabies Coach, blames the referee for his side’s loss, and will sue for damages.
Was I close?
(Monty Python’s Flying Cir-cus*) The Ashes! Australia and England will play three and a half weeks’ worth of cricket to decide who gets to keep a small pot of wood dust for the next two years. This Ashes series will probably be remembered for the crowd with more sandpaper than a Mitre Ten Mega belting abuse at the Australian team. For a New Zealand fan, the Ashes are ideal – they present an opportunity to laugh at both the Australian and English batsmen as they inevitably collapse.
*Whoever gets this is my new hero