One such example (and nice counterpoint to cacti in the desert) is the recently instated underwater rugby team of the University of New South Wales (my alma mater. Kind of – I started there. Great university. Great coffee cart, conveniently located outside the arts faculty, for all those lecturers whose brains are in 'existentialism overdose' mode). These guys could play rugby the normal way (theoretically, at least. They probably couldn't really, given their size) but instead they decided to relocate. To give their favourite sport a sea-change and take it underwater. And why not? If elderly ladies could relocate their aerobics class to the swimming pool and even make an Olympic sport of it (granted, synchronized swimming is slightly more complicated than water aerobics), why couldn't these sprightly young uni students decide to thrive where no one really wanted them?
So, while the rest of the world watched in awe as Ireland smashed Australia in the Rugby World Cup (Let's not talk about it. They wear green. Green is like, no one's best colour. And they're like, Irish. How could they have beaten us? Ok so I didn't watch the game but I witnessed the fallout) and waits with bated breath for the final outcome, our focus is shifting to different versions of the famous games we know and love. This week's sporting cheat sheet focuses on the extreme, unusual, and extremely unusual sports of the wonderful world around us. Read on for insights into what you could be doing (but really shouldn't).
- Man vs Horse: Before there was Man vs. Wild, there was Man vs. Horse. That's right, in this sport cross country runners are pitted against their equine counterparts over a twenty-two mile course which presents challenges to both runners and… gallop-ers. The humans rarely win against the horses, and since horses cannot spend money (yet. Animal rights activists are protesting for that particular right. Because horses should be able to buy a new pair of shoes just as much as the rest of us) the prize pool has been getting progressively larger, with £1000 added to the amount each year. So if you fancy yourself a light, twenty-two mile jog, head over to Wales and give it a go.
- Underwater Rugby: The aforementioned game sees teams attempting to dunk a ball into their respective waste paper baskets, sorry, 'goals' underwater, as the name suggests (great for your lung capacity). It is reported that the similarities with actual rugby are limited to its name.
- Bog Snorkeling: You heard. Bog. Snorkeling. Remit the fact that snorkeling normally involves sparkling fresh waters and beautiful views, and bog snorkeling makes perfect sense. Of course people want to wade through smelly peat bog water for sixty yards breathing through a snorkel. Apparently the Welsh love it.
- Cheese Chasing: A personal favourite of mine, cheese chasing combines many people's two favourite things: cheese, and chasing. This ancient and dangerous sport involves rolling down a hill in pursuit of an eight pound cheese wheel. It could be classed as an extreme sport given the high rate of injury (these people love their cheese), yet somehow I do not think that the adrenaline rush of rolling down a hill chasing cheese is on par with, say, base jumping (another senseless sport!).
- Unicycle Hockey: the thought of chasing a little black thing over ice with large sticks was not risky enough, so players decided to do it on their unicycles. The game enjoyed a twenty-five year stint before people realized that if you ride a unicycle, you are more likely to lose friends than gain them. The beauty of it, however, is that if you get tired of playing hockey on your unicycle, you can revert to unicycle mountain-climbing. Who knew one wheel could be so versatile?