The world of sport is large and diverse. Whilst we have become accustomed to mainstream and globally recognised sports such as football, American Football, tennis, and basketball to name a few. But there exists a plethora of other sports which in certain parts of the world are immensely popular yet remain relatively unknown entities in other parts of the world. A number of sports will not be named in this article, but this is not to say they are not significant or well known in certain parts of the world. After much research about sports which are perhaps unfamiliar to most, and in a similar vein to my approach to essay writing, I chose a few of the ones I found most interesting rather than the ones which are most unfamiliar.
This is a bit of a false start. I already know and love cricket. Yet this sport presents a strange paradox and it truly fascinates me. Even within a country where the sport is played by many, a great many more don’t understand the rules or how it is played. In English schools, many will live and breathe the Ashes, whilst others will simply not understand what an “over” or a “wicket” (though Virat Kohli, one of the best to play the game, also seems to have forgotten what a wicket is recently).
However, the game remains relatively unplayed outside of the confines of the UK, South Africa, New Zealand, Australia, The West Indies, and South Asia.
How does the game work?
Whilst notoriously quite a long game, in recent years attempts have been made to shorten the game in certain formats. Essentially it is a bat-and-ball sport. There are 11 players in each team. Like baseball and other bat-and-ball sports, you try to score as many runs as possible. One team bats first; when the opposing team gets ten wickets so all but one of the players are out, then the teams switch roles.
If white is your colour, this is the sport for you, the vast majority of cricket apparel is white. A match tea is served between innings, which allows for a sandwich and cake break. So, those who like their food – this could be the sport for you.
Even though there are shortened formats, cricket still tends to take out the whole afternoon of your day. So, not the sport for you if you don’t want to write off a large chunk of your weekend.
Before we leave the shores of the United Kingdom I thought I’d draw attention to another sport which is played by very specific regions of the UK. This sport is commonly played in parts of Lancashire and Yorkshire, but is much more popular in Australia and New Zealand. Rugby league, in a nutshell, and through my untrained eyes, is a combination of rugby union (the more common version of the sport in the UK) and American Football. Like rugby union, you can not pass the ball forward and there are no pads. Yet like American Football, there are “downs”; after four tackles, the team in possession of the ball turns over.
You avoid having to scrum and ruck as much as you do in rugby union..
Based on google images the players still look rather big and muscly like American Football and rugby union.
The tour of niche sports will now take a trip east. For the Canadians, North Americans, Eastern Europeans, Russians, and the people of the Baltic region (basically, anywhere which is cold), ice hockey is a highly popular sport. Furthermore, there is a fairly strong awareness of ice hockey around the world, thanks largely to the popularity of the NHL. Yet, this is not the only ice related ball or puck sport which is played around the world. Bandy is 11 a side rather than 6 a side in ice hockey. There is also relatively less contact in bandy than ice hockey. So in my eyes and based on the very limited video footage I have seen, it is like football on ice.
I feel like it really can’t be emphasized enough that it is less physical than ice hockey. Skating on ice is scary enough for me. Equally, I feel for someone like me who is familiar with football, it would be a very quick sport to grasp in comparison to ice hockey.
Still have to learn how to ice skate.
Whilst my descriptions of the other sports have been far from stellar I can at least say that the descriptions given by their respective governing bodies and tutorial websites are neither clear nor succinct. On the other hand with kabaddi there is a rather clear definition from Yogems.com “[It is] played between two teams of seven players, the objective of the game is for a single player on offence, referred to as a “raider”, to run into the opposing team’s half of a court, tag out as many of their defenders as possible, and return to their own half of the court, all without being tackled by the defenders, and in a single breath.” Based on the YouTube videos I have watched, it seems like a much more intense and fun version of capture the flag.
One of the most intense sports I have ever watched on YouTube. Both an ultimate team sport, but as “the raider”, players have the opportunity to show great individual flair.
Stretches cardiovascular ability to the absolute limit.
Like my essays, I will now try and turn this fairly loose trail of thought into some kind of deeper idea. Whilst this has been quite light hearted, fairly vague, and experts may say I have over generalized and stereotyped in describing each sport, I think the key thing to take away is that there are a vast number of sports in this world, so it’s worth exploring beyond the mainstream within your country or region.