One thing that we love about the Olympic Games is that they bring many sports and athletes into the spotlight that are far less publicized and appreciated around the world. During the Olympics, we take a break from watching baseball, basketball, and football and focus our attention on activities like swimming, gymnastics, and track & field.
However, even the Olympics cannot encompass every sport or every unique athletic activity that may be found around the world. We compiled this list to bring to light a few lesser-known sports, and to give you an idea of some activities you may find yourself enjoying when you go abroad with World Endeavors!
1. Sepak Takraw (Thailand, Laos, Malaysia, the Philippines, Myanmar, Vietnam)
If you’ve ever had a passion for volleyball and soccer but couldn’t choose between the two, this unique sport found in Southeast Asia may be the event for you. Played on teams of three across a 5-foot-tall net, the aim of the game is to spark a volley and score against the other team using rules very similar to volleyball. Here is the kicker: you can only use your feet! This calls for some pretty interesting footwork and athletic ability, and players often resort to ninja-like flips and other moves to pass the wicker ball across the net.
2. Cricket (Australia, South Africa, India, Sri Lanka, and more)
Originating in England and probably most similar to baseball, this sport is played around the world and has found great success. However, it has only been played at the Olympics once, in the year 1900 during the Paris Olympics. In the game, teams of 11 players each go head to head on a large field with a rectangular pitching area in the center, with the goal of scoring runs against the other team. To start a play, the bowler (or pitcher) delivers a throw towards the striker (or batter), whose job it is to defend the wooden stump in the striker position and to hti the ball away and score a run.
3. Cheese Rolling (England)
Found almost exclusively at Cooper’s Hill in England, this traditional and potentially dangerous sport is a pastime for the citizens of this area and involves making your way down a hill and chasing a wheel of cheese–through whatever means possible. The cheese in question is typically a wheel of 7-9 lb. Double Gloucester, which is packaged and decorated before the competition so as not to damage the prized cheese. The cheese itself can reach speeds up to 70 miles per hour, and it gets about a one second head start before the competitors are allowed to run–or roll–after the cheese and down the hill.
4. Capoeira (Brazil)
Practiced in Brazil and thought to originate in the Congo region of West Africa, this unique sport is a mixture of martial arts, acrobatics, dance, and music. With the use of the upper and lower bodies, Capoeira artists create a flow of movements in an artfully crafted attack motion, often synergizing with the rhythm of the music and the feeling of the crowd. Artists act both offensively and defensively, but forceful physical contact is often avoided as the game is more focused on skill than on defeat. Fascinating to watch, you are sure to be witness to this energetic activity while volunteering abroad in Brazil!
5. Quidditch (Worldwide)
Although this fictional game originated in the Harry Potter book series by British author J.K. Rowling, it caught on quickly to popular culture and is now practiced around the world in clubs, at universities, and amongst friends. The game involves teams of seven players each, who have different roles during the game to defend, score, and seek. Similar to the book series, the game is played on broomstick, making it a very interesting sight to watch and a fun activity to be a part of. Although it will likely never find itself in the Olympics, it is an enjoyable activity to be a part of and it is one of the fastest growing clubs sports in the world.
Although none of the above sporting activities are found in the Olympics, they are still played and appreciated all over the world. Which one are you most excited to try?
Are you ready to start your journey to go abroad? Apply today and get started interning, volunteering, or studying abroad with World Endeavors!
Posted by World Endeavors on August 13, 2016
World Endeavors believes that international travel has the power to change lives, broaden horizons, and deepen intercultural understanding. The world is undergoing rapid changes, with societies becoming more interconnected and environmentally aware; at the same time a more challenging global economy inspires in many a need to reach out and make a positive difference while seeking personal growth opportunities. There has never been a better time than now to travel abroad.