Sports to Give Up before You Begin

As you sit on your sofa just a few weeks after the New Year with a glass of wine in one hand, and the tatters of your New Year’s resolutions in the other, take heart in the fact that there are sports out there that you can give up on without regret because, for a start, you’ve probably never heard of them.

There are people out there climbing mountains and chasing waterfalls, and if you are one of them-ten points- but for the rest of us, here are 3 sports you can forget about becoming Age Champion in without batting an eyelid.

Number One – Trouser-Grip Glima

Before we begin, here is your uniform.

If that has piqued your interest, here are some details. This sport started in Iceland, and they were holding ‘championships’ as early as 1888.

Essentially it is wrestling, but there are some rules which make it…. unique.

Firstly, you are not really supposed to look directly at your opponent because the sport is supposed to be done by ‘feel’. For this reason, the two combatants will be looking over each other’s shoulders for most of the bout.

Next, you need to circle each other clockwise. I’m sure there is an excellent reason for this, I can’t find one, but let’s go with ‘historical significance’.

Also, each wrestler needs to try and stay on their feet as much as possible, and they need to stand up as straight as possible.

Throwing yourself at your opponent and sitting or lying on them is VERY bad form, and Trouser-Grip Glima is all about being decent and honourable.

To win, you need to bodily pick up your opposition by grabbing their trousers (if they are wearing any) or that swanky belt uniform and slamming him into the frozen tundra- or maybe ice, given the terrain.

If they land on their feet or hands, you have failed and everyone needs to stand back up straight and try again. If, however, they land on their knees, belly, back or, God forbid, their head, you have won.

Number Two- Buzkashi

If you’ve been stuck at home for a lot of the past two years, you may have asked yourself, what are goats up to these days?

The answer may be ‘avoiding Buzkashi’.

Buzkashi is very popular in countries like Afghanistan, Kazakhstan and Tajikistan, but even the goats there probably hate it.

The reason is that Buzkashi is a kind of horseback polo where the objective is to get a goat carcass (or a calf if goats are out of stock) through the goal posts. Like soccer, only even less vegan.

To be fair, this sport has been around for…cough…donkeys ages. It was started by nomadic Asian tribes in China and Mongolia between the 10th and 15th centuries, and little has changed. Basically, you need two teams of exceptional riders, some fearless ponies, two fairly hardy goal post areas and a dead animal to catch and throw.

The premise is simple enough, get the dead beastie through your goal more times than the other team. In case you think this may be a fringe sport, there are 32 PROFESSIONAL Buzkashi teams in Southern Kazakhstan alone.

There is a World Governing body, too, so don’t think anyone can just get on a horse and start throwing carcasses around and call themselves a professional. This is a sport that requires the correct paperwork for the players, the horses, and at least one deceased goat.

Number Three- Kabaddi

Kabaddi is the national sport of Bangladesh. Unless you are a Kabaddi fan, or Bangladeshi, do not feel bad if you have never heard of it, even though it is played in the Asian Games.

It’s quite regionally specific, which seems like a shame.

Essentially, this is a giant game of ‘tip’, ‘tag’ or (if you are lucky) ‘kiss-chase’, but with proper uniforms and sponsors.

KOLKATA, WEST BENGAL, INDIA – 2017/09/02: Bengal Worriers (blue jersey) and UP Yoddha (brown jersey) players in action during the Pro Kabaddi League match on September 2, 2017 in Kolkata. (Photo by Saikat Paul/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)

It also looks a LOT MORE athletic than any game of ‘tag’ you played in school. The idea is essentially the same as the rules you know. One team tries to get to the other end of a space without getting touched or tackled. Then the roles reverse. You can ‘tip’ or ‘tag’ someone with any part of your body.

There is something in the rules about ‘getting to the safe place all in one breath’, but there is no mention of how that is monitored, and given the acrobatics of the players, and the seriousness of some of the tackles, I’m not even sure if that is possible.

Described wryly as ‘a contact sport’…no kidding…Kabaddi is hugely popular in parts of India as well. It looks like the type of pastime that Dentists love and Head Trauma Specialists dread. It’s also another sport you can cross of your ‘not to do’ list for 2022.


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