In America, with our top four sports competing for our hearts and souls, it’s easy to forget that there is a whole wide world of games that occupy the rest of the people on this globe. Maybe we could find a new national pastime in this list of sports that should be played more in the U.S. So, get out there and play!
Popular throughout Southeast Asia, Sepak Takraw is truly a kicker’s game. It is very similar to volleyball in that each side has three “touches” to get the ball back over the net but, without using their hands. Think soccer-hacky sack with all of the gravity-defying kicks performed throughout.
Originating from Japan, Yabusame was a part of Samurai training that honed the archery marksmanship of a horse-mounted warrior. In modern times, it is an exciting sport that challenges the rider’s ability to be pin-point accurate with a bow while controlling a galloping horse with only their knees.
A mix of basketball and polo, this Argentinian game has the horse riders trying to get a ball (with eight small rope handles used for passing) into their opponent’s net. Pato is no doubt a model for Harry Potter’s Quidditch.
This sport, from India, is like a reverse form of tug-of-war in that the objective is to push your opponent out of a circle using the rod as leverage. Might as well throw some sumo wrestling references in there as well.
Also from India, Kho Kho is a grander-scale game of tag. A team of nine “tagees” kneel in the middle of a rectangular playing field. The opposing team has three “taggers” try to touch all nine in the shortest amount of time. The “tagees” avoid being touched for as long as they can. Each game has two innings and the team with the lowest time wins.
The Spanish game of Jai Alai is very similar to racquetball but with much different hand gear. A very hard ball is served (at speeds of up to 180 MPH) from a long, curved basket-type glove and the opposing team has one bounce to retrieve and then fling the ball back to the wall in one continuous motion. The ball stays in play until it is either missed or goes out of bounds.
This form of gymnastics, which uses a vertical wooden pole, originates from India. It is a true measure of strength, agility, endurance, and even some contortionism.
We all love to watch people racing but, on stilts? Absolutely! This sport, from China, seems to guarantee a set of super-sore feet afterwards.
Dragon Boat Racing
Here’s another ancient sport from China. Similar to sculling, a team rows in unison to best other opponents. Dragon boats usually have 18 or 20 rowers who test their endurance, strength and teamwork during each race. Oh and don’t forget a big old beating drum to synchronize oar pulls. We like it a lot!