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THE BIG LIST: Sporting spectacles

Friday 2 March 2012, 04:38PM

Gone are the days of bare knuckle brawling, gladiatorial bloodbaths, and Himalayan bear wrestling. But for those still yearning for more violence in their sport, read on:

 High voltage:

Because Ultimate Tazer Ball (see below left) and Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) are really just for pussies, why not up the ante by combining the two? Michael Alexander did just that, sewing three-million-volt tasers into the gloves of guys already guys already punching and kicking the hell out of each other. Alexander describes
Shockfighting as “putting true warriors in a ring, against each other with three million volts of electricity charging out. Winner takes all.” We’re not sure what the “all” the
winner takes is, but frankly, we don’t want to.

 Kite runner:

For people who want to get in the air but aren’t coordinated enough to attempt hang gliding or buying plane tickets, kite jumping is probably the best start. But the recipe for kite jumping is as simple as the recipe for disaster: A comically oversized kite and you, trying not to die when it inevitably snatches you up into the sky. It is considered one of the riskier forms of kiting, an achievement that may seem comparable to being the most hardcore knitter in the Woolly Sock Club, until you actually see it in action.

 Armed hold-up:

XARM is a combat sport that is equal parts every Stallone movie ever made, the arm-wrestling of Over The Top and the pugilism of Rocky with the futuristic spandex of Judge Dredd. A fighter’s waist is chained to a 28” by 16” table, and his left hand his taped to his opponent’s. Contestants have three one-minute bouts to pin their opponent’s arm or pummel him into a coma – whichever happens first.
 Crazy Celts: Hurling is a uniquely Irish sport which appears to be a hybrid of field hockey, soccer, football and unremitting, pants-wetting terror. The game is played with axe-like sticks called hurleys or ‘camáns’ and a small, hard ball. Two teams, each with 15 Irishmen of questionable mental stability, attempt to score goals by smacking the ball as hard as possible, at head height and at terrifying speeds.

 Need for speed:

A game played in an open-walled arena where a rock-hard ball is hurled against the wall at speeds in excess of 300 kph, Jai-Alai is a game the Basque call “the fastest sport on Earth”, because they apparently haven’t heard of Formula One. The game is played like squash, but a version that could only have been dreamed up by sun-damaged Spaniards, with players slinging the ball at a wall using a specially designed wicker basket with a curved glove attached.

 Raiders of the lost pants:

An Indian team game, which is an official sport at the Asian Games, Kabaddi calls itself a cross between tag and wrestling, which is true, because it’s a lot like tag, and it does feature lots of sweating men in underwear. Two teams of 12 face each other on a court. One team sends a raider into the opponents territory, who must not draw breath whilst he is there. The raider’s job is to ‘tag’ his opponents and get out without being caught. Traditional garb for teams is socks and boxer shorts, or sometimes just briefs.

 Iron man:

Whether it’s standing on a mountain or in a cave, hanging off a cliff, driving on a motorway, flying through the air, jetting on the water, skiing down a hill or simply standing on a sidewalk in Times Square – Extreme Ironing is a sport that takes the once mundane task of ironing clothes to a whole new level. Housework will never be the same again.



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