7 Hilarious Sports That Never Really Took Off August 19, 2016

by Will Carroll Our Stories
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    With a certain world sporting event taking place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil this month we thought we would take a look at 7 less popular sports that not everybody around the globe is familiar with. In particular sports that are so hilariously ridiculous it’s a wonder how anybody ever came up with the idea or even thought to participate. However having said that in our expert opinion we think a few members of the Fresh Farm might just possibly have what it takes to become world champions themselves…

    7. Extreme Ironing

    No this isn’t something that takes place in your kitchen on a Saturday night, after you’ve had a few drinks, preparing for a night out on the tiles, meticulously concentrating not to burn your face off and get that garment oh so crease free. This in fact is a sport created in England where participants take their ironing board and iron along to remote places mainly of natural beauty. The Extreme Ironing Bureau, yes there is one, describes the activity as “the latest danger sport that combines the thrills of an extreme outdoor activity with the satisfaction of a well-pressed shirt.” Just about says it all doesn’t it, here we have a sport for the more forward thinking, domesticated nutter. ‘Yes I want to risk my life climbing that massive scary rock thing, but I’ve just remembered I’ve got to iron my shirts for work on Monday’, well why not do both! There’s even a break away rival group that call themselves Urban Housework who as well as ironing are trying to vacuum in extreme places. You wouldn’t want to find yourself in the middle of these two when they meet, I imagine it would be the tidiest altercation you have ever seen. Although Extreme Ironing isn’t renowned around the world it is rather well travelled and garments have been extremely pressed from New Zealand all the way to Germany and on such landmarks as Mount Everest, Mount Rushmore and the M1 motorway. So what type of person does it take to master extreme ironing? Well, you need to be fearless, have a love for the great outdoors and be somewhat of a domestic goddess. There can only be one man for this recreation at HelloFresh, Customer Cares very own Josh Henderson. We’ve all seen his immaculately pressed shorts that he flaunts regularly around the office and in a few weeks he is embarking on an extreme camper-van tour of England and Wales. So how about it Josh? Take your iron with you and give us a snap of you working away on your smalls up Snowdonia! Just be careful not to slip up or you could end up leaving yourself a little red faced…literally!


    6. Yak racing

    The Yak, one of the most sure footed animals to grace the world; they enjoy trips to mountains hanging about in herds and a good square meal of grass and shrubbery. They are heavily built with a bulky frame, sturdy short legs and rounded cloven hooves. Why anybody would ever want to race one is beyond me, but for all of you racing fans out there here is a little known sport that is very popular in Tibet, China, Mongolia and Kazakhstan. In Tibet it usually brings a close to the Tibetan horse festival and the Chinese use it for comical value at a number of festivals. So what exactly does Yak racing consist of, well much the same as horse racing participant’s saddle up and race against each other over a distance usually measuring around 2000m. There are on average around 30-40 contestants although in some races there can be as many as 150 starters, the winner is the one who can complete the course in the shortest time however this is usually easier said than done. Unsurprisingly and like Patrick’s hair, Yak’s are very difficult to tame and so take great pleasure in trying to unseat their jockey. They also enjoy a good old fight, no not the jockeys the Yaks, so mostly end up charging into one another and the actual race becomes inconsequential. Instead you are left with two bovid ramming into each other, have I sold you the sport yet? Here’s the deal maker, Yaks are not renowned for their cardio vascular fitness and so if by some miracle you manage to steer your Yak to the finish line, it will almost certainly be walking by the time it gets there. What an anti-climax. The most interesting part of the race appears to be the way in which jockey and Yak are dressed. Both are covered in colourful silks and ribbons and symbols of good luck. If you are lucky enough to win your race then fame awaits and jockeys are treated with great respect and the Yaks given ‘extra special treatment’ I’m not too sure exactly what this extra special treatment is although I’d like to imagine it’s an all-inclusive trip for two to Tenerife…maybe not then. This is definitely a sport for a thrill seeker, somebody who is no stranger to danger and enjoys the odd bit of fame. They must also be small but compact and no stranger to riding and taming a beast. There’s only one man amongst us with those qualities, Customer Cares answer to Tom Cruise, our amdram loving Peter Shimmin. Here’s a fun fact for you as a youngster Peter was Isle of Mann rocking horse champion four years running. There really is nobody I would rather see bobbing up and down on a Yak with that trademark grin of his, so saddle up Peter you’re in for the ride of your life!


    5. Cardboard Tube Duelling

    Robert Easley of Seattle, Washington, had fond memories of fashioning swords from cardboard tubes and play fighting his friends as a young boy. Not satisfied with leaving his childhood behind like so many of us ‘losers’ do, yes Robert it’s called growing up, he instead decided to create The Cardboard Tube Fighting League (CTFL) in 2007. No, Robert does not have a girlfriend, but does spend most of his spare time “training elite militias of cardboard tube wielding ninjas” he’s basically cardboard combats answer to Gengis Khan. So how does this all work I hear you cry? It’s rather simple actually; the CTFL host tournaments where 48 participants turn up and play 1 v 1 rounds of straight knock out. Both players go at each other with their cardboard swords until one breaks the others. After this the player whose tube has broken is out and the victor is through to the next round. This goes on until round 4 where there are 2 lots of 3 player “chaos” rounds. Oooh chaos indeed, after this round there are only two warriors left and they battle it out with tubes and added cardboard shields until the death, or when your tube has snapped. On the official CTFL website it reads that there may be fewer rounds depending on participants and I would hazard a guess that 9 times out of 10 this is the case. As you would imagine Robert also made some particular rules for cardboard fighting, tube swords must be 1.5 inches in diameter and 36 inches in length. No stabbing or lunging is allowed and attacking the face is ‘highly frowned upon’. Participants are also asked to dress up in cardboard costumes and theatrics are encouraged. The world of cardboard tube fighting has surprisingly gone international with tournaments being held in Australia and more recently England, the UK CTFL headquarters can be found in Bristol. In what appears to be a fairly simple sport a love of cardboard is surely a must here, some form of inner anger bursting to get out may help and good hand eye coordination is a must. I can only think of one person among us who may have to capabilities to successfully wield a cardboard tube, our office assistant Emily D. Don’t be fooled, Emily D isn’t all smiles and blue eyes! Behind that pretty face lies an insatiable temper hence why this may just be the sport for her. She can even use the office recycling to craft her weapons out of and if anybody puts food in the waste again you better be ready for her to use it on you! Something tells me Emily may be taking a trip to Bristol very soon.

    4. Wife Carrying (Eukonkanto)

    Straight in at number 6 is a sport born in Finland where contestants must carry their wife, or somebody else’s if this floats your boat, around a 253.5m track whilst faced with various obstacles. The sport is rumoured to have been started in the 1800s by a Finnish outlaw and his gang who set upon villages quite simply stealing women and carrying them off in order to make them their own wives. Yes, Finland in the 1800’s sounds like a night out in Hull, but moving on these days there are quite specific rules that participants must adhere to. Every partaker must enjoy themselves so the forced carry is banished you’ll be pleased to hear. The female being carried must also wear a helmet and a belt must be worn by the man, safety first eh guys! There is a world championships fiercely contested every year where the winners are found by completing the course in the shortest time. Wife carrying is branching out globally though and competitions have taken place in Australia, The USA and in India where the event is called ‘Bhaaryaasametham’, roughly translated to ‘with your wife’ however gentlemen may find themselves easily without their wife if they drop their partner. Now of course there are some specific attributes that somebody must possess in order to become a success in the world of wife carrying, the most important surely is having a women willing to participate and to be honest this sounds like a challenge in itself. You must also be strong and nimble on your toes as well. Having weighed the situation up and having seen his fancy footwork in and out of the chairs in the customer care office Jonny Magill fits the bill perfectly. There’s a few of us out there who wouldn’t mind participating with Jonny either having seen those shoulders definitely built for comfort. But Jonny please remember nobody outside of Finland and Estonia has won the world championships so get your wife and take her on a cheeky weekend away to a Scandinavian host country next year. See the lovely scenery, the history of the land and carry your missus 200 odd metres for a chance to go down in wife carrying folk lore. At least she won’t be able to say you never take her anywhere!


    3. Worm Charming

    Yes this is a sport, although I use the word sport very loosely. But by all accounts taming worms from below the earth and collecting them is a rather popular past time that has existed for centuries. Whilst worm charming was historically used as a profession to collect worms to sell as bait it is mostly practised these days as a competition, although professional charmers do still exist. The World Worm Charming Championships have taken place annually in Willaston, England, in the month of June since 1980. No I’ve never heard of Willaston either, so worm charming has really failed to put it on the map. The world record amazingly was set by a 10 year old in 2009. Sophie Smith stunned the worm charming world when she managed to collect 567 of the wriggly creatures, an effort that has not been matched since. The rules of the championship are like the participants, rather simple. You get a plot of earth 3 metres by 3 metres, a 5 minute warm up period is allowed then 15 minutes to collect as many worms as possible. Teams mostly consist of 3 people, charmer, catcher and collector and once caught the worms must be returned to the ground. If I were a worm eating bird I know where’d I’d be taking my summer holiday each year. There are a few different methods that patrons of the sport use to coax the worms including charming, fiddling and grunting. The latter of which involves making a low grunting noise whilst rubbing an iron over a wooden stake that is lodged in the ground. It is said that the vibrations sent through the earth mimic those of a mole digging and so not wanting to be eaten the worms come above ground. In fact all the techniques used to entice the worms involve making the earth vibrate so there has to be some method to the madness. Some contestants actually believe they have a spiritual power and put the worms under spells in order to bring them above ground; these contestants have also been known to leave competitions wearing straitjackets and taken away in padded ambulances. Now then, a worm charming specialist must be able to make persistent and loud vibrations. I’ve never actually heard Head of Operations, Rose Chaffe, lose her temper personally but I have been told that when she spits venom it sounds like a cross between a grizzly bear and Phil Mitchell. A grunt to make the hairs on your neck stand up and definitely a few worms. Whether or not the spiritual side of charming worms is true or not I’m sure Rose could give it a go. If I was a worm I would do whatever the she told me to, heck as a human I’m completely in her power. Just one look into those steely eyes and I would kiss the backside of a donkey if she told me to. I’d even listen to one of Nick Kyriacou from Customer Cares songs, equally both hellish and something that only nightmares are made of surely. All jokes a side she is extraordinarily charming herself and has no problem charming our couriers so a few worms would be nothing to her. She is also extremely determined and hard working so if she can’t beat a 10 year old then she needs a serious word with herself.

    2. World Beard and Moustache Championships.

    Step inside any hipster cafe in Shoredicth these days and you will see a whole bunch of potential contenders for this sport, most probably drinking some strange Kale based drink from a jam jar, But don’t be fooled, this is not an activity for the impatient or the feint hearted and could take years to master. Since 2004 The World Beard and Moustache Championships have taken place biennially, men are judged on highly styled facial hair with a wide range of titles up for grabs. Participants compete in three brackets, best moustache, best partial beard and best full beard. These brackets are then broken up into sub categories and at the 2015 championships there were 18 titles to be won. The most competitive category, apparently, is the full beard freestyle contest where the biggest, fullest beard will prevail! This is the ultimate lazy mans sport, you literally have to do nothing at all just sit back and let your beard take over your life. Of course, as you can imagine, there are draw backs and a serious amount of dedication is needed to go through the daily strain of having a big massive hairy thing on your face. Eating becomes an effort as well as maintaining the thing in the first place. It appears that attracting members of the opposite sex can be difficult as well, although it is rumoured that a good beard can take a fella from a 6 to a solid 8 most women don’t appreciate a man who looks like he has a house cat on his chin. So who do we think has what it takes from the Fresh Farm to be a potential winner at next years championships in Austin, Texas? There can only be one contender and although our resident Chef doesn’t allow his beard to grow out too long, with coverage like Patrick’s you can only describe his beard game as very strong. It is rumoured that once Patrick auditioned for an advert for a male shaving product but had to be knocked back as his facial hair was too perfect and gave men an unobtainable image of how a beard should look. Why not try your hand at this then Mr Drake? With some hard work, dedication and the odd facial rash you could become a cult hero in beard growing. When it gets really long you could even tease it into cooking shaped items! Let’s be honest how many chefs are out there who can claim to have won at the biennial beard growing world championships, this is the niche you’ve been waiting for.

    1. Ferret Legging

    Ferret Legging has existed for centuries and there are multiple claims to where and how it started. Some say ferrets were hidden down trousers when owning one was mostly illegal and hence the sport was started, others say it came about in public houses where punters would bet on who could keep a ferret down the longest. Whatever the source all you need to know about the sport is this. You find yourself a baggy pair of trousers, tie your trouser at the ankles, get two ferrets and put them in your strides before fastening your belt tight. You then stand in front of judges for as long as you can take the creatures scratching and biting your legs and….other areas. It must be noted that participants can not wear underwear or be under the influence of alcohol, how anybody would actually agree to taking part in this without being off their face is beyond me. The sport is said to involve little to no actual skill only the ability to “have your tool bitten and not care” and yes ferrets are renowned for having razor sharp teeth and claws, ouch. Made popular by Yorkshire miners again in the 1970’s, don’t Yorkshire men just know how to live, the world record was broken multiple times and now stands at a toe curling five hours and thirty minutes set by Frank Bartlett and Christine Farnsworth in 2010. Notoriety was really drawn to the sport by a certain Reg Mellor from Barnsley who is infamously known as The King of the Ferret Leggers. Here is a man who in years past has lived for ferret legging and even started wearing white trousers so watchers could “see the blood better” I’ll just let that sink in a minute…Participants unsurprisingly then must be no stranger to pain, have lots of room for activities in their trousers and have a love for ferrets. Now given the fact that I have never seen a man rock such a baggy trouser before in my life, and rock it remarkably well I must add, Marketing’s Freddy Ward may already be a closet Ferret Legger. If he’s not though then somebody needs to get him up to Yorkshire as soon as possible as there’s a record to be broken. He’s definitely got the pain threshold to succeed at this sport as he’s managed to spend all these years with Patrick in his ear. Freddy once told me that he actually comes from a long line of ferret handlers and in Scotland the Wards are renowned ferret whisperers. What do you recon Freddy? I’ll get the cable ties, you bring your favourite pair of baggy jeans, we all know the ones and meet me down the pet shop. There’s a new ferret legging sheriff in town.


    So there we have it 7 hilariously ridiculous sports that are still practised around the world today.