Under the radar sports

Three of the coolest sports you’ve never heard of — until now

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photo of a game of Kabaddi.
PHOTO: Tehmasip Khan / Pexels

By: Saije Rusimovici, Staff Writer

  1. Bossaball: volleyball on a trampoline 

This relatively new sport originating in Brazil requires tons of athleticism and a love for trampolines. Founded in Spain by Belgian entrepreneur Filip Eyckmans, bossaball combines the technical and physical skills of soccer, gymnastics, and volleyball. Inspired by the Afro-Brazilian capoeira (a form of dancing), Eyckmans created a sport that is “a fusion of different body techniques.” The former pro tennis player-turned-band manager combined music and sport into a game that is played on a massive inflatable field. Players on teams of three–five attempt to score points by getting the ball to drop on the opposition’s side, just like in volleyball. However, the players do this by jumping to kick or hit the ball with any part of their body. Because of the change in gravity and the bounceback given by the trampoline that is safe to land on, players can do really cool tricks that would be impossible on solid ground.  

2. Bo-taoshi: vertical tug-of-war 

Translating to “bring the pole down,” this game is played by cadets of Japan’s National Defense Academy. The goal of the game is to get the opposing team’s pole to an angle of at least 35 degrees from the ground with physical force. The poles are extremely large, and therefore the teams must be too. Each team consists of 75 people, divided into different offensive or defensive roles such as pole support (who keeps the pole stationary), interference (who defends against attacks), ninjas (who are the sole team members at the very top of the pole), and pole attackers (who try to knock off the ninjas), among various other positions. This game is incredibly difficult and requires both strength and strategy. 

  1. Kabaddi: capture-the-flag, minus the flag

Kabaddi originated in ancient India and requires seven players for each team. The goal of the game is to score the most points by sending one player into the opposition’s side. The player can score points by touching members of the opposition, sending them out of the game. When defending, players can also score points by capturing the single “raider” of the opposition’s team before the time is up, forcing them to retreat back to their side. Raiders can earn bonus points by reaching the opposition’s bonus line without getting caught. Players must be strategic, strong, and agile in order to win the game. A great thing about this game is that a field can be created anywhere simply by measuring out a space and drawing a line down the middle to divide two sides. 

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