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Five weird sports around the world

All around the world you’ll find locals playing games you’ve probably never seen or even heard of. Here are a few.

Dodgeball

You may remember this sport from the 2004 movie Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story, starring Ben Stiller, Christine Taylor and Vince Vaughn, but in the US there’s also a 24-team strong professional league. The purpose of the game is to hit a member of the opposing team with a ball and avoid getting hit yourself. The number of players can vary, but in the National Dodgeball League, the games are played as four a-side.

Played in: US, Sweden, UK, Italy and France

Photo: Lassi Karvonen

Pesäpallo

Finland’s national sport is a variation of baseball, developed in Finland in the 1920s. In the Finnish version, a pitcher throws his pitch straight up for the batter to hit.

Played in: Finland

Chess boxing

Competitors alternate boxing rounds with chess – six rounds of chess and five of boxing, making a total of 11 three-minute rounds. The current world champion is Sven Rouch of the Chess Boxing Club, Berlin, the oldest in the world.

Played in: Germany, UK, India and Russia

Sepak Takraw

The easiest way to describe this Southeast Asian sport is “kick volleyball.” In other words, it’s like volleyball, but instead of using their hands to pass the ball and hit it over the net, in Sepak they’re not allowed to do so. According to historical evidence, the game was played in the 15th century’s Malacca Sultanate of Malaysia.

Played in: Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and the Philippines

Bosseln

Like soccer in its early days, this ball sport is played with slightly different rules depending on where you are in Central Europe. In the Northern Germany version, a team of players rolls the heavy rubber ball on fields or along a small county road as far as they can, towards a finish line that can be several kilometers away. As soon as the ball hits a ditch, it’s the next team’s turn. For many social players, beer is a key component of the game.

Played in: Germany, Switzerland, Italy and the Netherlands

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