Interesting Sports, Outdoor & Backyard Games
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3 Interesting Sports You Won’t Believe Exists

There comes a time when a husband may carry his wife. One such occasion is carrying her over the threshold when returning to their home after getting married. You may be surprised to learn that there is actually a sport of Wife Carrying.

How many of you play or watch soccer on television or in person. It is popular to watch especially during the summer Olympics. However, would you play and/or watch Ice Soccer?

If you live in a house and love to garden, then you probably use a wheelbarrow from time to time. You may or may not be aware that there is a sport called Wheelbarrow Racing. Although one form of Wheelbarrow Racing involves racing wheelbarrows, there is another form that involves teams of two people each and requires one person to hold the legs of the other and for the person who’s legs are being held to walk on his hands as his teammate guides him.

All of these activities sound unbelievable to actually be sports, but they are. Here are their histories and the rules of play.

Ice Soccer

Similar to the sport of soccer (also known as football) except it is played on ice, Ice Soccer involves two teams of nine players each. The purpose of the game is to kick the boot’r™ into a goal to achieve a score. The boot’r is a substitute for a soccer ball that is weighted and shaped to offer a sweet spot that permits easy control on ice. The game is played on indoor ice arenas, outdoor ice surfaces comparable in size to indoor ice arenas, or on frozen lakes, ponds, and flooded then frozen backyards.

History

Inuit in Alaska have been playing a form of soccer or football on ice that they call Aqsaqtuk (which means soccer on ice). Although no one knows for sure how long they have been playing the game, there is mention of it in the myths and legends of the Inuit for hundreds of years. The Inuit believe that the spirits of their dead travel to the northern lights where they play an eternal game of ice football (or soccer) using the head of a walrus as the ball.

Taylor Sports and Recreation, Martinsburg, West Virginia created Ice Soccer™, a website that promotes the sport and assists in the creation of teams and leagues.

Highlights in the history of ice soccer include:

  • 1987 – First ice soccer game to use a crude, heavy burlap bag stuffed with scraps of cloth instead of a soccer ball or other item – forerunner of the boot’r.
  • February 20, 2005 – First organized ice soccer game at Colgate University to use a boot’r.
  • February 5, 2009 – The Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) officially recognize ice soccer as a legitimate, registered AAU sport.
  • August 9, 2010 – The Michigan Recreation & Parks Association (MRPA) endorses ice soccer.
  • January 21, 2011 – Taylor Sports and Recreation, supplier of outdoor recreational products, introduces ice soccer to the United Arab Emirates.
  • January 12, 2012 – Ice soccer is offered as an ongoing option for kids in the Farmington Hills, Michigan Middle School as an after-school program.
  • February 9, 2012 – Ice soccer is presented during the Michigan Recreation & Parks Association Annual Conference.

Equipment

Items needed to play ice soccer include:

  • The Boot’r
  • Regular treaded winter footwear with well-defined and substantial toe box or hi-traction-on-ice shoe-boots
  • Helmet
  • Elbow and knee pads
  • Hip girdle with “tail bone” protector

Goalie equipment includes:

  • Above gear
  • Face guard on helmet
  • Shin guards
  • Chest protector and heavy gloves

Rules Of The Game

The game is 30 to 60 minutes long and is played by two teams of nine players each for the adult classification or 10 players each for the youth classification including one goalie, six slammers (offense) or blockers (defense), and two backers (three for youth classification). The purpose of the game is to score points by kicking the boot’r into the opposing team’s goal. Each goal counts as one point. The team with the most points when time runs out is the winner.

The slammers play within the opponent’s defensive zone marked by a blue line and the blockers play in their own defensive zone and try to prevent the opponent’s slammers from scoring as they try to regain possession of the boot’r. As boot’r possession changes, any one or two of the slammers or blockers can become a back as long as two players of each team remain as backs. Two players (three players for the youth classification) from each team must stay behind the defensive blue line, but can “fast break” if the defensive team regains possession of the boot’r and the two offensive backs become defensemen. Once the boot’r clears the defensive blue line, the offensive back can pass it to the slammers already inside the defensive blue line.

Offside occur when a back (offense or defense) crosses the defensive blue line. An offensive team offside results in loss of possession while a defensive team offside infraction results in a penalty kick. However, if the offensive goalie advances to between the centerline and the defensive blue line, an offensive back (or the goalie) can cross the defensive blue line without a penalty and become the seventh slammer. Offside is not determined by the position of the boot’r relative to the position of any player or to a player crossing any line markings before the boot’r crosses the markings.

The goalie is the only player who can use his hands and forearms to catch, stop, redirect or throw the boot’r when in the goalie’s box unless another player is in-bounding the boot’r. A goalie outside the goalie box is treated as any other player.

Penalties are called for:

  • Heading
  • Checking or action blocking
  • Clipping
  • Slide Tackling
  • Boarding
  • Tripping
  • Aerobatic Kicking
  • Holding

Wheelbarrow Racing

Wheelbarrow Racing is a team sport that requires one player to hold the legs of the second player as the second player walks on his or her hands across a surface. The setup resembles a person pushing a wheelbarrow, thus the name Wheelbarrow Racing. The team that crosses the finish line first wins the race.

History

Documents and photographs at the National Archives in Kew London, England verify that British soldiers on the Western Front during World War I competed in wheelbarrow races during a sports day on October 31, 1917 near Ypres, Belgium to help boost morale of the troops.

On September 9, 2008 a wheelbarrow race team consisting of Josh McCormack (the wheelbarrow) and Arjuna Benson (the pusher) set the Guinness world record for a human wheelbarrow racing team at 14.87 seconds at the sports campus of Carey Baptist Grammar School, in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. At the time, Josh was 16 years old and Arjuna was 15.

On November 6, 2009, the largest human wheelbarrow race was held in Armidale, NSW, Australia in an event organized for Guinness World Records Day and included 1,554 participants or a total of 777 pairs.

Rules Of The Game

Wheelbarrow Racing involves two teams or more of two players each. One player (known as the pusher) holds the legs of the second player (known as the wheelbarrow), who uses his or her hands to race across the course. The racecourse is about 25-feet long running from the starting line to the finish line.

Teams line up behind the starting line. The event leader shouts, “One, two, three, go!” and each pair of competitors race until they cross the finish line. Then they must switch positions (the pusher becomes the wheelbarrow and the wheelbarrow becomes the pusher) and the duo must then race the course again back to the starting line. The team that crosses the starting line first wins.

Wife Carrying

Wife Carrying is a racing sport that involves a man running an obstacle course while carrying a woman teammate. The couple that finishes the course first is the winner.

History

The sport originated in Finland and is said to have started in one of three ways. Two of the three stories are based on a roaming gang of thieves.

The first fable suggests that the thieves stole food and women from the villages in the region where they lived, then carried the women on their backs as they ran away.

The second story suggests that young men would go to villages near where they lived and steal other men’s wives and carry them on their backs as they ran to their own village.

The third tale suggests that the gang of thieves carried big, heavy sacks on their backs to become faster and stronger.

Currently, the contest is popular worldwide in such countries as Australia, the United States, Hong Kong, Estonia, and the United Kingdom and more. It is a category in the Guinness Book of Records.

World Wife Carrying Championships are held annually in Australia since 2005, and at Sunday River Ski Resort in Newry, Maine on Columbus Day every year. The U.S. finals are held the second weekend of July in Menahga, Minnesota. Other major Wife Carrying Races are held in Monona and Minocqua, Wisconsin and Marquette, Michigan. The Midwest Wife Carrying Championship is held at the Finn Fest at Simmons Park in Frederick, South Dakota.

Equipment

Items necessary for the game of Wife Carrying includes:

  • A belt worn by the carrier
  • A helmet worn by the carried

Rules Of The Game

Although the original course was rough with a rocky terrain, fences and brooks, the modern course for the world championship is 253.5 meters long and includes sand, fences, and a water obstacle that is 1-meter deep. The woman carried does not have to be the wife of the male carrier, but must be more than 17-years old and weigh no less than 49 kilograms. If she weighs less, then she is given an additional load consisting of rocks in a sack to bring the total weight to 49 kg.

The competitors run the course two at a time, so each heat is a contest in itself. The couple that completes the course in the fastest time wins.

The North American rules vary slightly from the world championship rules.

  • Teammates don’t have to be married.
  • The carried does not have to wear a helmet.
  • The belt worn by the carrier is optional.
  • There is no minimum weight limit for the carried.
  • Competitors run the course two at a time in the initial heats and each team is timed separately.
  • The two fastest teams qualify for a final heat, which may be timed or not.
  • The winner of the final heat wins the event.
  • If a carrier drops his teammate, the team is penalized with five seconds added to their time.
  • The woman must be carried to legitimately advance on the course. If not, the team is disqualified.
  • There are no restrictions on how the woman is carried. Several methods of carrying are used including piggyback and fireman (over the shoulder), but the most popular method is the Estonian Carry (the woman hangs upside down with her legs around the man’s shoulders and hands holding on to his waist).
  • The course is 278 yards (254-meters) long.
  • The course run under North American rules is commonly uneven ground with some levels of elevation changes. The world championship is run on a flat track.
  • The course must include two dry obstacles and one water obstacle.

Andrea H

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