The British are famous for inventing must-see sports that bring fans together, from rugby to football to cricket. But we often forget that they are also the origin of more surprising sports. I take you to discover the 6 most exotic sports practiced in the UK.
One Sunday morning you walk into Hyde Park as you take yourself in for the main character of a very tacky movie, and there, reality hits you in the face: You’re not the star everyone adores, but the four men there throw themselves headlong into it. In their game Spikeball.
If you don’t know what Spikeball is, you haven’t succeeded, or at least you haven’t followed it with enough interest, your BAFA delves into “Physical Activities and Sports”. Which is a shame, because you miss out on a very crazy sport, a kind of tennis without a racket with a trampoline instead of a net.
Of course, after meeting these four great athletes, I had only one idea: to discover the extraordinary sports that the British practice, or even invent. Convinced that those people who drive on the left, eat sausage for breakfast and still wear T-shirts in November would surprise me, so I began my research. And I wasn’t disappointed. With all my generosity, today I am sharing with you six popular sports in the UK that have piqued my curiosity.
No, I’m not talking about cricket, a sport that is already very popular on British soil, but croquet. The French invented croquet in the Middle Ages, and it was first very fashionable at the court of Louis XIV before it completely disappeared from our favorite pastimes. But without relying on our English friends, they took it back and made it the pensioner’s game par excellence. The principle is simple: hit the balls with a hammer to make them pass through the hoops, all in a silly position. Some kind of polo without a horse, or How to get rid of all the fun of polo.
But the small details that particularly pleased me in this sport, are the two arches embedded in a cross in the middle of the earth called the “bell”. In fact, a small bell is attached to one of them, and when the ball passes under the bell, the bell must be ringed, otherwise its passage is considered null and must start over.
The British owe this type of billiards, along with many other balls, to the artistic spirit of Colonel Francis Fitzgerald Neville Chamberlain. In 1875, British soldiers stationed in India were fond of classic billiards and their two-tone balls. But this did not suit the colonel, who asked the officers to add colored balls, in addition to the traditional 15 red and black balls. And so you find yourself completely lost in front of a pool table covered with yellow, green, pink, brown or blue balls. Thanks, Francis.
Gaelic football, or Caid in Irish, is the most popular sport in Ireland. It looks like rugby but is less violent and has a round ball – sacrilege for fans of the oval. But the most funny thing about this sport is the rule that every player can only play for one team in his whole life, in the country from which he comes. Ah, patriotism when you stuck to us.
The English also have their petanque. Lawn bowling or lawn bowling originated in England and is widely practiced in the Commonwealth of Nations. There is nothing particularly funny about playing this sport which is very similar to pétanque, except that the balls are not round but slightly smashed on both sides and one of them is played in a very green lawn. Having said that, I don’t quite understand the point of playing Petanque without Bastis, but hey…
Low Wall game
Wall is arguably one of the most elite sports in the UK. If you’re not from the prestigious Eton College, or don’t know William and Harry or Boris Johnson intimately, you probably won’t get a chance to play this 250-year-old sport. But you may be able to attend a match, if you don’t mind dying of boredom. In sports, spectators must stand 43 meters from the match to watch a group of players compete for the ball along a wall built in 1717.
The Wall Game is held annually at Eton College on November 30, Saint Andrew’s Day. It’s kind of a Super Bowl at the Wall Game but don’t worry, if you can’t make it this year, don’t rush as no “goals” have been scored since 1909.
Le chess boxing
Best for last, my little darling in order: I present to you a game of chess, or the phrase “a healthy mind in a healthy body” has reached its climax. Don’t look for any hidden meaning behind this name, it is actually a mix between boxing and chess. Although the United Kingdom cannot afford to claim this nugget, invented 25 years ago by Enki Bilal, the Yugoslav comic book author, the sport is still a small popular among English businessmen.
This hybrid sport consists of six rounds of four-minute chess, and five rounds of three minutes of boxing, all in a ring with a chessboard in the middle. Between each round, participants have one minute to breathe, and victory is obtained either by KO, by decision of the referee, or by checkmate.
Those who practice chess boxing explain that they can thus mix material expenditure and extreme thinking, or that the boxing strategy is very close to the chess strategy. But I’m not convinced that playing chess after taking a few hits to the head is really the perfect way to get your brain working.
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