If you have never seen the movie called Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story, I highly recommend it. The combination of Vince Vaughn and Ben Stiller make it hilarious. Also the fact that the movie highlights dodgeball, the unit every middle and high schooler looks forward to in P.E. class, makes it awesome.
The movie somewhat makes fun of ESPN and their many different channels by creating their own, calling it ESPN 8, The Ocho. This fictitious channel was advertised in the movie as the one and only TV channel that covers all of the different or unusual sports played around the world. “If it’s almost a sport, we’ve got it here,” the program advertises.
Humorous or not, I really wish ESPN 8 was real. I would watch it all of the time. A TV channel covering the oddball sports in the World is something I would definitely watch on a regular basis, and I believe the athletes in these sports would appreciate the coverage as well.
One of the first assignments I ever had as a sports journalist was to cover a state horseshoe competition in my hometown. Some of my coworkers were almost apologetic to me when they heard about it but I was all for it. It’s really too bad so many people are shaped by society’s definition of what a sport is, and don’t come to realize or appreciate all of the amazingly talented athletes there are outside of the baseball, football, basketball, or other mainstream sport realm.
I had a blast covering the horseshoe competition. It really opened my eyes to a whole new world of sports that are around us all of the time but are so hidden because of the lack of media coverage. Horseshoe pitchers have to be deadly accurate, consistent, and patient. It requires a lot of practice. Some might say it doesn’t require much physical work, but most competitions last all day long, and throwing heavy horseshoes across a distance of 40 feet over and over again can make your legs and arms sore in a hurry.
But the best part of horseshoes is the camaraderie and the fact that you can play it your whole life. There were several competitors in the competition that were in their 80s.
This brings me to one of my favorite sports to play, disc golf. Disc golf is like traditional ball golf, only instead of hitting a ball, you throw a flying disc into raised, metal baskets that have chains to catch the disc. It’s much cheaper than ball golf, because all you need is a disc which costs $5-$20, and a course to play on. There’s usually no course fee and you can also play your entire life. I have been playing disc golf for over six years and have thoroughly enjoyed it. It’s a great way for someone to get active, enjoy the outdoors and have fun at the same time. I’m excited for the snow to melt so I can check out the couple of courses in New Ulm.
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I will probably talk more about disc golf, but I wanted to quick mention the sport called sepak takraw, a sport popular in Asia that is in my opinion, the coolest sport nobody has heard of. It’s basically like volleyball, only you can’t use your hands or arms. Players kick the ball over the net and can even spike the ball down by doing a bicycle kick. It’s really fun to watch, because of how incredibly talented these athletes are. If you have some time, go to Youtube and search sepak takraw. You won’t be disappointed.
Obviously, I only scratched the surface of some oddball sports, but it is important to expand your horizons and give more of these sports some credit, which is what I would love for the media to do as well. ESPN 8 The Ocho, I wish you existed. Hopefully you will someday.