Tough isn’t it? That void you feel inside as you go about your daily businesses. Sure, the sun may be shining, but there’s an underlying sense that something is missing.
Life just isn’t the same in those post football/rugby/hockey (delete as appropriate) season months. Thankfully sport is a vast and varied industry, and somewhere someone will be kicking/chasing/hitting something round in the name of their sport.
To help kick the off-season blues, here are 7, sometimes weird or unconventional, sports to try your hand at.
Huge in the southern Asian regions where it was created, Kabaddi mixes all the best elements of tig, ring-a-ring-a-roses and a breath-holding competition to create quite possibly the most bizarre sport on our planet.
It sort of has to be seen to be believed, but I’ll try to shed a light on the utter chaos in the video below. Essentially, two teams take it in turns to nominate a “raider” who takes on the opposition team alone. The job of this raider is to enter the opposition half, tig a player and leg it back to their half before they’re tackled and hauled to the floor by the other team.
Now to provide the icing on the top of this utterly outrageous sporting cake. Before homing in on the other team’s half to tig a player, raiders must hold their breath and not inhale any more oxygen until they return to their own half. If players complete their task, they shout “Kabaddi Kabaddi” to score the points.
Get it? Me neither. Just watch it.
2. Sepak Takraw
Heading further East next for Sepak Takraw, a game for those who prefer the acrobatic elements of football.
Played in countries such as Malaysia, Thailand, and Laos, Sepak Takraw is essentially a blend of volleyball and football - with an added dash of Kung Fu kicking.
Given the net is over 5 feet high (tennis nets are nearer 3 feet as a comparison) and the ball is not allowed to bounce, there is only one-way players can effectively get high enough to smash the ball towards their opponent’s half - unreal flips and endless overhead kicks.
Right so I’ve given the Wikipedia entry for Tchoukball an extensive read and I’m pretty sure I get it now…
Essentially, at both ends of the court sits a flexible net angled upwards - sort of like one of those catching training aids you use in cricket. Teams launch a ball at these nets and can then score from one of two scenarios:
1. The ball hits the floor outside the (ominously named) forbidden zone.
2. The ball strikes another player below the knee.
Points are also scored by the opposition if a throw hits the forbidden zone or sails out of play without bouncing.
What’s it like? Dodgeball...sort of. Basketball...maybe. Let’s just say Tchoukball is pretty unique.
Made famous by the J.K Rowling’s pop culture colossus Harry Potter, Quidditch has made the transition from fiction to real life sport; even if there’s a little less actual flying.
Broomsticks do form an integral part of the sport, however, even if their magical flying abilities are yet to overcome gravity in the real world. Presumably used to replicate the difficulty of only being able to use one hand, the rules stay as true to the original game as possible.
Unfortunately, to the untrained eye (by which I mean a non-Harry Potter fan like me) it all looks rather chaotic and hard to follow. For the hardcore Potter fans among us though, I'm sure the below is an absolute treat.
Or just get into more conventional sports
Due to the niche nature of the sports above in the UK (you might have difficulty finding your nearest Kabaddi league or Tchoukball team), you’ll probably find yourself losing hours of your life on YouTube watching them rather than actually playing.
For actually getting out there this summer, here are some more realistic options.
5. Walking Sports
Running is a tiresome task, but one that generally comes into play in pretty much every sport. That’s unless you take up the more sultry and sedate version of your favourite sport, allowing you to merely walk while you play.
Walking sports are growing in the UK, allowing older players and those with career-defining injuries to continue playing the sports they love.
Football and cricket both have popular walking versions - as does netball. In fact, we went to check the latter out out only last week.
Take a look.
6. There’s always cricket
Summer sports are few and far between in this country, such is the unreliable nature of the Great British weather.
Still, cricket soldiers on to offers sports enthusiasts an option throughout the hotter months.
My colleague Dom, a cricketing novice, stepped up to the crease and gave it a go in front of a bowling machine recently (the results of which you can see below).