By Illya Harrell on July 25, 2014
It may be a while before Whiffle Ball makes this list, however, there is hope if a couple of the sports get the cred they deserve. So maybe next year Whiffle Ball, but until then, these are the 20 sports that don't get enough coverage.
Horse racing takes brute speed and endurance. For horse lovers, that's pretty ho-hum. Show jumping is a top-tier event that displays the beauty, strength and grace of equine contestants.
When synchronized swimming first debuted as an Olympic sport in 1984, most thought it was one of those gimmicky events that would be around only one, maybe two, Summer Games. It's 30 years later and the "water ballet" is still going strong.
During the "Miami Vice" opening credits, a brief glimpse of a Jai Alai competition was flashed. Kids across America wondered about this odd sport with the 3-feet arm extension basket and that whipped a ball at great speed. There is such great speed that Jai Alai is called, "the fastest sport in the world." The ball regularly clocks 170 MPH -- it's lucky those dudes wear helmets.
Curling is the Winter Olympics curiosity sport where its competitors slide large stones and then quickly broom the ice to give it a proper course. It takes great skill and teamwork, and has been dubbed, "chess on ice."
To live vicariously through a knighted Englishmen is every kids dream, right? The former Olympic sport is played on horseback, using long mallets to hit a small wooden ball into the goal. It's a lot like ice hockey on horses.
This isn't the badminton you used to play against your granny during family picnics. Competitive badminton has been an Olympic sport since 1992 and is played with weighted shuttlecocks instead of a ball like other racquet sports. The feathered projectile's peculiar aerodynamics make this one of the most difficult racquet sports.
Sumo is a full contact wrestling event that has been around since the late 1500's; it was originally used as a test of strength for Japanese soldiers. Modern sumo wrestlers live in highly-disciplined communal stables. The winner of a sumo match must push his opponent out of the ring.
Most everyone has pitched a game of horseshoes, but few know there is a governing body for professional horseshoe pitchers. The National Horseshoe Pitching Association holds tournaments where pro pitchers compete against one another. The annual World Horseshoe Tournament is held indoors and lasts two weeks.
With horse racing so popular, it's pure thievery that greyhound racing doesn't have a nationally televised race akin to the Kentucky Derby. Greyhound racing takes the human element out of equation, and with no jockey, it is impossible to fix races.
The World Darts Federation (WDF) consists of 655 ranked players from 68 countries. Many people play darts for fun, but unless one can consistently throw three consecutive bullseyes, it's highly suggested not to quit that day job.
In the late 18th century, there was an ice yachting headquarters in Poughkeepsie, NY where ice yachts regularly raced on the Hudson River. Modern day ice yachting in the U.S. mainly consists of Americans and Canadians racing on the Great Lakes. The sport is also popular on the Gulf of Finland.
While some NASCAR fans watch the sport only for the macabre desire to see a violent crash, it's a wonder that bull riding isn't more popular. Bull riding is aptly called, "the most dangerous eight seconds in sports." The eight seconds refers to the amount of time the rider must stay on the bull in order to qualify for advancement in competitions.
Ultimate is played a lot like football with the two major differences. It is played with a disc (frisbee), and when a receiver makes a catch, they are not allowed to move besides making another throw. In 2012, a professional league was formed, American Ultimate Disc League (AUDL). The Philadelphia Spinners beat the Indianapolis Alley Cats 29-22 in the first AUDL championship at the Silverdome in Pontiac, MI.
Beach volleyball originated in Southern California during the 1920's. Professional beach volleyball's popularity skyrocketed during the 80's and 90's. Then, it's governing association (FIVB) enforced a dress code and men quit watching.
Fencing is one of only five sports that has survived each Olympic competition. Around since 1458, the sport was developed just before dueling was officially banned. Participants wear protective clothing and use one of three different weapons -- a foil, epee or sabre, all of which require different strategies.
Most surfers ride waves during their leisure time. Then, you have the non-professionals who eat, breath and spend every waking moment thirsting for that one elusive wave to give them the ride of their life. The first surfers were indigenous Polynesians.
The most live spectator-unfriendly sport imaginable, underwater hockey is also one of the most physically demanding. With underwater cameras, this sport needs to be regularly televised. A diving mask is used instead of goggles to give the swimmer unobstructed sight of the entire playing pool.
Cricket is easily the world's most biggest sport not to have gained even a sniff of U.S. popularity. First played in England during Tudor rule in the early 1500's, it became the country's national sport at the end of the 19th century. Cricket looks similar to baseball -- a flat paddle-shaped bat is used to hit a bowled ball.
Karate fans had reason to be excited when the MMA was formed. However, traditionalists quickly grew tired of MMA, as it was more like a glorified state-fair tough man contest. Karate has never been an Olympic sport even though the World Karate Federation says there are more than 100 million active participants.
If there were any justice in the world, the Special Olympics World Games would be as widely anticipated as the Super Bowl. Founded in 1968, the Special Olympics boast 4.2 million participants from 170 nations. Local events can be found somewhere in one of those countries on any day of the year. The Special Olympics World Game have the same format as the Olympics games -- every two years, alternating summer and winter games.
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