The Abstract Podcast

Shin-kicking, lawn mower racing, and the surprising athleticism of Not Sports

In this episode, we talk about the weirdest competitive sports you’ve never heard of.

Cotswold Olympicks

Since the dawn of time, people have been coming up with pastimes to stay entertained, inventing sports then reinventing sports throughout history.

There are pro leagues and the Olympics, championship tournaments and little league. And when things get boring, humans get creative — and sports get … weird.

Going toe-to-toe against someone not literal enough for you? Toe wrestling’s your game.

Need an extreme sport that blends performance art with a domestic chore? That’s what extreme ironing is for.

Would boxing make chess more exciting? Done. Totally a thing.

There’s something for everyone in the world of competitive sports, and as the pursuit of amusement continues to reward us with absurdly entertaining sports, the strangest games become the most weirdly satisfying in ways that many mainstream sports simply can’t compare.

In this episode of The Abstract, we talk about the weirdest competitive sports you’ve never heard of.

Our first story is about a centuries-old sport that requires a spectacular amount of fortitude and athleticism: shin-kicking. A perennial crowd-pleaser at the Costwold Olimpick Games — and as literal as it sounds — competitive shin-kicking has endured for over 400 years by never losing its original focus and embracing a sense of fun.

Our second story is about a form of motorsport where competitors race modified vehicles of the ride-on or self-propelled variety. In short, lawn mower racing. Turning a yard chore into an international sporting event, these competitive races continue to attract all walks of life by capturing the true meaning of sports — blending ambition and expertise with a sense of fun and adventure.

Read the original Inverse stories:

Where to find us:

Right now, facts and science matter more than ever. That's part of the reason for The Abstract, this all-new podcast from the Inverse staff that focuses exclusively on science and innovation. Three new episodes are released a week, and each covers one theme via two related stories. Each features audio of original Inverse reporting, where the facts and context take center stage. It's hosted by the Tanya Bustos of WSJ Podcasts. Because we're Inverse, it's all true but slightly off-kilter. It's made for people who want to know the whole story. Nick Lucchesi, executive editor, Inverse

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