Baseball is back, and it’s the national pastime. But it’s a 150-year-old game at this point. How about we try one of these “national sports” from around the world a try?
It’s the national sport of Afghanistan. Like polo or pato, it’s played on horseback. And like old-school pato, it involves a dead animal. Players work together to move a deceased goat across the opponent’s goal line.
In this, the national sport of Turkey, two players called phelivans (“heroes”), wear leather pants stitched from the hide of a water buffalo. Then, the competitors are doused in olive oil and wrestle. The inner: Whoever can but their arm through the other player’s leather pants first.
The national sport of Colombia is like shuffleboard…if the shuffleboard discs exploded. Tejo players take a weighted metal disc (also called a tejo) and throw or lob it toward a decided-upon goal. But watch out: Small envelopes full of gunpowder placed in the tejo’s path explode upon impact with the disc.
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The name of Finland’s national sport translates to “nest ball.” It’s similar to baseball, in that players hit a ball with a bat and run to bases. Except that the pitcher throws a ball high up into the air for the batter to hit, rather than straight at them from a distance.
In this popular Argentinian sport, which resembles the game of quidditch from Harry Potter, players take to horses (rather than magical flying broomsticks) and try to get a ball through a vertical ring stuck to a pole. They use a ball even though “pato” means duck — when the game was invented in the 17th century, players used a dead duck instead.
The national sport and national martial art of the Philippines is this, which is also called eskrima and kali. It’s a pretty-much anything goes, one-on-one combat sport, and is sort of like fencing…if instead of thin, capped blades, fencers could use real knives, or sticks, or long blades, or some other weapon they like.