10 Weird Sports ESPN Is Airing Now

By Bryan Wilson on June 8 2020 in Society

Image credit: www.replaymag.com
Image credit: www.replaymag.com
  • The Guinness World Record for most consecutive skips of a stone on water is 88.
  • Montmorency cherries are the regulation cherries for Pit-Spitting competition
  • More than 30,000 players compete in the American Cornhole League

The cancellation of all major sports leagues during COVID-19 has left sports media networks with a unique challenge to overcome. What should sports channels cover when there are no sports? What should be tabled when there is no tennis? What should be discussed when there is no discus? During the global pandemic, the entire sports world has had to deal with the cold reality that life is unbearably boring with no baseball, hockey, basketball, or football. The vacancy in airtime on all major sports networks has been a broadcasting challenge, but it has been met in interesting ways.

Some networks have resorted to playing endless reruns of classic games and highlight-reel moments, while others, like ESPN in particular, have opened the doors for some very unique and downright weird sports that showcase the lengths (and depths) people will go to satisfy their craving for sports.

10. The American Cornhole League

More than 30,000 players compete in the ACL. Image credit: YouTube

The American Cornhole League (ACL) is a well-established league that takes itself a little more seriously than the name might suggest. More than 30,000 players compete in the ACL including 122 professionals. 'Cornhole' is a game that you may have played as a kid, at a family reunion, or on a camping trip. The objective of the game is to have contestants throw small bags filled with corn kernels downfield to a raised platform with a select hole positioned near the top. The purpose is to try and deposit the bag into the hole, with one point awarded for a thrown bag that sits atop the platform and three points if it should go in the hole. 'The Johnsonville ACL Cornhole Championships: 2020 Kickoff Battle' has a total guaranteed prize pool of $250,000 which is spread over five main events. 

9. 12th Annual World Sign Spinning Championships

Sign spinning requires a lot of focus and agility. Image credit: aarrowsignspinners.com

Sign Spinning, or the art of spinning a sign, is a skillset more often applied as a cheesy marketing ploy for mini-malls and burger joints than as an actual sporting event. The fact that sign spinning even made it to the ESPN lineup is likely for a similar reason, yet on closer examination, spinning a sign is actually quite technical, artistic, and alluring.

The 12th Annual World Sign Spinning Championship, which is held in Las Vegas, Nevada, is a gathering of AArrow Sign Spinners from the United States and abroad. Each contestant puts his or her sign-spinning skills to the test against some of the best in the sport. Contestants are critiqued and given scores based on style, execution, and technical sign spinning ability.

8. 46th Annual Cherry Pit-Spitting Competition

The goal of cherry pit-spitting is to spit your pit farther than your opponent. Image credit: www.wenatcheeworld.com

The Coronavirus pandemic has forced many people to wear masks at some point during the day, to avoid spreading infection. So there might not be a scarier sport in the ESPN Ocho lineup than the 46th Annual Cherry Pit-Spitting Competition held in Eau Claire, Michigan

Cherry pit-spitting is a simple, albeit cringeworthy, concept that only has one main goal. Each competitor must attempt to spit a cherry pit further than any other participant. Regulation cherries that are to be used are 'Montmorency' cherries, and if you were wondering, should a contestant swallow a pit, they are disqualified.

7. Jelle Marble Runs

There are 28 teams in the Jelle's Marble Runs league. Image credit: Twitter

Did you ever play with 'marble-works' as a child? Maybe you were a former track and field star in high school, or maybe you are just missing Formula One. In any case, if you have an unquenchable need for speed, then this is the event for you. 

Jelle's Marble Runs is the brainchild of Jelle Baker from Wervershoof, Netherlands and his creativity is commendable. Intricate raceways are designed and constructed in which contestants, who in this case are marbles, race their way through a predetermined track. There are 28 teams within the league, featuring names like the Raspberry Racers, Minty Maniacs, and Balls of Chaos. With so many teams to choose from, viewers are sure to find a marble team to cheer on.

Events are made to reflect different Olympic sporting events, as well as Nascar style races, but each event has a unique marble-related quality and is presented in a well-rounded fashion. There are opening ceremonies and graphics, race times are scored accurately and in real-time, and there is even play-by-play commentary provided. Jelle's Marble Runs certainly revs the engines of racing fans of all persuasions. 

6. 51st National Stone Skipping Competition

The 51st National Stone Skipping Competition will feature a $200 prize. Image credit: mlive.com

The 51st National Stone Skipping Competition is a 'pro-invitational' event held every year on July 4 on Mackinac Island in Michigan. Contestants of all ages compete to see who can skip a stone the furthest. Using six stones each, competitors attempt to throw as many highlight reel 'plinkers' (big skips) to 'pitty-pats' (little skips) as they can, with each skip of the stone bringing them ever closer to the Grand Hotel Goblet stuffed with $200 cash. The world record holder for 'most skips' is held by Kurt Steiner, who skipped a stone 88 times at a location near Kane, Pennsylvania in 2013.

5. Slippery Stairs College Tour

The Slippery Stairs College Tour is challenging and hilarious. Image credit: pintrest

Slippery Stairs College Tour is one heck of a good time! Seriously, it is a wacky event that is so simple and stupid, it might just be genius. It is like a car crash on repeat that you just can't look away from.

This zany competition forces six contestants wearing brightly colored unitards and helmets to race their way up a large set of stairs that is perpetually covered in slimy goo. The winner is eventually declared by reaching the bell sitting at the top of the well-lubricated stairs, but contestants need to be on the lookout for the additional slime attack at the very top because one oozy misstep will result in a long slide down to the bottom. For those television viewers craving some gut-wrenching entertainment, this sport promises to have spectators in fits of laughter for the entire climb.

4. Professional Arm Wrestling Championships

A strategic approach is needed to win an arm wrestling match. Image credit: YouTube

Now here's a sport on this list that seems actually pretty normal. Out of the pub and onto ESPN, arm wrestling has been the timeless test of individual strength and toughness. The Professional Arm Wrestling Championships have been around for years, pitting some of the strongest arms in the world against each other. To be successful in this sport, competitors need more than just bulging biceps and raging testosterone, there is skill needed and a strategic approach that must be utilized in order to outlast your opponent.

3. European Tram Driver Championships

The European Tram Driver Championship promotes cultural exchange and peaceful competition. Image credit: wired.com

The European Tram Driver Championship is a two-day-championship that highlights the skills of various tram drivers (train conductors) in what amounts to a quagmire of corporate promotional events mixed with tram driver competitions. The competition aims to promote cultural exchange and peaceful competition for 'future-oriented local traffic' in Europe.

2. 2019 Golden Tee World Championships

2019 Golden Tee World Championship mixes golf and gaming. Image credit: espn.com

Well, when you can't go to the golf course and you can't go to the pub to play your favorite game, you'll have to settle for the 2019 Golden Tee World Championship

Golden Tee is a well-adapted golf simulation arcade game that can be seen in many pubs and movie theaters. The game-play features a large, white ball in the console that a player spins (similar to a scroll-wheel on a computer mouse) in order to control the golfer's shot. The 2019 Golden Tee World Championship is a mix of golf and gaming styles and provides plenty and drama all the way through to a photo finish. 

1. 2019 IDEAL Electricians National Championship

2019 IDEAL Electricians National Championship features the best electricians in the US and Canada. Image credit: Twitter.com

If you have been shopping around for the best contractor services for your latest construction project then look no further! The 2019 IDEAL Electricians National Championship is held in Orlando, Florida and brings together thousands of professional and apprentice electricians, all competing for the honor of being named 'Best Electrician in America.' (Despite official rules stating contestants must reside within the 50 U.S. states, or in Canada.)

All teams are made up of two members and must consist of one student currently enrolled in an electrical apprenticeship program and one professional who is employed by a licensed electrical contractor. Each individual competition and team event is designed to highlight the electricians' technical skill, speed, and teamwork. It is safe to say that this event will brighten your day.

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