Three Bizarre Sports From The Commonwealth Games

  • Joe Polito

If you happen to get CBS Sports Network, you may have flipped on the tube to that channel and witnessed some pretty strange sporting events. You were watching the Glasgow Commonwealth Games — basically the Olympics for Great Britain and its former colonies.

They’ve got the normal sports, like diving, gymnastics and hockey. But they’ve also got some quirkier games, like table tennis, track cycling and badminton.

But THEN, they’ve got these three totally obscure sports — at least they’re absurd from this ignorant American’s perspective.

1. Netball
a.k.a Basketball without backboards mixed with freeze tag

Just imagine turning on your TV and seeing this:

Huh? What? WHA-HUH? Why didn’t that lady play defense against the other lady? Where’s the backboard? These were my questions. Before doing some research, this appeared to be some kind of Dr. James Naismith wet dream. When he created basketball in 1891, he began by nailing a peach basket to the gymnasium wall. Netball is basically basketball that never evolved.

The rules are different too. Players are assigned positions, and their movement is restricted based on what their given role is on the team. Kind of like chess pieces I guess.

The woman in the video looks like she’s not defending because she’s forced to respect a three-feet rule that doesn’t allow encroachment. Also, those with the ball can’t take more than one step and must pass or shoot within three seconds of possessing it. Sort of like Ultimate Frisbee I suppose. Sounds meticulous, but color me intrigued.

2. Lawn Bowls
a.k.a Bocce Ball with oddly shaped balls

You’ve probably played a version of this game at some family reunion. Your uncle brings his set of colorful balls, you try and get the big ones close to the little one, and he inevitably kicks your ass. But these aren’t your uncle’s balls. In fact, they’re not even balls at all. At the Commonwealth Games, the “bowls” are weighted in a way that gives them a bend known as “bias,” adding a bit more skill to the equation.

Sometimes, instead of playing with touch, bowlers employ power tactics to knock other bowls away. That’s when shit gets crazy.

Congrats to Scotland for taking home the gold this year.

3. Shooting
a.k.a. Laser Tag without the fun

OK, so not all the shooting events look this lame. Most of them use real guns. But some use air guns. I can’t tell if anything is coming out of the guns, but it sure looks like no. This looks like Tron meets the World Series of Poker. It’s basically a computer-aided aiming competition from what I can tell. Correct me in the comments if I’m wrong.