“What the hell?” Is the first thought that comes to mind when you see this game. On this edition of Weird-Ass Sports we highlight target=”_blank”>Sepak Takraw. A game of strategy, loose hamstrings, and of bunch of nimble Asians playing volleyball with their feet. The rules are very similar to volleyball. Its played on a 44 × 20 ft court with a 5 foot high net in the middle. Teams of three play two sets to 21 points each and the objective is to volley a ball over the net and hit the other teams floor. However, and here’s the kicker, you play the entire game with your feet! I had to see it myself before I could believe it. Players literally leap into the air and bicycle kick/spike the ball over the net. Now, as an offensive lineman (no such thing as a retired lineman) I know firsthand what it means to possess raw athletic ability. I can state with confidence that Sepak Takraw requires a decent amount of athleticism. When you watch a match, it’s like watching a soccer player bicycle kick a goal (the only exciting part of any soccer game) except in Sepak Takraw it happens on every single volley! Game, set, awesome!
Malaysia and Thailand are the two powerhouse countries of the sport. In Thailand, its actually part of the physical education curriculum in schools. Could you imagine going to 4th period after sweating through a few sets of this game? Not to mention the 100% chance pulling your hamstring or ripping your groin. The game got its start in Malaysia in the 15th century. It was written in the Malay Annals, yes the Annals (it’s a book), that a Sultan’s son was playing a similar game when a member of the opposing team kicked him in the dome with a “rattan” ball and knocked his head gear knocked off. So, rather than crying to daddy, he immediately ran across the court and stabbed the guy to death. Hence, Sepak Takraw was born, because nothing says a good time like playing a game that commemorates a freak stabbing.
All in all, this was an easy pick for this edition of Weird-Ass Sports, because at the end of the day this is a Manly sport. There is of course a women’s league and of course, just like in any woman’s version of a man’s sport, their nets are shorter, their rules are easier, and their balls are bigger (not figuratively).