6 Ancient Sports Too Awesome For the Modern World

It's amazing how crazy people get about sports these days, especially considering how much sports suck compared to what they used to be.

No, we're not talking about the 1940s when football players wore leather helmets. We're talking about the ancient sports where Viking rape was a trophy and "crocodile death" had its own slot on the scoreboard.

#6. Mesoamerican Ballgame

Long before soccer (and smallpox) took pre-Columbian America by storm, the official sport of Ancient Mexico was an odd game that the Mayans called pitz. Since there is no word in the English language that can do justice to its brutality, we simply call it "The Mesoamerican Ballgame".

"I don't know what this game is or why the hell we're playing it."

The "Game"

Mesoamerican Ballgame was a lot like volleyball, except the ball involved was nine pounds of solid rubber. And there were beheadings.

Players had to keep the heavy bastard in play by bouncing it off their forearms, hips, elbows and (if you're a sissy) bats and rackets. Points were scored by striking the ball against the opponents' wall, while points were lost if the ball hit the ground more than twice.

Face blocks, while legal, cannot in good conscience be recommended.

The Mesoamericans included one final draw to wow their crowd. Either team could score an instant win by knocking the ball through an impossibly-high sideways-basketball-hoop (sort of like Quidditch with badass Mexicans).

Team Half-Lizard People are so boned.

How is that "Insane"?

Consider the post-game party: Winners would be whisked off to celebrate with some shapely Mesoamerican ladies with a penchant for body-painting, while the losing team got lead into the back and had their heads chopped off. However, there remains some discrepancy as to who actually got sacrificed: the opposing captain, the opposing players or even the winning team (since they were clearly the greater warriors). Either way, there would be blood.


Oh, and all those decapitated heads? Yeah... They used nine-pound balls for a reason: The entire game was just a warm-up for the post-game party favorite, head-ball.

The back room at Mesoamerican Sports Authority.

#5. Skin-Pulling

Tug-of-war remains one of the most primal sports still played, and here's hoping it makes it into the Olympics someday. You may have tugged a rope over a pond at summer camp, or even over a pile of mud at your sister's wedding, but have you ever considered playing it over a pit of fire? The Vikings did.

The "Game"

Instead of rope, the players used animal-hides. And instead of overweight middle-schoolers in gym class, the players were Vikings.

How is that "Insane"?

Considering the Vikings' unhealthy obsession with rape, murder and fire, it was only a matter of time before somebody mixed all three into one fucked up triathlon. The result: A version of tug-of-war played over a fiery pit for the spoils of the town they had just ransacked, which included exclusive rape-rights to all the women. The winners got the plunder, and the losers got burned to death.

"They also get a copy of our home game!"

#4. Venatio

Imagine that you're in Rome in 54 A.D. You were once a warrior of Noricum, but now you are a slave forced to perform before a crowd of screaming sociopaths who condescendingly refer to you only as bestiarius because you have been chosen (forced) to play venatio, "the Hunt."

Anyone named "Bestiarius" looks like this. It's a scientific fact.

The "Game"

In Venatio, you and your teammates must face a monster known as "the Beast of Carthage," which in modern English translates to 20 goddamn elephants.

Pictured: 20 goddamn elephants.

How is that "Insane"?

Well, in addition to having to fight a bunch of fucking elephants suffering from extreme separation anxiety, every slave knew it was the deadliest gladiatorial game with maybe a two percent chance of survival. The Romans, fueled by their hatred of Hannibal, played this game so frequently that they drove the North African elephant to extinction.

"Bring me more elephants! I have some friends coming over to play Venatio."

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