Deep in America's heartland, intrepid fishermen are wrastling catfish to a standstill using their bare hands. And lest you think that they're merely fish tickling, know that A) these catfish can weigh upwards of 60-pounds, and B) these fishermen are using their hands... as bait. Welcome to the wacky world of "catfisting" or (as it's more widely and less disgustingly known) "noodling."
Noodling is simple in theory and terrifying in practice. The noodler dives underwater to a flathead catfish hole and rams his fist inside. The catfish, understandably upset that a hillbilly is trying to punch him in the face, instinctively swallows the noodler's meaty paw. At this point, the noodler hooks his hand through the fish's gills and lugs the leviathan to the surface.
Naturally, allowing yourself to be eaten by a pissed-off catfish does have its dangers. Here's a clip of some real-life noodling - skip ahead to 2:30 to see what the fish did to these good ol' boys' forearms:
Your mother's advice applies in noodling as it does in life: Poking your appendages around strange holes isn't great for your health. Vacant catfish holes can house snakes, snapping turtles and even the occasional alligator. Also, flatheads are tenacious fighters and have drowned even the most precautious noodlers.
On the list of the embarrassing ways to kick it, "death by catfish" falls somewhere between "autoerotic asphyxiation" and "moonshine enema."
Slacklining is the art of walking along a dynamic (i.e. dangerously unstable) length of one inch-wide nylon webbing. Unlike a tightrope--which remains relatively static when you walk across it--the slackline will buck and bounce under your weight. In other words, it's as if your tightrope has become sentient and is revolting against its human oppressors.
"DON'T TREAD ON ME." - Slackline
Slacklining has the dubious distinction of a sport that's dangerous at all heights. There's low altitude tricklining, in which practitioners risk their noses and dignity backflipping on the slackline. And then there's highlining, which resembles rodeo-riding a giant millipede at 3,000 feet:
For those readers thinking about giving the highline a whirl, may we suggest instead jumping off your roof wearing moon shoes? It'll save you years of practice, and the outcome will be the same.
"Don't jump of your roof wearing moon shoes." - Our lawyer
We fully anticipate that some luminary in the comments section will opine, "WTF mehz. the middel ages isn't an extream sprut." To that faceless interlocutor we preemptively say, "Touche. You got us good."
To the rest of you, enjoy this video of a man joyriding a medieval siege weapon:
Human trebuchet launching was pioneered by David "Captain" Kirke, founder of the aptly named Oxford University Dangerous Sports Club (DSC). Kirke was also the first man to ever attempt a modern bungee jump, thereby demonstrating that either A) he has a predilection for death-defying stunts, or B) the man has a vendetta against the laws of gravity for sleeping with his wife.
From the looks of things, the sole goal of human trebuchet appears to be "land in the safety net," which is easier said than done. Since its creation, the trebuchet has fractured a user's pelvis and was finally put out of commission in 2002, when a miscalculation killed an Oxford student.
So remember, if your friends try to peer pressure into using 12th century counterweight anti-fortress engines, they're not your real friends.
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For more awesome sports you never heard of, check out 6 Ancient Sports Too Awesome For the Modern World and The 8 Most Baffling "Sports" From Around The World.
And stop by our Top Picks to see our office sport: dong hockey (it's exactly what it sounds like).