5 Crazy Real-Life Contests You Had No Clue Existed
There's nothing like proving your superiority over others, from dominating at Super Smash Bros. to dominating at Super Smash Bros. (we've only got the one thing). But what if you have no discernible talent? In days past, you would have just fizzled out of the gene pool after losing the "Don't get mauled by leopards" competition. But in the modern world, you can instead master one of these absurd competitions to get a chance at that sweet, sweet validation. Or you could get really good at Smash Bros., but do you really have to take that away from us?
BladeSports: The Official Sport Of Mall Ninjas
BladeSports is the ultimate test of a blade handler's precision, power, and grace, as measured by people who hung katanas over their beds in high school.
Maybe not grace.
Contestants "run" a gauntlet of slicing and chopping, dispatching a series of increasingly nonthreatening items that include wooden boards, ropes, straws, cans, water bottles, and tiny balls. Because you are not a true master of the blade until you've proven your mettle against all manner of household goods.
To compete in the electrifying, sexually charged world of BladeSports, you must first become certified by an official BladeSports instructor or a "BladeSports recognized cutting school," which can be found in suburban strip malls across the land. Your weapon must also satisfy a long list of specifications to protect the beautiful sport from devolving into an assembly of fat guys swinging their homemade Buster Swords.
Top competitors are usually sponsored by knife makers, although some, like the Jedi, construct their own weapons. A competitive knife must be able to split a two by four and then filet a straw, so they can cost upwards of $900. Competitions usually award nothing more than a belt buckle, at least until their ESPN deal kicks in. Here's what champion Dwayne Unger took home from the 2018 BLADE Show, the most prestigious event of the knifing season:
For a master blade smith to make some real money, they must sell their soul to the History Network, which of course sold its own soul and rejected history in favor of programs like Forged In Fire and the Bill-Goldberg-hosted spinoff Forged In Fire: Knife Or Death. In these Emmy-winning affairs, four expert smiths compete to see who can craft the best blade for chopping down an ice block ...
... mercilessly gutting a ballistic dummy ...
... or, uh, slicing through a row of apples.
Fingerboarding: For People Who Never Left The '90s
Fingerboards ruled the Walmart toy section in the late '90s, their siren call proving irresistible to kids who thought that skateboarding was cool but were too uncoordinated or lazy to actually do it. And somehow they're still as popular as ever, thanks to a generation of young fingerers(?) who will make your digits feel like clumsy pieces of crap.
Who says millennials don't aspire to anything?
These are professionals, somehow, so of course they have their own signature boards that you can own for a mere $125.95 instead of spending that money on literally anything else.
And instead of shredding on math textbooks, kitchen tables, and patient dogs like the rest of us did, they're using professional sets like the $2,159 G13:
A bunch of fingerboarding companies have popped up to sponsor riders, sell hoodies, and heroically insist that their sport doesn't sound like a weird fetishistic combination of fingering and waterboarding. It's just like real skateboarding, except for the lack of fans, physical exertion, and cultural relevance. Fingerboarders can't exactly make a living on their craft, but prizes at larger international tournaments do reach $5,000, which is enough to go on a pretty epic bender ... though not epic enough to forget that you earned that money by fingerboarding.
So keep an eye out for Pro Fingerboarder, coming soon to knockoff video game consoles near you!
Pizza Dough Spinning: For People Who Think The Least Exciting Part Of Pizza Is Getting To Eat It
Have you ever been to a restaurant where a chef prepared pizza dough with far more panache than was strictly necessary, prompting you to think "Instead of getting to eat pizza at the end of this display, I would rather continue to observe this skill set at a structured professional level"? Well then you're weird, but you're also the audience for the World Pizza Championship, which is somehow not just a group of sweaty fat guys straining to out-devour one another in a grimy warehouse.
That man is attempting to land a sick pizza-spinning trick and earn himself the title of world's greatest pizza acrobat, which we somehow didn't make up.
This culinary art form is most popular in pizza-crazy Italy and gimmick-crazy Las Vegas, the latter of which hosts the annual International Pizza Expo and World Pizza Games. As the popularity of pizza tossing has somehow increased, pizza acrobats have had to resort to flashier, more outlandish trickery to wow judges, who award points for creativity, dexterity, difficulty, drops, and transitions. Some competitors twirl dough while juggling a soccer ball, boldly flirting with the danger of becoming the ultimate Italian stereotype. Others prepare their pizza while blindfolded, just like Pizza Hut's done for decades. What does a winning routine look like? Fire up the bong and watch:
Winners receive $1,000, and they can increase that amount by winning the competition's other, much less flamboyant events, like spreading dough or folding boxes. If you want to disappoint your parents by becoming a professional pizza acrobat, the most efficient way to train is with silicone pseudo-dough, created by only the saddest scientists who have seen their careers go the most astray. You can support the U.S. Pizza Team ...
... but there's also a stylish Italian version, although you have to pay a higher price for that fine European craftsmanship.
A good oval of fake dough will set you back 50 bucks. Although if anyone finds it in your house, you'll have to lie and tell them that it's a masturbation aid instead of admitting the far more shameful truth.
Pea Shooting: For People Who Fancy Themselves Marksmen (Over Very Short Distances)
As their empire has shrunk dramatically, the English have had to find ways to amuse themselves on their tiny island. Besides soccer hooliganism, they've come up with pea shooting.
People line up and shoot dried peas from a straw at a putty-coated target 12 yards away. The best of the best compete in the world championship, which has been held annually for almost 50 years in the village of Witcham. Many shooters are simply out to enjoy a lovely afternoon in the drizzling rain with their families. Maybe they have a couple of beers and incite a little hooliganism. But some competitors take pea shooting seriously. Real seriously.
The pros debate how hard to blow and how much saliva to apply, while the fans debate how much to observe before they get bored and knock off to the pub. But like any sport, the world of pea shooting is not without its controversy. The introduction of modern tech like gyroscopes, recoil handles, and laser sights has opened a schism wherein traditionalists yearn for the simpler days, while progressives contend that enhancements are the natural evolution of the sport. It's like the argument over the designated hitter rule, yet somehow even more boring. Either way, we assume it's only a matter of time until pea shooting is combined with fingerboarding to create the world's least impressive biathlon.
Finger Wrestling: Pulling Someone's Finger ... To The Extreme
Fingerhakeln dates back to the 17th century, when burly Alpine men pulled each other's fingers to settle disputes. The rules are simple: Hook your finger through a leather loop, pull, and don't let the other guy shatter your extremity into a million pieces. Bavarian attire is apparently mandatory.
Skinnings, dislocated joints, and torn tendons are regular occurrences, so wrestlers devise arduous training regimens to steel their (usually) middle digit. Some hang from hooks or do finger pull-ups, while others pump weights with single-finger curls or pull against home-made contraptions with over 100 pounds of resistance. Has someone prepped for a dramatic comeback by lifting hocks of meat with their finger in a cold freezer? We have to assume so.
Fingerhakeln is practically a national sport in parts of Germany and Austria. There are monuments dedicated to it, and paintings and photographs have captured the competition over the centuries, because mountain people will take literally any occasion to don their finest lederhosen and get rowdy on beer. With all of that rich heritage, it's no wonder that fingerhakeln has blossomed into the fiercely competitive sport ... ish thing it is today.
For more, check out Most Uncomfortable Intramural Sport Strategy Ever:
Also, we'd love to know more about you and your interesting lives, dear readers. If you spend your days doing cool stuff, drop us a line at iDoCoolStuff at Cracked dot com, and maybe we can share your story with the entire internet.
Follow us on Facebook. Go team!