Everyone knows about basketball, baseball, football, and soccer. These are the main sports that are given media attention and are appreciated by many around the world. But have you ever seen competitive snowball fights? Or games played with dead goat carcasses? Unique sports that don’t conform to the athletic standard often get overlooked, and representation ends up going to popular, more lucrative sports. Learning about less popular sports and games can help us celebrate other cultures, countries, communities, and their entertainment.
One unknown sport to most is Yukigassen. The Japanese word translates to “snow battle”, a fitting name for the activity. Yukigassen was developed in Japan and is currently played in Australia, Canada, and many European countries. The sport is played outdoors on a special court with an ice surface. Small, wall-like barriers behind help players secure themselves from being hit. When the game starts, players start throwing snowballs at the opposing team (topendsports).

Players are considered out if they are hit by a snowball. A Yukigassen match can be compared to dodgeball, except utilizing nature a bit more.

Another unique sport is Buzkashi, hailing from Central Asia. In Persian, Buzkashi translates to “goat grabbing”. The sport is played across much of Central Asia by numerous ethnic groups, originating among the nomadic Turkic people. In the game, horseback

players fight for the possession of a goat or calf carcass.

Before the game, the carcass is decapitated, gutted, and soaked in water for 24 hours to prevent it from deteriorating. Players carry the carcass around a flag or marker at one end of the field, then throw it into a scoring circle at the other end. This circle is called the Circle of Justice. According to reports, organizers currently use fake goat carcasses (abp live). The sport is Afghanistan’s national sport and is thought to showcase the riders’ horsemanship and warrior spirit.

Picigin is just another name in the list of underappreciated and underrepresented sports. The game originated in Split, Croatia, and has been described as “volleyball in shallow water” (timeout). Although unlike Volleyball, Picigin uses a much smaller ball, no net, and usually no points. Players bat the ball between each other with the palm of either hand and try to keep the ball out of the water for as long as possible.

To cover all the niche and interesting sports and competitions around the world, a much longer article must be written. If interested, other interesting sports to look into are Beikou, Fierljeppen, Jokgu, Joggling, Tour De Franzia, and Kabaddi. Most of these sports can be played by anyone, so give them a try! If you decide to try out any of these sports, stay safe and take necessary safety precautions.


(1) Bureau, ABP News. “Kabul Just Hosted a Buzkashi Tournament. Know All About the

Sport Taliban Once Banned.” News, 8 Mar. 2022, https://news.abplive.com/news/world/kabul-just-hosted-a-buzkashi-tournament-know-all-about-the-sport-taliban-once-banned-1517823.

(2) Dimengo, Nick. “The Coolest Sports You’ve Never Heard Of.” Bleacher Report,

Bleacher Report, 3 Oct. 2017, https://bleacherreport.com/articles/2006921-the-coolest-sports-youve-never-heard-of.

(3) Timeout Authors. “Croatia Q&A: What Is Picigin?” Time Out Croatia, Time

Out, 16 Sept. 2018, https://www.timeout.com/croatia/travel/croatia-q-a-what-is-picigin.

(4) Secret Compass Editors. “What the Hell Is Buzkashi? – Secret Compass.” Secret

Compass | Theres Always A Way, 13 Dec. 2018, https://secretcompass.com/what-is-buzkashi/.

(5) TopEndSports Editors. “Yukigassen.” About Yukigassen, 2022,





Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *