The world's dumbest sports

You see some amazing things when you travel, things you just had no idea existed.

Some of them of them blow your mind with just how stupendously great they are. Others are like the turducken.

As a sports fan I'm always on the lookout for the weird and wonderful of the athletic world as I traverse the globe, and I've found some crackers over the last few years.

Sepak trakaw, the volleyball-soccer hybrid played throughout South-East Asia, has to be one of the best spectator sports around. And anyone who can find a game of bocce or petanque and not feel the irresistible urge to join in has got something wrong with them.

But foreign sports are not all great. Following is a list of games I've witnessed around the world that are silly at best – or just rubbish.

Parkour, France
Over in France they've somehow managed to elevate of the seemingly simple art of running away from someone into a sport. Only the French, eh? Sure, it looks all cool leaping off tall buildings with French swagger, but it's not much fun for spectators, is it? (Unless you, too, can leap off tall buildings.)

Elephant polo, Sub-continent
Liking watching me do karaoke, this is kind of funny for a minute or two, and then just painful from that point on. The elephants lumber about, obviously not caring less about the game they're supposed to be a part of, until the whole thing descends into farce when one of them steps on the ball, mashing it into the grass, never to be found again. Just leave them be.

Curling, Scotland/Canada
Memorably described to me once as "a mixture of lawn bowls and housework", curling is one of those sports that if you don't play it, you don't get it. I'm sure its exponents have fun pushing a rock along the ice and then sweeping around it, but for spectators its eye-wateringly boring. And Canada always wins.

Cane toad racing, Australia
Being fair, Australia has some pretty silly sports of its own, not least of which is that football code where you can't get sent off. But I'm going to award our silliest sport to cane toad racing, which is essentially a competition between fat, gross things that's used merely as an excuse for people to go to the pub, drink beer and gamble. (So, not too dissimilar to the NRL really.)

Cheese rolling/Bog snorkelling/Ferret legging/Chess boxing, UK
Really, you could make a case for Great Britain taking out this entire list, given its citizens' love of pointless, stupid sports (no cracks about cricket, please). Cheese rolling is basically a death wish, bog snorkelling is plain dumb, ferret legging is nothing short of disturbing, and chess boxing... Actually, chess boxing is kind of cool.

American football, USA
Just. Get. On with it! Does it really take an AGM with a full quorum for you to work out that, next play, you'll throw the ball to the guy who's free? NFL would be brilliant if it was over in half the time.

Canyoning, everywhere
I dunno, I'm sure there are people around the world who enjoy slopping around in wet shoes, bashing their knees against rocks, tearing leeches off their legs and almost drowning while trying to climb up waterfalls, but I'm not one of them.

Hurling, Ireland
This was fittingly described in a Cracked article I found as "a hybrid of field hockey, soccer, football and unremitting, pants-wetting terror". It's also the direct opposite of curling, in that while it looks truly horrible to attempt to play, it's great fun to watch.

Bull-fighting, Spain/Portugal/Latin America
Disregard, for a minute, the animal rights issues. Instead, put yourself in the place of the common spectator, who arrives in support of the brave matadors pitting their skills against the raging beast ... until he realises what a ridiculously one-sided battle this is. It's not long before you're silently cheering for the poor bull – and that's a weird feeling.

What are the silliest sports you've discovered overseas? Have you found any you've really liked?

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