Alternatives to the traditional model of sport

Photo by Darien Funk

I spend too much time on YouTube—way too much time. The feeling may be familiar to some; you’re just scrolling through videos, clicking on any that look remotely interesting. 

It was this way I discovered several small sports leagues that post the majority of their content on YouTube. During these boring times, these sport leagues are still running, entertaining people who are desperately in need of entertainment.

One of the channels I follow regularly is a Wiffle  ballleague called MLW Wiffle Ball. It’s a very charming organization featuring a bunch of friends who reside in the same area.

The league has been operating since 2009, so it’s very interesting to look back and see how the players have grown from season to season. 

Wiffle ball is similar to baseball but has some different mechanics. The bats are very thin and typically made of plastic. The ball is light, making it easier to throw pitches with more movement. 

There is still the basic strikes, balls and outs system, along with the basic three bases that lead to home. The field is much smaller, however, to account for the limited distance a Wiffle ball can travel. 

All of this combined with recurring faces makes for a very engaging game to watch. In MLW, games are fast, typically lasting no longer than three innings. The editing is done very meticulously  to remove any dead time. 

The audience is only shown hits, walks, outs and occasionally some other essential moments. Eventually, I began to identify with certain  players’ personalities and styles, finding teams to cheer for. 

The league also boasts an instant replay function, leaving plenty of angles for close plays. Managing to look very professional while still being a largely amateur production, MLW has strikes the perfect balance between charm and athletic play. 

It’s a perfect watch for those who like baseball or who would like to see baseball sped up and made more exciting.

Golf isn’t for everyone. With the somewhat earned reputation for being a drab sport, golf is typically associated with an older generation.

It is largely for this reason that I was surprised to find myself binging disk golf videos. The channel JomezPro presents disk golf in a very professional way.

It’s appearance alone is enough to put the league on par with other golf leagues. The score graphics are really well done and make it easy to follow the game.

There’s an odd satisfaction that comes with watching disk golf. Watching skilled opening drives or hearing the gentle jingle of the chains as the disk finds its way into the basket.

It’s a relaxing pause from an often tumultuous world, along with likeable personalities. There are very knowledgeable commentators who give useful insight into the matches, making it easier for new viewers to understand. 

It’s a sport that can appeal to a wide audience, and even if you don’t necessarily have an interest in sports, I’d still recommend checking out JomezPro.

One last sport that I feel is worth mentioning is one that is pretty simple, some wouldn’t even call it a sport. 

The athletes are nothing short of modern day gladiators, putting their well-being on the line only for spectacle—and monetary gain. I am of course describing the anomalies that are the Eastern European slapping competitions. 

The intensity one feels as the two strong willed combatants stare each other down before the open palms start flying. Essentially in this competition, two people take turns slapping the other in the face until one of them can’t continue. That’s it. 

Simple but entertaining, there’s nothing quite like seeing two people willingly slap one another in the face as hard as they can. It is definitely not for everyone. Honestly, you have to be pretty sick to enjoy watching people brutally smack their opponent—hence the reason I enjoy it so much—but still a perfect watch when you’re drinking with a couple friends. 

Almost all of the videos are in what I believe is Russian, the most prominent channel being ДНЕВНИК ХАЧА—a name which I neither know how to type nor speak. However, as the old adage goes, if one looks hard enough, for long enough, he is bound to find two dudes slapping the brains out of each other.

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