Friday, April 05, 2013

Far-Out Fun: Weird Zone: Sports by Maria Birmingham

Bored with the same-old extreme sports?

Tired of triathlons where athletes snowboard over Andean cliffs, hang-glide into a remote lake, and duck deep underwater for a bit of cave diving?

Weary of the same-old, same-old? Seriously seeking some supra-strange sports?

Maria Birmingham's forthcoming Weird Zone: Sports (Owlkids Books, 2013) has a few new contests for your consideration. How 'bout one that's toe-tally over the top?

You'd better be prepared to go toe-to-toe with the competition in this sport. Toe wrestling is like arm wrestling... except competitors use their feet.

Wrestlers lock their big toes together and wait for the referees to cry "Toes Away!" With that, they battle until one of them pins the other's foot to the ground.

Tootsie-tangling too tame? How about roller blading down a roller coaster?
Dirk Auer, in-line skated down a roller coaster, topping out at speeds of 56 mph. Auer wore specially designed skates that fit onto the coaster's rails. Whoosh!

Kookie kayaking? Hauling a kayak back up the ski slope might be a drag, but the downhill run is slick! And kayaking over waterfalls takes the sport to the heights--189 feet up (or down, depending on how you look at it) for the current world record!

Hang 1000? A brave bunch of 100 brodies (surfer dudes) on the Cape Town beach rode the same wave in tandem for a new record in groupie gnarlies.

Loaded with quite strange ways to desport oneself from all over the planet, Weird Zone: Sports also features color photos, cartoons, and sidebar boxes such as The Science Spot (describing the physics and biology of the sport), Here's to History, Sports Shorts, Just for Laughs, and Invention Dimension, as well as charts, record summaries, quizzes, and all sorts of weirded-out ways to do sports, from underwater basketball and bicycle races and swamp snorkeling to stone-skipping to pumpkin-boat racing, not to mention the venerable rubber ducky racing. A sort of cross between the Guinness Book of World Records, Sports Almanac and somebody's wildest daydream (or worse nightmare), this one is weird and wacky enough for any jaded sports fan.

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