Finland Has the Weirdest Sports We’ve Ever Heard Of
Finland has a lot of weird games and events. Maybe it’s the cold, maybe it’s the constant fear of reindeer attack, maybe it’s the saunas, but by gum, there are a lot of odd and interesting games and events held there each year. Putting aside the most popular ones—the Air Guitar Championship, Wife Carrying and the now-defunct Sauna Championship—here are just a few of the other games you can participate in while visiting Finland.
If you’ve ever played soccer (or football, whatever!) and thought, “The only way this could be better would be if I were playing knee-deep in mud, ” then get out your gym shorts and head to the Swamp Soccer Championships in Ukkohalla. Much like regular soccer, there are hundreds of teams participating, (many of whom wear silly outfits). If mud isn’t your thing, there’s always the Snow Soccer Championships later in the year for those who prefer freezing to death over getting dirty.
Are there saunas? Yes. Afterwards, you can relax in the nearby saunas set up for the participants. Make sure to get the mud off you first, though, unless you’ve always wanted to experience what being a clay pot in a kiln feels like.
Not just for kids at camp anymore, anthill sitting competitions happen at various locations around the country, but mostly in Lapland). All you need is an anthill, some people willing to sit on it, and the ability to not immediately run away screaming, “There’s ants on my butt! Oh God!” If you’re interested, keep an eye on local calendars (or if you’re that desperate to sit on an anthill, just go into your own backyard and time yourself).
Are there saunas? Probably not, but if there are, I’m sure they’re full of ants.
Mobile Phone Throwing
This is an event I partake in every time my iPhone crashes on me, but if you want to go throw an old Nokia as far as you can, then head to Savonlinna and join the Mobile Phone Throwing World Championships, happening every summer. There isn’t much to explain—they give you a phone and you throw it really far—but man, it sure is satisfying watching one of those things go sailing through the air, only to crash down and shatter. I guess it’s sort of like the Finnish version of that scene in Office Space where they smash the printer to bits, only with more judges and fewer baseball bats.
Are there saunas? Unsure. There’s no mention of them on the website, but I’m sure you could make your own by building a fire out of shattered phone bits.
In Canada, this is just called “a summer’s evening, ” but since 1993 there have been Mosquito Swatting Competitions across in Finland. You have to swat as many as you can in five minutes—the current record is 21 mosquitos brutally slaughtered within the timeframe. It’s a bloodbath!
Are there saunas? Frankly, I wouldn’t mix mosquito bites and saunas. It seems like a real itchy combination.
Most people are content to put away their snowmobiles for the summer to collect spiders in the garage. For those who aren’t, there’s the Ivalo Watercross event in Ivalo, Lapland, in which participants try to run their snowmobiles through a course set up on a river. If you get a snowmobile going fast enough, it will happily skip across the water, but you had better be ready to haul out one water-logged machine if the engine stalls.
Are there saunas? I’m sure there’s one nearby, although beware of runaway snowmobiles.