Sports; a word that evokes joy and fulfillment to the players and the viewers, includes activities that increase one’s endurance levels. From extremely dangerous sports like rugby and bull riding to bizarre ones like wife-carrying and extreme ironing, and then to downright funny ones like cheese rolling and sack race. Like heck, whoever came up with humans skinny-waggling in sacks of all sorts – I still roll with laughter every time I remember a friend’s mom that participated in this sports and how she was practically rolling in the sacks. Yet, it is astonishing to see that people do actually enjoy these sports, whether dangerous or not.
However, in our contemporary society, a large disparity exists with regards to women’s participation in sports. The level of disparity differs with the country and by the type of sports; whether viewed as masculine or feminine. Of course, these disparities are majorly borne from orthodox beliefs about women’s supposed weaker nature.
Yet, there are sports majority do not know are in existence. Guess what else, these sports are rarely linked to women as they are considered – dare I say it – “masculine” in nature. Here goes:

  • Faceball – As its name depicts, the object of this sport is to simply throw an inflated ball at any part of the opponent’s head. The only equipment required for the game are two chairs and a small exercise ball or a beach ball for only two players facing each other while sitting at a distance of about 10feet apart. A player starts the game by throwing the ball through whatever means (tossing, striking etcetera) at the opponent’s face, who has to stay still without flinching. The throw continues for as long as it keeps hitting the opponent’s head, forfeiting his turn if his hit misses. Each hit is awarded a mark. There can be as many rounds as possible so long as the plays are in agreement. The player with the highest hits becomes the winner at the end of the game.
  • Jolleyball – This sport is a combination of volleyball and juggling, with particular emphasis on juggling. The game is played on a court similar in size to that of a badminton court, between two teams with two or three players per team. Each player is handed two balls and each play starts with a serve. Before the serve, all players have to be juggling the two balls in their possession. The player who receives the serve should catch the ball that is served and use it to perform a 3-ball juggling, before passing one of the balls to a teammate or throwing it back to the opponents. Scoring and passes works the same as in volleyball with the only addition that teams are awarded points if the opponents are unable to catch and juggle the third ball.
  • Ostrich/Car/Horse Racing – Ostrich/Car/Horse racing is a sport where people race each other on the backs of ostriches/horses or in cars. Ostrich racing is particularly harder to manage than horses. Before the race starts, the riders stretch and examine their ostrich/car/horse and wear helmets and other protective gears, where necessary. The winner of the game is usually the first to reach the finishing line.
  • Pie eating – This contest is usually held annually in Wigan, Northwest of England. Participants of the contest are required to eat as many meat and potato savory pies as they can in the shortest time possible (usually 3 minutes). The winner is the fastest pie-eater. Hotdog can be substituted for pie with the same rules, except the increased time from 3-10 minutes.

  • Juggling Triathlon – This is a combination of juggling and the triathlon sport. Athletes need to swuggle (swim while juggling), unijuggle (ride a unicycle while juggling), and joggle (juggle while running). Similar to regular triathlon, the race consists of three legs; swimming, cycling, and running. But the twist is, athletes have to continuously juggle a set of balls on all three legs of the race. The race starts with the swimming leg, where athletes swim using the backstroke, with both hands raised above water while juggling the set of balls. The next is the cycling leg in which athletes use one hand to control the bike (usually unicycle) and the other hand to juggle the balls. The final leg is the running leg, where the set of balls can use both hands to juggle the balls while running.

With this, one begins to wonder why women’s participation in the above-mentioned sports and in a few other National Olympics sports are limited. At an age where women’s liberation has come a long way, are women still being marginalized in sports?



Jane Egerton-Idehen is a telecommunication executive with over 13 years’ experience in the Nigerian, Liberian and Ghanaian telecommunications markets. Jane has a strong passion for promoting girls in STEM and ensuring women in STEM industries remain and grow their careers in that industry. She curates her thoughts around her career journey, experiences and passion in life.