I am not a sporty person. I find running tedious, the gym terrifies me, and team sports remind me of P.E in school.
However, like many people I have decided that post-pandemic, I should be more proactive in my athletic lifestyle and, in motivating that, I have decided to find a new, exciting sport to try.
I thought about what sports I could try. In the past, I’ve played netball and football, had a go at rounders and used to swim quite regularly.
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But, for my new sport, I wanted something a little more exciting so I turned to alternative sports. Ones I had to search for and discover and decided to give a few of them a go.
Hana attempts to skate
(Image: Hana Kelly)
It is the trendiest sport there is right now. If you want a sport to show off on TikTok or Instagram, then this is the one for you.
I’ve always wanted to be good at roller skating. I’ve owned a pair of skates for about ten years and have never managed to master stopping. So, with it being trendy, I strapped on knee and elbow pads and took them for a spin on the street.
I managed to go forward, I managed to skate around in a circle. I did not, however, manage to stop. It is a true fear that raises the heart rate: having to lean entirely forward and trust that the little rubber brakes are going to save your life.
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I did enjoy skating around the street and appreciate the fact that it is a sport you can do literally anywhere. You will get weird looks from neighbours as you roll into a wall for the sixth time, let’s face it, there was no control. But, it doesn’t involve travel or a team.
If you want to learn more about skating and join a Roller Derby club, rather than embarrass yourself on the street, then Manchester Roller Derby offers Zero 2 Hero training sessions on Sunday evenings, for beginners. Here you can borrow all equipment and get a true feel for the sportier, less Instagram, side of this sport.
While the last Harry Potter film may have aired a decade ago, its legacy still exists in the most peculiar of places. One of which being Quidditch. No, you don’t actually get to fly, and no, balls don’t actually attack you. But it is a highly complicated game.
Unfortunately, the big Quidditch players in Manchester are based at the universities and this being August, were seemingly unavailable to try out. While I’m aware that my skills at Quidditch would be similar to Ron Weasley’s, I remain hopeful that this could be the game for me.
However, while on the hunt for magically alternative sports, I really wanted to give quidditch a go and am sure I will try it… eventually.
Hana realises she doesn’t know how to throw a frisbee
(Image: Hana Kelly)
I had never heard of Disc Golf but was really pleasantly surprised to find out that I could play for free at Longford Park in Stretford. You can pay a deposit to rent the frisbees or bring your own, and then you get to enjoy 18 ‘holes’ of golf, but with a frisbee.
Upon arriving at Longford Park on a windy, drizzly Tuesday evening with two friends, we were pleasantly surprised to find the course quite busy and thought about how much fun this sport would be in the sun on a nice day.
Finding the first tee was definitely a struggle as we got lost in the park, but we trekked through the damp grass, through the wonderful trees and an unexpected bee garden until we found it.
It turns out, Disc Golf requires coordination and a good arm. It’s a fun sport, it’s definitely low-key active. If you’re a beginner like myself, you’ll find yourself walking a lot more than someone who knows how to throw a frisbee. But this adds to the endurance of the sport as you find yourself blindly flinging a disc into an unsuspecting tree, and then having to collect it.
It’s the sort of sport that you feel in your arm the following day. Not in a blinding pain kind of way, but a mild irritation that reminds you that you did some exercise.
I’m glad I gave it a go and do believe I will return to Longford Park to play again. For my friend Harry, it may have become a new obsession. But it is a great sport that is simple to play, doesn’t require a specialist outfit, although I’m not sure my jeans and jumper were the best choice, and chances are, you may already have a frisbee lying around.
It truly seems that Frisbees are in fashion. Frisbees are truly the new bat. Your dog? Ahead of the curve of fashionable sporting and that is why Ultimate Frisbee is the second sport with a Frisbee to make it onto this list.
From prior experience, ultimate frisbee is somehow a mixture of fetch and American football with the point being to score points by scoring ‘goals’. The goals are the end zones of the pitch and having a frisbee thrown to you while in this zone scores a point.
If you fancy picking up the sport, then DUFFA, Didsbury Ultimate Frisbee for Amateurs, has a beginners game every Sunday in Fog Lane Park in Didsbury.
More athletic than Disc Golf and with an emphasis on teamwork it’s a very different sport with the same equipment.
Hana jumps on a trampoline
(Image: Hana Kelly)
Trampolining is an insanely efficient sport for calorie burning. Ten minutes of bouncing can burn the same amount of calories as half an hour of running. Plus, you get to bounce and don’t need special trainers.
I visited Flip Out Trampoline Park, which costs £11 an hour plus £2 for their special socks, so a little more spenny than the local pool and with more emphasis on children’s joy than athleticism.
I booked for an hour’s bounce and spent maybe 20 minutes on the actual trampolines. My fitness levels proved why I needed a new sport as I sat down for a ‘breather’ while children bounced off the, actual, trampolined walls.
However, it was the first sport I tried which truly raised my heart-rate – not in fear like roller skating – but actually: “oh wow I am exercising,’ and gave my calves a bit of a workout.
While incredibly exciting, trampolining is probably not the affordable option. Perhaps it’s a once a month experience, or a treat yourself evening out with the family. When an hour’s bounce costs roughly the same as three pints, you’ve got to choose carefully.
Maybe you have a cousin, uncle, or friend who happens to have a trampoline in their garden. Yes it’s probably for their children but it could be your workout zone without need for the special socks.
There is something insanely exciting about climbing up a wall covered in rainbow blobs. There’s the rush of excitement as you step to the next blob and plan your move to beat the wall. Then, there’s the abseil descent which is the closest thing to flying in a harness you’ll get unless you’re on stage in Peter Pan or skydiving.
Rock climbing is not just a sport of strength, testing your ability to pull yourself up a wall, but it’s a sport of mental agility and endurance.
I climbed the rock wall at Flip Out. Granted it was only twice my height, as it was not designed for an adult, but I gave it a go. I prepared myself for the task and climbed up the little wall. It does take some thinking to make sure you choose the right path up the wall and, in the absence of an abseil, back down again.
At Parthian Climbing , all kit rental is included in the price: £15 for an hour and a half of climbing. At Awesome Walls Stockport, the beginners session is £30 for an hour’s instruction before you’re free to climb to your heart’s content.
After my week of sport try-outs, I know for sure that I won’t get picked for any team. However, I do think that I have found some enjoyment in exercising. I want to try again with the roller skating, really push myself to stop. Disc Golf surprised me and I want to spend more time at Longford Park, preferably in the sunshine and definitely not in the wind.
P.s: I know that Ron was a good Quidditch player, he just suffered with nerves.
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