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Lesser-Known But Better Versions of the Sports You Love

If you're into basketball, you're going to be super into team handball.

We know what you're thinking: it’s 10 weeks into the NFL season and you’re so sick of football - what with the hitting and the running and the touchdowns. Wait, absolutely nobody is saying that? Well, stay with us here, anyway. What if you’ve been watching the wrong sport all this time? Take a gander at some of these alternative versions of what you’ve been cheering for and maybe, just maybe, you’ll be changing the channel.

If you like: American Football
It’s time to get into:
Aussie Rules Football

(Photo: Patrick Bolger/ Getty Images | Licensed to Alpha Media Group 2013)

Imagine the NFL game you’ve come to know and love, only on a much bigger field, with a lot more people who never stop playing and also don’t wear pads. Do we have to go on? Probably not, but we will. Catching (or marking, to those Down Under) is also much improved in Aussie Rules. The players will leap and perch their knees on the shoulders of their opponents (or teammates for that matter) while trying to take down the ball. And, as if all of that wasn’t enough, sometimes the commentators will scream things in Australian accents that just barely make any sense (“JACK IN THE BOX!”).

If you like: Hockey
It’s time to get into: Broomball 


(Photo: Melanie Stetson Freeman/ Getty Images | Licensed to Alpha Media Group 2013)

We’re certainly not arguing that hockey isn’t great. In fact, any sport that allows face-punching that is completely tangential to the actual point of the sport is ok by us. Our neighbors to the north are big fans as well, but they’ve also brought us broomball. We appreciate it as hockey fans, because it’s a similar sport that we can play because (a) we don’t have to skate; and (b) we don’t have to fight some giant goon. Our face is our money-maker. I mean, we haven’t actually made any money with it, but we might at some point.

If you like:  Baseball
It’s time to get into: Cricket


(Photo: Asif Hassan/ Getty Images | Licensed to Alpha Media Group 2013)

Sitting in a stadium and watching America’s pastime for five hours has become a bit of a badge of fandom, showing how much you care for your team. Well in Cricket, matches can last for days. That’s right, going to see your team try to take home a victory could eat up a good portion of your week. So if you’re really into holding your fandom over people’s heads, this is the sport for you. Plus, you also get Lasith “Slinga” Malinga, who is one of the best Cricketeers (that’s probably right) in history. And that’s not even factoring in his awesome hair.

If you like: Soccer
It’s time to get into: Futsal


(Photo: Matthis Kern/ Getty Images | Licensed to Alpha Media Group 2013)

Futsal is an indoor, fast-paced, much smaller version of soccer. It’s played 5-on-5 with no offsides, unlimited substitutions, and a smaller ball. It’s also extremely popular. Governed by FIFA, tournaments all the way up to a World Cup are played on a four-year cycle. Hell, you don’t even have to change your allegiances; it’s so similar to soccer that Brazil and Spain win every year in Futsal as well.  

If you like: Basketball
It’s time to get into: Team Handball 
 

(Photo: Catherine Steenkeste/ Getty Images | Licensed to Alpha Media Group 2013)

When you say “handball,” many people summon to mind a game played with a palm-sized blue rubber ball and a giant wall. In fact, there’s way less pegging and way more awesome in this sport, which lives somewhere between basketball and soccer. And if you can’t get into the game at all, you can at least be comfortable knowing that there’s nothing better than seeing a bunch of giant men throwing a tiny ball as hard as they possibly can

If you like: Golf
It’s time to get into: Anything else, really. Race walking
 

(Photo: Ian Walton/ Getty Images | Licensed to Alpha Media Group 2013)

If you spend all day watching people trying to put a tiny ball into a tiny hole on a GIANT lawn, you just might enjoy this sport of people who look like they need to go to the bathroom moving fast. Just not too fast


Check out 5 Things We Learned From the 2013 NFL: Week 10 and The UFC's 20 Greatest Moments... So Far