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Jai-Alai

What on Earth...?

A very cool team sport, this one. Described by some as the world's fastest ball game, Jai-Alai is kind of a dangerous cross between tennis and squash.

Where on Earth...?

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Originally created in Spain over 300 years ago, Jai-Alai caught on in Cuba and then hit the States. But even though it's most popular in the US, Jai-Alai is played all over the world.

How on Earth...?

Each team member has a huge paddle-like object, called a cesta, which has a wicker basket on one end. The idea is to catch the ball after it bounces off one of the Jai-Alai court's three walls in the cesta, and hurl it back at the wall. But the ball can't be held on the cesta - it must be caught, either on the full or after one bounce, and sent flying back at the wall, in one smooth movement. Failure to do so means that the team loses a point.

Caber-Tossing

What on Earth...?

Competitors attempt throw a huge treetrunk-like pole, the caber, so that it lands according to the (quite complicated) rules of caber-tossing. Strength and skill is what counts!

Where on Earth...?

A traditional Scottish Highland game.

How on Earth...?

Competitors take a run-up, and then throw the wooden pole straight up into the air. The idea is to make it land so that it lies in a line with the athlete's run-up - it's up to two judges to watch the caber's flight and try to decide if they've succeeded. There's no regulation-sized caber - the only requirement is that the caber is very difficult for even the most powerful competitor to lift!

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