Interesting facts about Pesäpallo or Finnish baseball

The national sport of Finland is Pesäpallo. The game, which is broadly based on the baseball game played in the U.S, has the influence of some local games played in the country. The game was first introduced, developed, and refined by Lauri “Tahko” Pihkala between the period 1910 to 1920. The game has retained most of the rules framed in the beginning and is still popular not only in Finland, but also played in Germany, Sweden, Australia, Switzerland, and some parts of Canada.

The game’s popularity was such that it was included as an invitation game in the Summer Olympic Games held in Helsinki during the year 1952.

Though broadly based on the baseball game, it is the variation with the normal baseball game that makes it all the more interesting and popular.

In normal baseball, as most of you know, if a player hits the ball very hard such that it crosses the fly line on the back, it would definitely result in a home run for the batting team. But, in Pesäpallo, a ball hit across the fly line or the back line would be considered as a foul.

In this game, each team has 12 players – 9 playing in the field and 3 others as jokers. One team will take up batting while the other team does the defending.

In Pesäpallo, the ball hit by a batter should invariably bounce for the first time in the playing area for that strike to be considered normal and fair. This is a major variation as against the normal baseball.

Another interesting aspect of this game, Pesäpallo, is that of koppi. In this game, a batting player will not be declared out if the opponent catches the ball in the air. Instead, he will be declared out only when he is caught in the middle of the ground while attempting to take a run and could not complete the run.

Thus, you can visualize the game as a fast paced one where the time between the first pitch of the ball in the playing area and the throw by the defender to the base is what a batter should take to complete the run.

If a player completes one home run, the other players, who were declared out, can bat again.

Interesting facts about Football

Also referred to as Soccer, this game of football is one of the popular team games played outdoor over a large field comprising of 100 yards in length and 50 yards in width.

The professional teams, the national teams, and the innumerable tournaments played across most of the countries for most part of the year stands testimony to the popularity it has across the world.

All-time great players like Pele of Brazil, Diego Maradona of Argentina and Michel Platini are well-known sports persons across the world. In recent times, Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Kaka and Wayne Rooney steal the show among the great players of this great game.

The game, that calls for extraordinary skill, stamina, and power, involves playing the ball using any part of the body other than the hand or the arms.

The game is played between two teams in the football ground. Each team has 11 players. A goal post is placed in either part of the field, having a dimension of eight yards. The game, as usual, starts from the centre of the field.

The objective of the game is one team, comprising of 11 players, of whom one is the goalkeeper guarding the goal, pass the ball such that the ball is sent inside the goal of the opponent, beating the goalkeeper of the opposing team.

As is the case with many sports, the game of football first originated in England. It was in England that the rules for the game have been formed in 1863 and adopted uniformly across all the countries in the world. The English Football Association, a premier institute in the game of football, was created in that very year 1863.

The popularity of the game and the acceptance of the game across the countries were such that the Federation Internationale de Football Association or FIFA was created in the year 1904, and this FIFA is the governing body for conducting World Cup tournaments in Football.

The First World Cup Football was conducted in 1930 and since then, every 4 years, this event is conducted. Starting with a modest participation, now the FIFA World Cup has grown to a level in which 32 countries participate in the final round of the tournament scheduled to be held between June-July 2010 in South Africa.

Interesting facts about Pato – the national sport of Argentina

The word Argentina, in sports parlance, immediately brings to memory Diego Maradona, and now Lionel Messi – the newly crowned European Footballer of the year. Both are great footballers representing the country. But football is not the national sports in that country.

The national sports of Argentina is Pato. The game of Pato had been in existence from the beginning of the 18th century, played both in a competitive manner as well as in amateur pastime, especially in the fairs and during weekends. Pato had witnessed innumerable controversies over the past and had even resulted in innumerable deaths of ducks used in the game in ancient times.

The game, in its new version, has been recognized as the National Sport by the Government of Argentina in the year 1953, and since then the game is played in the new version.

What actually is the game of Pato? It is an interesting game that entwines two different disciplines – polo and basketball.

The game is played between two teams – with each team having 4 members. The members will be riding on the horses. The other interesting aspect of the game is the ball, having 6 handles of convenient sizes.

The idea of the game is that a player should pick the ball by its handle and throw it through a vertically positioned rings placed on either side of the ground just as goal posts in football. The ball, made of leather and having six handles, weighs between 2.3 to 2.8 pounds.

The player, who takes the ball in the field by the handle, should outstretch the arm in which he is holding the ball, and should use the other hand for controlling the reins of the horse. If a person does not outstretch the arm in which the ball is held, it would treated as foul. The outstretched arm gives an opportunity for the other players to snatch the ball before being thrown through the vertical ring.

Another most interesting aspect of the game is the tugging, where the struggle takes place between the player holding the ball and others trying to snatch the ball. In such circumstances, both the players should not be sitting on the saddle of the horse but should be standing on the stir, holding the ball in one hand and use the other hand for controlling the reins of the horse.

Handling the ball in one hand, controlling the rein, and standing up on the house while on a mission to throw the ball to the vertical ring makes this game the most interesting one, not just for the players but also for the spectators.

In modern game, nets are provided in the vertical rings for holding the balls. At the end of the game, the number of balls in the nets determines the winning team.

In ancient times, live ducks were put up in vertical ring posts that lead to killing of the ducks on being hurt by the balls. The more ducks killed determined the winner in ancient games.