With the NFL playoffs leading up to the Super Bowl and in anticipation of the Winter Olympics, let’s not forget about ESPN8 athletics. From basement games like foosball and air hockey to backyard cornhole and chase tag, ESPN The Ocho covers them all. There’s such variety in all of these events, which one is the best and why? Is it for the athleticism, the enjoyment or the absurdity of it all? The DC Sports section has a collection of takes:
Headis is the correct answer, simply put. A combination of table tennis and the portion of soccer where you use your head, headis is so much fun to watch. It’s really amazing how these athletes can manipulate the ball to bounce and spin in different ways just using their heads to deceive their opponents. At the top level, you get a number of really intense and entertaining rallies that have the viewer on the edge of their seat. Perhaps the best part of the sport is the names that the players have, such as “Headi Potter” or “Bob the Headmaster.” Although it hasn’t quite made its way to the U.S. yet, headis is increasing in popularity in Germany and other parts of the world, even hosting a world championship. Soon, perhaps it will be featured on normal channels, but for now, we get to enjoy it once a year on The Ocho.
It may not have been on the 2021 programming schedule, but it was on previous schedules, so I’m including it here. I remember playing darts on Xbox 360, and have continually been playing it on my phone because I enjoy the game so much. As I have grown older, I have realized that darts is such a fun sport to watch as well. What other sport can you see two people stare at a dartboard for minutes on end and throw darts onto it with a maximum of 60 points per throw? It’s even cooler when someone wins the contest with just nine darts because it is almost the equivalent of getting a hat trick or throwing for four touchdowns. The ultimate goal is to hit zero from a starting score of 501 and the ways in which the players get there make this game enticing for people of all ages.
Sign Spinning Championships
We’ve all been driving through a commercial area and seen these guys outside of a T-Mobile, casually flipping their gigantic, arrow-shaped sign to entice you to come in. But the Sign Spinning Championships takes their craft to a whole new level. In 2020, 60 of the world’s best spinners went for the gold, competing in three elimination rounds, with some lasting just 30 seconds. Contestants get judged on technical ability, style and execution, and with half a minute to do it in, they go all-out in hopes of wowing the judges. Each year, these competitors get more and more creative, incorporating breakdancing, handstands and flips into their routines. Each person’s round is unique, and there’s no real pattern to it all – it’s both unpredictable and exciting. There’s something so absurd, yet so awe-inspiring about the entire concept that makes this sport a must watch anytime it airs on ESPN8.
There is absolutely nothing like throwing a bag and sinking straight into the hole in cornhole. The sport has become so popular that it has even garnered speculation of potentially landing a spot in the Olympics. Anyone who has played cornhole at a cookout or family event knows how fun this game is when you get extremely good at it, and there’s certainly a cult fanbase for the sport. As someone blessed with little athletic ability, I can compare sinking a bag straight into the hole to the sweet swish of a basketball when you sink it straight in. On ESPN8, I have to give this sport the crown as the best sport on the program. With events like the cornhole championship, two competitors can be so evenly matched that one minor slipup can decide the entire game. You combine those stakes with the immense pressure of the game and you have some quality sports entertainment.
Associate Sports Editor
As someone who can’t skate, air hockey is the closest I’ll get to shooting a puck. Hockey is a bloody, violent sport and my knuckles take quite a beating after a few rounds of air hockey. Skates are sharp, of course, but don’t underestimate the abrasiveness of those strikers. Yes, what you use to shoot the puck is called a striker. Hockey is notably a sport that has a lot of energy in it from players and fans alike, and air hockey follows suit on ESPN8. Two people face off against each other with their striker trying to hit the plastic puck into the other’s goal, similar to regular ice hockey. Air hockey goes from basements and arcades to the big screens of ESPN to showcase the athleticism of what goes into air hockey, not falling far behind ice hockey as one of the best sports on TV.