Whilst for some people, the challenge of a gruelling sport on its own is quite enough, for others the test isn’t complete unless it’s being played in an amazing location. Whilst you might think that keeping tennis balls from going over the walls, or making sure there’s enough room to fit in a proper sized pitch, might immediately rule out some of the more exotic locations, you’d be surprised how many weird and wonderful spots are being used for everything from squash to golf.
Here are a few of the crazier examples:
Squash at Grand Central Station – a train station in the middle of New York City might not seem like the natural location for a squash tournament but the J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions has been played out at Grand Central Station since 1995 and attracts a huge numbers of fans and interested parties each year. The tournament takes place in the Vanderbilt Hall, in which a special glass walled room is constructed annually for the tournament.
Golf in Greenland – given the amount of waiting around that is involved in golf, it’s surprising that there would be a tournament in one of the coldest places on earth. However, this is exactly what happens each year when the World Ice Golf Championships take place in Greenland. The 2-day, 36-hole event takes place in Uummannaq, which is more than 600km north of the Arctic Circle on a fjord that is covered in a metre of ice. Chilly!
A marathon on the Great Wall – as if a marathon wasn’t hard enough on its own (26.2 miles is no laughing matter…), some people are mad enough to do the whole trek over the longest wall in the world. Those who want to make it all the way to the finish line are challenged with taking on 3,800 stone steps to get there, which is no mean feat. Unbelievably, the fastest runner has completed the course in just three and a half hours.
Men’s basketball on an aircraft carrier – whilst it’s not a common location for a basketball game (given the potential for the number of lost balls) in order to mark Veteran’s Day in San
Diego, two teams – Michigan State and North Carolina – kicked off the 2011/12 season by doing exactly that. The match was arranged as a tribute to the military and was even attended by President Obama himself.
Women’s Basketball in a gig venue – although there’s probably no shortage of suitable courts in which to stage their games, the Women’s National Basketball Association in America took advantage of being booted out of Madison Square Gardens by a Republican conference in 2004 to gain some publicity for using an unusual basketball court by moving the game to a pretty odd venue. The Detroit Shock and New York Liberty teams played a once in a lifetime match at the Radio City Music Hall, resulting in a completely unique experience for fans who could only watch the game from one side of the court!
These unusual locations have provided an interesting and unusual backdrop to many high profile sporting events. Who knows what will be next…tennis on top of the Eiffel Tower? 100 metres on the moon?