ESPN 8: The Ocho Sports We Want To See At Penn State

We miss sports, folks.

The coronavirus has turned the world on its head for the foreseeable future, and the wide world of sports has certainly experienced some serious change. Instead of watching March Madness, fans have been forced to enjoy replays of random NFL games and old NIT classics. With no live games to watch, people have struggled to get their fill for some athletic competition.

It’s a sad world without sports, but ESPN2 helped us out this past Sunday by rebranding to ESPN 8: The Ocho for the day. “The Ocho” broadcasted several wacky sports for fans to enjoy, including the World Sign Spinning Championship, death diving, and the classic cornhole.

This got our staff thinking: what random sport would we like to see played at Penn State?

Owen Abbey: Tetris

As someone who is suffering without any sports, ESPN 8: The Ocho brought me so much joy. The one event I saw that peaked my interest was competitive Tetris, and not any of this new-age BS, no, it’s the OG version. I was thoroughly entertained, especially as the announcers were super into it as well. There’s drama. There’s excitement. There’s last-second comebacks to win the championship. I mean, it is everything a sports fan wants. On top of that, the match I saw had a 16-year old go up against the Tom Brady of Tetris. It was so exciting that I would 100 % sign up to spend a day at the HUB trying to become the Penn State Tetris Champion.

Ryan Parsons: Stone-Skipping

In the glorious return of ESPN 8: The Ocho, there was one sport in particular that stood out to me that I think could become a Division I program at Penn State. Stone-Skipping. We already have a rock-climbing wall, so why not expand facilities for rock skipping? The White Building and the McCoy Natatorium should be plenty for this new team to practice, and perhaps the squad could travel to the banks of the Susquehanna for some real-world practice. The lack of pure physical talent or raw athleticism in this sport makes for a very inclusive environment, and gives any Penn Stater with motivation and grit the chance to become a collegiate athlete.

Ryen Gailey: Cornhole

I think an essential and much-needed addition to the Penn State sports world is a competitive Division 1 cornhole team. The very popular game is a tailgate essential in Happy Valley, so why not make it real and form an official team? I think the fact that Penn State can take just about any competition and make it extremely competitive is evidence enough that a cornhole team would thrive and be immensely popular here. In the words of Kanye, I believe it would really “get the people going.” There are hundreds of cornhole boards already painted to fit classic Penn State themes, all that’s needed now is a solid team. Count me out though, because truthfully I am horrible at cornhole!

Matt DiSanto: Dodge-Juggling

This weekend, in an effort to inject sports back into my bloodstream in any way possible, I spent far too many hours watching the strangest sports in the world on ESPN 8: The Ocho. But no competition captured my attention more than dodge juggling.

As a wise man once said, “If you can dodge a wrench, you can dodge a ball.” If only he knew how much harder (and more exciting that’d be) while juggling! Dodge-juggling comes in a variety of forms, but my personal favorite is when it’s just athletes attempting to throw harsh rubber balls at players across the gym simply trying to juggle in peace.

Quirkiness aside, dodge-juggling would make a perfect addition to Penn State’s athletic lineup and an electric experience at Rec Hall or, hell, even the Bryce Jordan Center. Just remember the five Ds of dodgeball dodge-juggling, and you’re golden.

Michael Tauriello: Darts

While it isn’t actually on the ESPN 8: The Ocho slate, there has recently been a fair amount of conversation about the excitement surrounding darts. If you don’t know already, just search up the name Michael van Gerwen and spend some time watching the first video that comes up. While the premise of the game is somewhat simple and not always regarded as a sport, the atmosphere and fan base behind darts is usually quite intense. Penn State needs to definitely think about forming a darts team. The sport definitely suits the same crowds that fill any of the sports venues around campus.

Will Pegler: Sign-Spinning

I only got a chance to watch the 12th Annual World Sign-Spinning Championship for a few minutes, but I would’ve watched it for three hours if my dad didn’t have control of the remote. In a word, this competition was electric. The participants were doing crazy tricks with the signs, as one guy even tossed it in the air, did a flip, and kicked a sign up with his feet.

One of the most impressive parts of the competition was how rowdy the crowd got after every move. With that in mind, I realized sign-spinning would be even more entertaining if it were played in front of a larger audience.

Folks, sign-spinning needs to come to Beaver Stadium. Just imagine a world-class sign-spinner standing at the 50-yard line with 108,000 fans cheering them on. Maybe Penn State Athletics could test it out a little bit by inviting a sign-spinner to perform as the halftime entertainment during a football game next season, and then decide if they want to host tournaments there. In my humble opinion, I think Sean Clifford could have a future in this sport of the future.

Your move, Sandy Barbour. You won’t be disappointed.

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About the Author


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