The 1950s were an awkward time in Europe. That’s really the only explanation I can offer in trying to guess where the “sport” featured in this video must have come from.
Emotionally and financially devastated by two world wars within the space of a person’s lifetime, Europe did all sorts of weird things to try to distract itself from fighting again. A few examples of this behavior can be found in the Eurovision song contest and motorcycle soccer.
Eurovision, for good or for ill, is still with us. This year, bafflingly, it was almost won by Australia. That’s not a misspelling; I do mean Australia. No, I don’t understand it, either.
On the other end of the spectrum, perhaps disappointingly, motorcycle football (aka “soccer” in some parts of the world), didn’t fare as well. According to this film, it spread to Britain “from the continent” and in 1959 had grown to such an extent that there were 16 different teams in the country.
For some reason, though, it didn’t stick around.
That is, it didn’t stick around in the United Kingdom. Dropping into the internet rabbit hole, however, I discovered that the sport still exists –– known as “motoball” –– in a handful of European countries: Belarus, France, Germany, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Russia and Ukraine among them.
Turns out the Motoball European Championships will be held in the Netherlands next month. I think I sense a roadtrip coming on…