ESPN celebrates odd sports with return of ‘The Ocho’

The odd sports of ESPN’s ‘The Ocho’
FreeImages.com/David Stern
Early morning events on "The Ocho" this year included the World Championship of Ping-Pong.

If you’ve tuned into ESPN 2 today, you may have seen some… interesting sports unlike the channel’s usual offerings.

That’s because ESPN is once again celebrating “The Ocho,” the fake channel first used as a joke in the 2004 Ben Stiller and Vince Vaughn comedy “DodgeBall: A True Underdog Story.”

In lampooning some of the obscure sporting events ESPN used to fill out its programming, the movie had “ESPN8: The Ocho” covering not only dodgeball but also such “sports” as lawnmower racing and squirrel water skiing.

ESPN rebranded ESPN U as “The Ocho” last Aug. 8 and is doing so with ESPN 2 this year.

The day started — and will end — with a showing of “Dodgeball,” but in between will be the likes of cornhole, spikeball, competitive eating, darts, sumo wrestling, chess boxing, saber fighting and kabaddi, a popular Indian sport that resembles a more physical version of capture the flag.

So, if you’re looking for something that’s “almost a sport,” in the words of the movie, check out ESPN 2 before the day’s over.