Argentina’s Weird, Awesome “National Sport” Argentina’s Weird, Awesome “National Sport”

Argentina’s Weird, Awesome “National Sport”

by Zach Dundas

June 25, 2010

If you’re following the Argentinian World Cup soap opera featuring the wolfish Diego Maradona and the waifish Lionel Messi, you’re forgiven for assuming that soccer is Argentina’s national sport. Think again, friends. El futbol might be Argentina’s national obsession, highest-profile export business, and, with Maradona in charge of the national team, most frequent cause of mass outrage. However, officially the country’s national sport is something else entirely: pato, a bizarre amalgam of polo, basketball, and soccer played on horseback. Soccer may rule the nation’s sporting passions, but pato enjoys honorary official-sport status.

Apparently the sport was originally played with, yes, a living duck. Soccer is cool and all—but, come on. Pato’s got this.

Photo via Relincho Pato.

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Argentina’s Weird, Awesome “National Sport”