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With sports shut down by coronavirus, ESPN turns to Tetris and Golden Tee

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‘The Ocho’ gives us all kinds of weird — and awesome? — sports tomorrow

Mike Adamle narrates Jimmy Koufos’ world record school bus jump over 21 motorcycles, Aug. 23, 1980 at Bristol Motor Speedway. One of the greatest calls in sports history.

ESPN, the Worldwide Leader in Sports, is a network without a subject during a worldwide shutdown that has suspended everything from football to Formula One racing. So, this weekend, they’re going back to their roots, with programming that recalls the company’s wild-west origins of Australian rules football, demolition derbies, and professional billiards.

“The Ocho,” which is normally a block of weird sports the company runs during the doldrums of August, is airing on Sunday. That means sports fans can watch the Stupid Robot Fighting League, the 46th Annual Cherry Pit-Spitting Competition from Eau Clair, Michigan, and the 2019 Death Diving World Championships.

More aligned with our subject here at Polygon.com, the 2019 Golden Tee World Championship airs tomorrow at 4:30 p.m., followed by the 2018 Classic Tetris World Championship. The full schedule is here, and if the “World Axe Throwing League 2019 World Championship” doesn’t immediately leap off the page, I don’t know what to tell you. There’s also the 51st National Stone Skipping Competition at 9:30 a.m.

This takes me back to my childhood, when, after Soul Train on Channel 2, Dad would flip it over to the Putt-Putt tour show — hosted by Billy Packer — while he made deviled ham sandwiches for me and my brother. And wouldn’t you know it, the Putt Putt Championships are on ESPN at 7:30 a.m. on Sunday!

“The Ocho” takes its name from 2004’s Dodgeball, in which the titular sport airs on “ESPN 8,” a riff on the network finding a home for any esoteric sport, whether that’s marbles, hamburger eating, or Maryland Terrapins football.