Ever get bored of watching the same old sports on TV over and over? Ever think “this football game could do with some fire?” or “this basketball match would be better in zero gravity?” Well, luckily the worlds of film, TV and literature have come up with some exciting alternatives to the sports we’re all tired of. There’s excitement, broomsticks and maybe some fire too. Find out more in our Top 10 Fictional Sports.
A new take on baseball, created by improvisational comedy troupe The Upright Citizen’s Brigade. Pro-thunderball was said to have been invented during the baseball strike of 1994 and it includes a whole new list of rules. The most significant addition was the extra two balls, which need to be in play at all times. But the “Honeys and Hounds” rule, which allowed cheerleaders and dogs to wander the field at will, would probably make quite a big difference to the game too. And there’s the team mascots driving Honda Accords all over the pitch and the 5-foot drop between infield and outfield. The game was the subject of an episode in UCB’s series three but sadly the game has never been popularized. And the controversial extra rules involving loaded guns and ceramic baseballs have ever been formalized either. Shame!
9. Electro-Magnetic Golf
Brave New World is a 1932 novel written by Aldous Huxley and it imagines a future London, where people are grown in laboratories and family is outlawed. One of the new types of recreation is electro-magnetic golf. It’s mentioned briefly a few times in Chapter 6, but there’s not much of an explanation as to what it actually is (other than that you can play it at St Andrews). You can only assume that the golf balls are somehow guided into the holes by use of magnets, which rather takes the fun out if it all.
Astonishingly though, someone has actually filed a real patent application for an electro-magnetic golf ball, where the ball contains a power source, an electromagnetic signal transmitter and a shock actuated switch. It seems that the main advantage of this golf ball would be that it’s easy to locate once it’s been hit off the course – it’s not just so that golfers can cheat their way to a hole in one. But I wonder whether the patent applicant is paying Huxley for the idea?
From great works of literature to a British kids’ TV show. Squizzle is the game played by the characters of Tree Fu Tom, a cartoon based in the tiny world of Treetopolis. When the insects and acorn sprites aren’t tending their ranches or learning spells, they like to relax by playing squizzle, a game that seems to mainly involve jumping around and throwing leaf-like discs to each other. But it keeps the sprites and insects busy and out of trouble, which is good because any time they’re not playing squizzle they seem to keep almost destroying the entire treetop civilization for no apparent reason. Keep chucking that disc thing around! It’s for the good of all TreeKind!
Unlike some of the sports on the list, Anbo-Jytsu has a meticulously documented history and rulebook. What else would you expect from Star Trek fans? It’s a martial art that was invented in 2168 by a blind gymnast on Alpha Centauri and it requires “kinesthetics, balance, and keen senses”. Signature moves include Anbo Chohr, where a fighter listens to an opponent’s breathing in order to know when to strike. Or you can try the Pranha Jytsu, a subconscious translation of a person’s movement into a reflex action. Just steer clear of the Hachidan Kiritsu (hitting an opponent in the middle of the back and trying to disable him) – don’t you know that’s illegal?
As with everything in the “Trekkie” universe, this is a sport for people who take their sci-fi way too seriously. Sadly, no-one yet seems to have set up real life Anbo Jystu contests, but surely it’s only a matter of time?
By contrast, the favorite game of Calvin and Hobbs has very little in the way of rules. Calvinball has only one real rule – that you make it up as you go along. Every game must be different, and can involve hitting shuttlecocks against a tree with croquet mallets, or playing with bowling balls “or any other reasonable ball.” There are songs that can and should be sung at any point during the game, including the official Calvinball song (sample lyrics “Calvinball is better by far!/It’s never the same! It’s always bizarre!”). Masks are obligatory, and no-one is allowed to question the masks. Just what you’d expect from the brain of a kid whose best friend is a tiger!