It seems as if there’s always some sort of sport being shown on TV. Football. Cricket. Snooker. Races of various kinds. Even baseball. Sometimes. On Channel 5. I think. I don’t know, I don’t really watch Channel 5. More importantly, I don’t watch sport. It just doesn’t hold my interest.
What is so fascinating about watching a group of grown men and women competing in such “exciting” and “dynamic” past-times as “˜who can get from point A to point B first’ , “˜who can put the little round thing in the net thing the most times’ and “˜who can make more money than I will ever see in my life in a single day by doing not a whole hell of a lot.’
Ok, so maybe I’m bitter because I was rubbish at sports in school. I was (am) the stereotypical geek who gets picked to be on the team last. I’ve had footballs kicked into face. I’m not very physically fit; my favourite sport at school was “˜500 yard dash to the library’ “¦ well, less dash, saunter.Â As such, I never developed the keen appreciation for sport that most of my peers seem to enjoy.Â But that certainly doesn’t mean that I can’t enjoy a good SciFi sport or two. I have my reasons. And here they are! This is my short list of SciFi sports that I’d pay good money to watch.
5:- Pod Racing ““ The Phantom Menace
Yes yes yes, Phantom Menace sucks, I know. But you have to admit, the pod racing scene was one of the handful of moments it got right.Â Pod racing is essentially the same as any racing sport, but its futuristic setting is what sets it apart from the mundane everyday racing events you can witness in the real world. Why watch some guy on a motorbike zip past you every 20 minutes in the rain when you can sit in the stands under the two suns of Tattooine watching pod-racers take their lives into their hands at blistering speeds? It’s fantastically exotic, attended and performed by a diverse group of aliens that, admit it, you’d kill to rub shoulders with. Except perhaps for Sebulba. He’s a bit of a prat.Â It’s rumoured that if you keep your eyes peeled you can spot ET in the crowd, but I’ve yet to see him.
Flashy and dynamic, this is how all F1 races should be ““ zipping lightning fast through an alien desert with lasers, players sabotaging each others’ vehicles and Tusken Sand Raiders camping out by the side of the pitch to take potshots at the racers.
4:- Death Race ““ Death Race (well, yes, it would be)
This one’s another race, obviously, but it’s in a whole different league. The vehicles are heavily armoured and highly weaponised ““ guns, shield, even napalm. Think watching races go horribly wrong on Sport’s Blankiest Blank is entertaining? Imagine watching all-out high-speed vehicular warfare! Sure, the life-expectancy of drivers is incredibly low, but that’s why you get maximum-security convicts to do it.Â I suppose the only downside to watching from race-side stands would be the possibility of getting hit in the face by a bit of flying debris. Or set on fire. In the end, you have to ask yourself: is seeing such an incredibly awesome race worth the risk of grievous bodily harm? Of course it is! Probably.
3:- Kal-If-Fee -Star Trek TOS
Now I know that this isn’t a sport; it’s actually a Vulcan custom where a challenger and their challengee battle to the death to settle a grave matter of honour.Â Naturally alien cultures need to be respected but if the Vulcans were looking to make a little cash I would buy ringside tickets to this in a heartbeat ““ and admit it, you would too.Â The rousing music! The exciting moves! The vaguely homo-erotic subtext! This event makes boxing and wrestling look like shaking hands and talking about the weather. It’s the archetypal duel to the death, and aren’t those always better live, preferably with popcorn?
2:- Blurnsball – Futurama
Let’s face it, baseball is boring. It’s repetitive ““ ball pitched to batter, hit, caught by someone. Ball pitched to batter, hit, not caught by someone. Ball pitched to batter, not hit, strike. And batting averages, all those numbers! Yawn. What it needs is a little spicing up. Yes?
Well, good news everyone! In 3000 years time baseball will be a thing of the past, replaced by Blurnsball, a fast-paced and manic game with nonsensical “˜rules’.Â Who needs rules, when the sport itself is such a marvellous spectacle!Â Sure it’s a little difficult to keep score, especially when the ball goes down the little hole and additional balls are fired all over the place, but it certainly makes it worth leaving the house to attend in person.
1:- Rollerball ““ Rollerball (naturally)
This sport has it all!Â Exciting gameplay, studded gloves, superstar players and violent savagery. It’s a bit like American Football and a bit like Basketball, with motorcycles, steel balls and violence that makes Ice Hockey look tame by comparison thrown in. Set in a future where war is replaced by violent entertainment, this film’s primarily concerned with corporate skulduggery and the classic “˜lone figure sticking it to the man’. This is the film that James Caan was born to play in, and its subject is a game in which the players are clearly EARNING their massive paycheques. Next time you see a Football player dive to the floor holding his knee and hamming for the camera, spare a thought for the poor fools who play Rollerball.Â This game is fast, brutal, compulsive viewing. No wonder the crowds go wild for it.
Lightcycle Races ““ Tron : Exciting but difficult to get to see in person
Brockian Ultra-Cricket ““ The Hitchhiker’s Guide series : You can’t see what’s going on but you imagine it must be terribly exciting.
Quidditch ““ The Harry Potter series : Not SciFi, but I couldn’t not include it in some capacity. Who doesn’t want to see people whizzing around on broomsticks?
The Loony Toons Basketball Game ““ Space Jam : Just kidding.