Thankfully, science fiction is on hand to fill the void with a magnificently brutal collection of future sports that will make the World Cup look like the St Hilda’s Sunday School league, B division.
Your thoughts and suggestions are, as always, welcome.
Pyramid / Triad
One of the elements of Battlestar Galactica to make it through from the 1970s to the modern remake and Caprica unscathed, Pyramid is a close quarters ball game played between teams of up to eight people.
Points are scored by getting the ball into a hole at the top of a pyramid, while full contact is allowed. In new BSG, one of the Final Five cylons, Samuel Anders, was a pyramid hero, while Caprica’s Daniel Graystone owns the Caprica City team.
Although you only glimpse it in this clip, the 1970s version Triad seemed a lot … erm … gayer, and was played on Galactica by Starbuck and Apollo.
The Running Man
GIVEN some of the crap we are forced to watch on a regular basis, it’s surely only a matter of time before this becomes reality, alongside Monkey Tennis.
Ah-nie plays a criminal (wrongly convicted, natch) who is forced to run for his life through various zones in the top rated TV show, the Running Man. His reward for making it through is his freedom.
But there’s a catch. No-one wins their freedom and instead of Richard O’Brien chasing him, Crystal Maze style, he is pursued by a team of brutal WWE-alike killers armed with flame throwers and electricity and stuff. They are fatally hampered however by their lycra uniforms and trying to kill Ah-nie, who is even more indestructable than normal.
This is probably second division Arnie compared with the likes of Terminator and Predator, but the Austrian Oak was in his pomp when this was made and kicks ass throughout, bringing down the repressive state while he’s about it.
George Lucas didn’t get many things right in the Phantom Menace, but one element that was spot on was the pod racing, where Darth Brat takes on various aliens in a high speed race around Tatooine.
Yes, the World Cup has a lot going for it, but you’re not telling me it wouldn’t be improved by Tusken Raiders taking random potshots at players and Jabba the Hutt starting each game by flicking an alien rat into a gong.
Star Trek sports
One is the oft-mentioned but rarely seen Parises Squares, not the Star Trek universe’s version of Celebrity Squares, but the highly violent game played with an iron mallet and a ramp, or something, which seems anomolous given the sanitized Star Fleet universe.
The second, and my favourite, is Anbo-jyutsu – the ‘ultimate evolution of martial arts’, at least according to Riker’s dad.
The aim – as far as I can see – is to speak bad Japanese while wearing masks and clumsily swinging sticks at each other, but as with all martial arts, Riker’s true opponent is himself.
In this instance that means his struggle to stay inside the ridiculously tight outfit he wears. Breathe in Will!
The ultimate science fiction sport doesn’t sound too promising when you describe it as James Caan on rollerskates.
But then you add in the extreme violence, motorbikes, metal head-crushing balls, kung-fu, an awesome soundtrack, explosions, cool 1970s styling, a mob baying for blood and … well, you get the drift.
The story centres around Jonathan E, a veteran superstar of Rollerball, the sport which has replaced war in a future controlled by corporations. If you haven’t seen it, you can buy it by clicking here.
Those same corporations set up the sport to demonstrate the futality of individuality and so try to force a reluctant Jonathan to retire, eventually by removing the rules to make the sport more violent than ever.
Caan is majestic in this, with affecting support from the charismatic John Beck as Moonpie, for whom tragedy awaits.
The themes of the film, while indicative of the time it was filmed, are still relevant today – all powerful corporations craving power at the expense of the individual, humanity losing its moral compass, power corrupting.
The ending is also one of the greatest in any sci-fi film – a must watch – but make sure you avoid the 2002 remake which stars someone from American Pie and LL Cool J (Nuff said).
Have you got any other suggestions? Comments welcome below.