When Games Collide: the Four Sport Hybrids of the Apocalypse

When I was in second grade, my friends and I were fairly resourceful.  Our school had monkey bars and basketball hoops, but it also had the most confounding asphalt art.  Random colored boxes within a track-line white border, with a lone three-feet of red railroad.  God knows what Timothy Leary was on when he was commissioned to design that little masterpiece, but the inventive streak in the young spun an apparent acid-flashback into a playground game.  It was tag, and it was witch-doctor, but we just called it “Railroad.”

Kids running carefully within the lines to avoid “the one,” and only finding solace to catch their fleeting breath on that little stretch of rail-line.  Creating rules and loopholes as recesses dragged on, by the end of that particular week, it had taken the whole school by storm.  Everyone wanted to play Railroad – which is when I thought it turned too “mainstream” and opted to ironically play tetherball while extolling the virtues of Sonic Youth.  I was pretty cool for someone wearing L.A. Gear shoes.  It must’ve been the power of unknowingly standing on deadly mercury all day.

Despite our pitch-perfect local game, it never really took off beyond Dixon Elementary.  There were no Railroad leagues popping up across the country, and ESPN2 isn’t showing matches at two in the morning (but they are showing sailing – that sounds about as fun as drinking Flavor Aid in Guyana circa-1978).  Most sports played today are mostly rooted in the 1800’s, with exceptions like golf, which probably was born by drunken accident in a Scotland meadow.  What can I say: the Scottish know how to make a whiskey stupor and some rabbit holes into an internationally-renowned sport.

One of the most popular modern sports, basketball, is also one of the newer sports to gain traction and that was invented by the good Dr. Naismith almost 120 years ago.  Yeah, I know – stock car racing came around in the 1920’s, but when running moonshine is the catalyst for the creation of a competition, one has to be skeptical about labeling that endeavor a “sport.”  With all that being said, we’ve gone nearly a century without having a solid invented sport sweep the nation.  Hell, people are still trying to make soccer happen here in the United States.

If Hollywood can’t think up ideas for movies on their own, then we need to borrow their horrible philosophy and start revamping our stale sports.  Not by making the cast more attractive and the gore more plentiful – though these are all good ideas – but instead by combining our favorite pastimes.  I’m talking about hybrid sports.

Hockey and Football
(Footey, Deathball, Most Illegal Sport in the World)

Imagine, if you will, playing football consistently on a frozen tundra.  I mean, we’re talking thick ice in a bowl stadium.  Outside linebacker Elvis Dumervil launching off the line towards some Southern California-raised quarterback at the speed of Alexander Ovechkin.  Rolling to the plexiglass sidelines, he just releases the ball as the freight train hits, laying pretty boy into the boards, skates flying upwards as the protective siding gives way into the crowd.  The pigskin finds Andre Johnson, just as he does a double salchow over goalie Ryan Miller to find the endzone.  A well-choreographed Ice Capades routine follows soon after.

Same rules as America’s true favorite sport but with the addition of skates and a whole lot of momentum.  It would be equal parts slapstick comedy (no pun intended) and traumatizing injuries.  Obviously, the high-impact nature of football isn’t something you want to combine with sharp skates and the all-or-nothing brutality of hockey, but doesn’t that scene just make you wish we lived in a dystopian wasteland where this would constitute entertainment?

Polo and Stock Car Racing
(Carlo, Car Jockeying, Now American Stock Car Auto Racing Is Cool)

One moment I’m saying driving around making left turns isn’t a sport, the next I’m combining it with polo.  The joys of being in charge!  Anyway, everyone knows that most of the viewing public only watches stock car racing for the horrible car crashes.  Don’t tell me that watching cars pass each other and stay in well-formed lines gets you excited – I don’t believe you.  But I would start watching if there was a goal in mind, and these racing teams like Penske and Hendrick would compete head-on.  Clear the infield at Daytona and let polo run free – only substituting horses for horsepower (cringe, I know, it hurt to type it too).

You’ll have Kurt Busch burning down the slippery grass in his Dodge while Sam Hornish, Jr. hangs out the passenger side window with an oversized mallet.  As they work towards the ball, Jimmie Johnson’s Chevy crashes into the driver’s side of the Miller Lite car, making Hornish lose his beat on the prize.  Jeff Gordon will emerge and start wailing on Busch’s wheels before Kyle rears back and strongly pushes the Lowe’s car into the wall, sending Jeff Gordon flying into the protective fence, saved only by his polo helmet.

Now that’s a Sunday afternoon I can get behind.

Dodgeball and Rollerskating
(Rollerdodge, Skateball, My Bone Is Suppose To Be Inside My Arm, Right?)

Watching a person getting hit in the head with a dodgeball is funny.  Watching a person getting hit in the head with a dodgeball while on roller-skates must make your brain explode in laughter.  Think back to when roller rinks were the cat’s pajamas – how many people did you see biff it during red-light/green-light in a given night?  How many couples collectively fell to the hardwood while “Come Sail Away” by Styx softly built to its chorus?  It was like a tamer Faces of Death, and all I could do is sit, watch, and shove nachos inside my gaping maw.

Adding roller-skates to dodgeball would be easy, but you would likely have to up the need for protective gear.  Helmets would be a must, but the most necessary component would have to be elbow pads.  One well placed ball at the kneecaps and those skates would be sent towards the heavens, leaving the skater no choice but to brace for their return to earth with their delicate joints.  The potential for injury in this hybrid is beyond great, but its potential for spectator amusement will always outweigh its dangers.

Chess and Mixed Martial Arts
(XTREME Chess, Ultimate Fighting Chess, Nerds With Muscles)

Who am I kidding?  They already have this – it’s called Chess Boxing.  And guess what?  It’s dominated by Eastern Europeans and Russians.  Surprise, surprise.  The late Bobby Fischer better be glad they didn’t have this format back in 1972, because I think Boris Spassky could’ve taken him by technical knockout.

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