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“No, it’s not like Horse!”

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“No, it’s not like Horse!”

There are some sports out there that I don’t think should be popular.  Just to let everyone know, I hate mixed-martial arts.  Just plain don’t understand the allure of watching a bar brawl within a cage, but I also don’t like putting gel in my hair and wearing Ed Hardy shirts.  Maybe I’m not their demographic, but there are plenty of small sports out there not getting TV deals and video games.  Going even further, there are games born from mediums within pop culture that – if completely within the realms of legality – would absolutely smash lame sports like hockey and MMA.

Despite television’s many contributions to popular culture, the closest output of fictional sports come from either animated sitcoms (like Blernsball in the underrated Futurama) or one-off episodes (think Flonkerton during the Olympics episode of The Office).  Let us turn our attention towards the channel of the movies.  So in the past 120 years of filmmaking, which sports deserve highlights on ESPN and lucrative broadcasting deals?  I’ve outlined the top five that either I think would have a legitimate shot at being popular and a few that would just be awesome to watch while bookended by Bass Masters and an LPGA tour event.

05.  Rollerball from Rollerball

Possibly the film on here with the most serious cast and crew, this 1975 Norman Jewison classic stars James Caan as a super-athlete on the Houston squad in the sport of Rollerball.  The film itself is a meditation on global corporate control and societal tendencies towards the barbaric, but all that symbolism really falls by the wayside when you watch the kick ass rollerball sequences.  Truthfully, you can watch similar action within the realms of Roller Derby, a sport that allegedly takes its inspiration from the film.  Rollerball just adds a goal and a magnetic ball into the mix.  Oh, and motorcycles.  And that is what takes this game from simply flippin’ sweet to “oh my god, I think I might have peed a little” awesome.

04.  The Running Man from The Running Man

For a while during the 80’s and 90’s, every single film released was an adaptation of some kind of Stephen King book/short story/bar napkin, and I was shocked to discover that the Arnold Schwarzenegger film The Running Man is no exception.  Set in the year 2019, the United States has dissolved into a wicked combination of 1984 and Escape From LA.  The Governator himself plays Ben Richards, a jailed military veteran who has been forced to compete in the reality TV sensation “The Running Man”, which consists of one man avoiding “stalkers” who are trying to kill him in spectacular ways.  Obviously a preemptive dig on what dominates our television sets now, what makes this movie a little better than Commando and not as good as Twins are the stalkers themselves.  Captain Freedom, played by former Minnesota governor and crazy conspiracy theorist Jesse Ventura, and Fireball, better known as nine-time Pro Bowl running back Jim Brown, are all the convincing you need to go out and rent this classic – preferably on VHS.

03.  Skeet Surfing from Top Secret!

Just to let everyone know: I just wanted to mention this often disregarded gem from the 80’s.  The first of two films created by the Zucker Brothers on this list, starring a slimmer Val Kilmer (seriously, has he been sucking down can after can of Batter Blaster since they gave Batman to George Clooney?) as an Elvis Presley-like entertainer by the name of Nick Rivers, who gets into international shenanigans, all the while singing his way in and out of situations.  His first big hit is a Beach Boys parody entitled “Skeet Surfing” where he encourages the youth to grab their “12 gauges” and go surfing.  It is definitely something worth looking at, which is why I’ve included this fantastic link.  You are most welcome.

02.  Transcontinental Road Race from Death Race 2000

Producer Roger Corman is a national treasure, especially among lovers of great directors and terrible films.  He’s responsible for the careers of Martin Scorsese and Francis Ford Coppola, but he’s also at fault for Bloody Mama and Attack of the Crab Monsters.  Needless to say, he’s kind of a hero of mine, and he’s also the man behind the absolutely fantastic Death Race 2000 starring grindhouse veteran David Carradine.  Basically the inspiration for The Running Man and the bloody counterpart of Rollerball, the Transcontinental Road Race is the easiest sport to explain: a three day cross-country race in dangerously-outfitted cars where points are scored by completing the race, defeating opponents, and killing innocent pedestrians.  Not something we’ll be seeing on Spike TV anytime soon, you can still see this film’s influence in odd places, especially in the realm of video games within titles like Carmageddon and Grand Theft Auto, at least before they got all serious and started making money.

01.  Baseketball from Baseketball

Before South Park: Bigger, Longer, and Uncut assaulted the sensibilities of audiences, creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone snuck a little David Zucker film into theaters called Baseketball.  Not the best movie in the world by any stretch of the imagination (Parker and Stone frequently deride it in interviews), but the most impressive contribution is the sport of the same name.  A cunning combination of – surprise, surprise – baseball and basketball, this is the sport on the list with the greatest possibilities.  One, it is a game that can be played in arenas or driveways, so accessibility by fans is easier than something like, say, Transcontinental Road Racing – but admittedly, that would be pretty sweet in an amateur sense.  Fully realized in the film as a national league with large and small market teams, Baseketball is not only fun looking but it also appeals to a money demographic: drunk college kids.  That’s your bread and butter, America – lets get on board this gravy train.

Extra Innings: Worst Fictional Sport That Is Actually Played

Quidditch from the Harry Potter Series

Honestly, in the movies, this sport comes across as badass.  But when I heard that there were Muggle Quidditch leagues being played at colleges, I threw up in my mouth a little.  The idea of kids in their early-twenties throwing dodgeballs into hula hoops just makes me a little sad, not to mention fearful for the future of our country.  If you are on the fence, this should help you hate this as much as your humble author: the snitch is a player, dressed in gold, roaming the campus while the seekers try to capture him.  Yeah, it’s kind of like that.

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