I’ve never been a big sports fan, particularly at the professional level. I’ve honestly just never seen the point. Fans get fanatical and do things like statistical analysis and dress up to keep track of their favorite teams. I just do not understand it.
Sports in general I get. There were times when I was an avid Frisbee player, a collegiate fencer, a 5-days-a-week weight lifter and a paint ball fiend. I get exerting your body in a quest to be better than you were before. I get competition. But I don’t get many of the current popular sports and why people are paid millions upon millions of dollars to participate in them.
Would I take a six million dollar deal to play on the Patriots? Yes sir, in a heartbeat. I’d take my money, do my best and go away after my contract scratching my head and wondering why anyone would want to give me that much money to chase a ball in tight pants.
There are a lot of potential debates in this essay and probably some hate mail but I’d like to skip all of that and move directly to my take on the current popular sports and what perhaps could make them more interesting. It shall go without saying (after I say it at least once of course) that I don’t believe anyone should be paid massive amounts of money to play a game – be it football or WoW. If that is going to happen and let’s face it, most highly paid athletes aren’t just in it for the game, then they should at least give us more bang for our $120 tickets.
1. Football. This to me has always been a game that’s loosely based on hunting pigs. You got this slippery ball that two groups of men are clambering after, just to get the honor of bringing it home. I expect there’s a lot less ass-slapping and a lot more goring in real pig hunting than in football but honestly I’ve not done either myself. It certainly would be a lot more interesting to me if there was a live boar with seven inch tusks and a demonic hatred of all Mankind facing off against twenty guys with spears and loose bowels. Somehow I don’t think that will happen any time soon, unless it happens on Survivor.
I’d also find myself feeling sorry for the pig who never signed on for the gig and who wouldn’t get a paycheck at all. What would really make football more interesting to me would be a no salary rule. Players could play for the money they’d make in endorsements and from fan donations. Then we’d have a game worth watching and players who cared about their fans.
2. Cricket. I don’t know what the hell is going on here. This is the only professional sport I’ve ever witnessed that features snacks. It reminds me of playing soccer as an 11 year old and getting into the sliced oranges at halftime or half-game or whatever the hell it was. I don’t even pretend to understand cricket but I will admit to a certain joy in watching it. I can pull in three of the most rabid football fans and watch as they scratch their heads for a change and wait for someone to hit someone else with that big stick.
Yes, Cricket needs a bit more depth I think. My vote would be to add badgers to the pitch. Those critters are nasty when it comes to defending their territory (the pitch) and would add some much needed action and excitement to the sport.
3. Basketball. Okay, here’s a sport that I do admit to a certain joy in watching. It’s an elegant game of catch the ball and put it somewhere. But it’s still a bunch of people, tall people mostly, chasing after a ball. I think this game would be a lot more interesting if the shot clock was reduced to say 12 seconds and the ball was set to explode on second 13. Not a bomb type explosion but more of an exploding cigar explosion, with streamers and red smoke. Just enough to make a grown man scream like a little girl and go running in the other direction for three or four steps before recovering his composure. That and widen the courts by about a hundred yards. Throwing some zero G in there would be nice or is that just my geek showing through.
4. Wrestling. I’ve seen real, Greco-Roman wrestling and this is something that for once doesn’t involve balls. It’s got two people trying their best to subdue each other. It’s a test of strength, speed and endurance. Unfortunately this isn’t what I’d call a popularly televised sport. To make the sport more popular, each match should begin with a nice dance routine, move into the realm of burlesque and end with both opponents in brightly colored, form fitting wrestling spandex.
WWF wrestling on the other hand, I just lump this under theater and move on.
5. Any Martial Art. Martial arts are for me a thing apart from other sports. There’s just something about driving your body well past what many people would think of as good conditioning into doing things that most people would consider plain, flat out impossible. These folks have their bodies trained to the point where they do most of their thinking about 2.7 seconds after the fight is over. BAM! Tut… tut… say, did that gentleman just swing at me? Need a hand up mate? Matches are lacking a certain something though in appeal to modern television audiences. I would therefor suggest immersing both contestants up to the neck in clear gelatin. Fruit accents can be added as deemed necessary. This would bring the match down to a speed readily followed by us mere slap fighters.
6. Fencing. Having fenced for a year I can say that nothing I’ve ever done compares to having your body react as a machine. Your eyes see something, it goes straight to the motor part of your brain, bypassing the consciousness completely and then to the bit of your body trained to do something. It’s a true joy to experience and can be dead boring to watch.
Watching a fencing match is like watching two people simper up to each other, make whooshing noises while blurring their hands in frenzied motion and then suddenly standing still and glancing about. Other martial arts are a bit more fun to watch when people get thrown about or do dangerous moves with extremely pointy things. Alas, I don’t think this will ever catch on as a mainstream sport unless a few changes are made. Replacing all of the fencing blades with replica light sabers is a good start. That alone would bring in a wider audience and a sweet licensing deal for Lucasarts.
7. Baseball. This is like a rational version of cricket. It’s so rational that most of it involves sitting on a bench or standing around waiting for someone to do something with a ball. There are bursts of action followed by more sitting and standing. This goes on for a few hours and then the team who runs fastest and hits balls furthest wins.
It is my heartfelt belief that one minor change would make this game infinitely more interesting to watch and to play. Simply place large numbers on the bases, 1-4 and then rearrange them before each at-bat in a random order. Watching players scramble about trying to find out where the hell third base got to would be wicked.
8. Hockey. Take the ball and flatten it, take the bats and flatten them, then take the noses of players and flatten them. Throw the whole mix on a near frictionless surface and mix liberally with some non-denominational martial arts and that to me is hockey.
What would make this sport better? I’ve got two simple suggestions. The first would be to remove the skates and replace the ice with about three inches of clear, lime flavored Jello. That would add a certain element to the game, as well as providing for a snack a la cricket. Another suggestion would be to keep the ice, but require that any player take 3-4 shots of either vodka, tequila or blended whiskey before they hit the ice. Each time they entered the penalty box they’d also have to chug a beer. Now the fans can identify more directly with the players at a game and if we were to throw a table out on the ice, there’s a good chance a player would be dancing on it shortly.
9. Bonus paragraph. Make Blood Bowl real. Sure, real races other than human may be hard to come by, but I’m okay with an all human league. That is all.
[tags]sports, ben, ramblings[/tags]