10 Great Sports Teams of Science Fiction

By Jason Helton in Daily Lists, Miscellaneous
Tuesday, January 24, 2012 at 8:10 am
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It's a pretty well-known generalization that nerds and sports do not mix. In my entire youth hockey career of three years, I scored one single goal, and I think it was against my own team. But despite sports and nerdery usually going together like peanut butter and motor oil, occasionally a team makes a memorable mark in science fiction and fantasy.

All of the teams on this list are here for different reasons. Some of them are by far the best at what they do. Some of them are absolutely horrible, but remember why they are playing the game, and that is in it of itself a victory. Some of these teams were asked to do something far beyond what any member had ever dreamed of, and some of these teams are just really frakking good at beating the shit out of others. But all of them deserve a spot on this list.

10) The Toon Squad, Space Jam

When the alien Nerdlucks decide to invade Earth, Bugs Bunny and the Looney Tunes gang decide to challenge their foes to what is apparently the animation world's version of conflict management: Basketball. Of course, the Nerdlucks have no intention of being defeated, and steal the powers of Earth's greatest basketball players including Charles Barkley and Patrick Ewing, to become the Monstars. In retaliation, Bugs' team recruits Michael Jordan and hanger-on Bill Murray to the squad, which consists of Daffy Duck, Elmer Fudd, the Tasmanian Devil, Porky Pig, Tweety Bird, Sylvester, Yosemite Sam, and a rabbit with breasts called Lola, who apparently wants to frak with Bugs like a... you know. While the Toon Squad spends a good part of the film getting trounced, they eventually get things together, and are only down by one near the end of the game. Jordan uses the physics of the 'toon world to extend his arm Reed Richards-style, making the longest dunk in history and winning the game for the Toons.

9) 2927 New New York Yankees, Futurama
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In the future of Futurama, baseball as we know it is a thing of the past. Instead, a juiced-up version (literally; steroids are mandatory) called Blernsball is the great universal pastime. Similar in many ways to baseball, there are still batters, fielders, pitchers and the like, but the first major change is that the ball is now on an elastic tether, with grand slams being achieved by hitting the ball through a hole in a billboard. Another difference is the automatic win, triggered by a ball breaking the tether and entering a special hole. A pinball-style lock in the middle of the field can trigger a three-ball multiball, and bribery is not only accepted, it's rewarded. While different from what we know as baseball, many major league teams made the transition to blernsball, including the 2927 New New York Yankees, whose exploits were legendary enough to have the entire team memorialized in the Blernsball Hall of Fame. And by memorialized, I mean having their still living heads encased in a jar. One jar, specifically -- these guys are team players to the end.

8) Beacontown Beavers, Teen Wolf

Most high school sports teams usually suck, and that certainly includes the Beacontown Beavers. They're your typical, average high school basketball team... at least until a fucking werewolf joins up. Scott Howard (Michael J. Fox), below average member of the basketball squad discovers that he got a little more hair than he bargained for with puberty, and inherited the family werewolf trait. Though he tries to hide his awkward difference from others, getting pinned during a game sends him into Beast Mode, and to the shock and awe of the crowd, Scott wins the game for the beavers with an impressive quadruple double. Thos makes the Beavers hungry like the wolf (pun intended), who go on to the state championships. Of course, in typical '80s movie fashion, Scott decides to play the final game sans fur, much to the chagrin of his coach, but he's still able to win the game at the last second.

7) Franklin State University Warriors, Unbreakable

So this one is a little bit obscure. Once upon a time there was this guy named David Dunn, who never got sick. One day he started playing football and ended up playing for the Franklin State University Warriors' varsity team. While not much is written about the team, they had one distinguishing feature: David Dunn was essentially Superman -- super-strong and virtually indestructable (except for water, which is why he wasn't on the swim team, I guess). These abilities fast-track Dunn's football career, and he's scouted to play in the pros when he meets the love of his life, Audrey. Audrey, not willing to play second fiddle to his budding football career, subtly forces David to pick between football and her, so David fakes a knee injury, gives up football, and years later regrets the hell out of his decision. But seeing as it's fucking Kal-El playing for them, the amount of potential that the FSU Warriors must have had was astronomical.

6) The Stalkers, The Running Man

In the near future, reality television will reach its logical conclusion -- The Running Man, a game show where criminals are hunted down like dogs while competing for the opportunity to earn pardons as well as fabulous cash and prizes. Of course, good prey needs good hunters -- enter the Stalkers. The Stalkers are a combination pro wrestling team and mercenary squad, with each member having his own theme and specialty: Dynamo is able to shoot electricity from his glowing suit, Buzzsaw prefers chainsaws, and Professor Sub-Zero is a hockey goalie from hell that puts Jason Vorhees to shame. The Stalkers are so effective at killing their prey that they have gone undefeated since the beginning of the program, at least until meeting Ben "The Butcher of Bakersfield" Richards, an innocent police officer forced to play the game. In fact, the makers of the game once faked a set of winners just to keep things interesting. If it weren't for the intervention of Ben Richards, there is no telling how long the Stalkers reign of terror would continue.

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