This weekend, a team of guys from San Francisco will collide, head-to-head, with a team of guys from Baltimore to see which assemblage, collectively, can transport an ovoid object a sufficient number of yards to be declared victorious. Many of you will pretend to enjoy this just so you can be among the first to observe new short-form cinematic creations designed to stimulate the sale of merchandise.
I kid, but there’s nothing wrong with that: Superbowl Sunday is a de facto national holiday driven entirely by commerce, and as such arguably the most American holiday of all. The Ravens were arguably inspired by Edgar Allan Poe too, so there’s that.
But since when has real life been more enjoyable to us than fiction? Sci-fi and fantasy may not breed the biggest sports fans in their universes of fandom, but they do create some of the greatest and most insane fake sports ever. As much as I vaguely manange to get in the game once a year, let’s be honest and say that if, in place of football, the Superbowl celebrated one of the following…wouldn’t we all be way more onboard?
7. The Wacky Races.
NASCAR’s fun and all – frankly, any sport in which the athletes can blatantly shill for Mello Yello and Budweiser on their equipment will always be okay by me – but think of how much better it could be if you added intelligent beavers, cavemen, eternally laughing dogs and half-assed biplanes to the mix. Also, think how much better the Hanna-Barbera cartoon might have been if some of the characters could have potentially died in flaming crashes as a result of their frequent incompetence. Rufus Ruffcut’s buzzsaw wheels could just be a tad more exciting outside of the hand-drawn world.
6. Flamingo Croquet.
PETA would surely object to this unusual variation of the traditional garden game as promoted by Alice in Wonderland, but hear me out. Take a selection of players as uptight and egomaniacal as the Queen of Hearts. Hand them mildly tranquilized flamingos. Tell them to wait until a suitable countdown has concluded, then watch them try to wrangle the psychotic pink birds, which would undoubtedly peck their eyes out and cause them to scramble blindly among the unfurled hedgehogs, who would stab their feet repeatedly.
Some might call this class warfare. We call it a very merry un-birthday to us.
5. Mortal Kombat.
Your least-favorite competitors in any sporting contest should not only lose – they should have their skeletons ripped out of their still living bodies, set on fire and then shit on just to be certain. Not really; that would be illegal. But you’ve thought it. So what if we suspended those damn laws for one day, allowing fatalities, brutalities and (if science can figure it out) babalities? If death seems like too harsh a punishment for being a top-tier athlete, consider how close we’re coming to it regardless. Then realize that mutants from Outworld totally deserve it.
4. The Long Walk.
Way back in 1979, Stephen King (under the pseudonym of “Richard Bachman” that nobody was fooled by) predicted that we’d enjoy seeing ordinary people get tormented in spectator endurance tests for entertainment purposes. What he couldn’t have anticipated is how resistant our fat-ass nation would become to even moderate exercise. Putting one hundred folks from all, ahem, walks of life together in a reasonably paced foot race to the death – totally plausible. Imagining it would last days, as opposed to just an hour or two? That’s where contemporary truth takes a flying leap over fiction.
3. Pod Racing.
Very fast, very dangerous and you need Jedi-like reflexes to do it. But never mind that last part; pay competitors enough money, and they’ll be glad to strap themselves to jet engines. The only thing easier will be to find hillbilly Tusken Raiders to volunteer for the duty of taking rifle pot-shots at the drivers.
Plus the involvement of Sebulba proves that any and all cheating is justified. Not enough real sports are no-holds-barred, especially those which involve rocket jets. And if it makes you feel better, in real life Jake Lloyd would not win.
You might think I’m crazy to suggest that a game played on magical flying broomsticks is something that could ever reasonably replace football. Why, there’s no way something like that which relies on sorcery and a semi-sentient flying object of gold could ever be replicated in real life.
You’d be reckoning without some pretty resourceful Harry Potter fans. It seems some people still think it’s a fun thing to play even without levitation, just like some people think football games are fun to watch on days when there aren’t brand-new commercials involved.
There’s no accounting for taste.
No, not the horseback stuff you see at Medieval Times. That’s too easy. I demand that scientists quit working on nanoprobes or whatever, and get to the all-important task of training ostriches to fly and allowing armored knights to ride on their backs. Because dammit, that’s the future I was promised.
Besides, since everything you see in video games is true, think of the world famine that would be relived every time the flying ostriches lay an egg upon being struck in the front. “Omelet” you imagine such a planet without hunger, bitchez…(and I mean that in a non-gender-specific-yet-still-insulting way)
Seriously, though – “Go team!” Because I’m backing the same team as you this Sunday. You have my word as a gentleman.
Luke Y. Thompson has been writing professionally about movies and pop-culture since 1999, and has also been an actor in some extremely cheap culty and horror movies you will probably never hear much about (he is nonetheless mostly proud of them, as he met his wife on one). As editor of The Robot's Voice since 2012, he can take the blame for the majority of the site's content, all of which he creates because he loves you very, very much. (Although he loves nachos more. Sorry.)
Prior to TRV, Luke wrote for publications that include the New Times LA, Los Angeles CityBeat, E! Online, OC Weekly, Geekweek, GeekChicDaily, The L.A. Times, The Village Voice, LA Weekly, and Nerdist