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5/09/2007 12:58:00 PM
Five Hybrid Sports I'd Like To See
With any luck, Extreme Poker will soon be available on your local cable.
By John Rolfe, SI.com
All hail the human mind in its unceasing search for flavorful new combinations. Sports fans have long had biathlon, triathlon, pentathlon, and heptathlon -- events that serve up a grueling stew of cross-country skiing and shooting, or running, cycling and swimming, or shooting, fencing, swimming, horseback riding and cross-country running. In recent years, mixed martial arts have brought together assorted methods of beating an opponent's gray matter out in one wild, bloody and extremely popular spectacle. Perhaps the most mind-boggling hybrid sport of all is chess boxing.
The creation of Dutch performance artist Iepe Rubingh, chess boxing melds the cerebral acumen of chess with the visceral fury of the sweet science, alternating rounds in each discipline and allowing us to witness the compelling vision of punch-drunk pugs trying to make like Bobby Fischer. Matches can be won by knockout, decision, checkmate, or remaining lost in a fog of chirping birdies until your 12-minute limit on the chess game expires.
This got me to thinking that, hey, I can cook up a hot hybrid, too. Some sports just go together like salami and provolone, chocolate ice cream and garlic pickles, or Crosby, Stills, Nash & Pavarotti. Here are five I've cooked up off the top of my pointed head. I fully expect residuals once they take off.
1. Extreme Poker ... Artfully combining the two hottest sports of recent years, contestants square off in bare-knuckle, extreme bouts after each hand. What I like best about it is that it vents and stokes the animosity that builds during the customary steely eyed staredowns and come-on-chicky trash talk after the cards are dealt. Bouts are seeded accorded to the value of each contestant's preceding hand and will determine the seating for the next hand.
2. Footballroom Dancing ... The Chad Johnsons of the world will finally get an officially sanctioned stage for their end-zone celebrations, but in a dignified manner that soothes the sensibilities and concerns of the staid ol' NFL. Coaches will surely embrace, so to speak, the chance to score extra extra-points that are awarded by the on-field officials using the Olympic scoring system. I can just see NFL teams feverishly bidding for the services of those old hoofers Emmitt Smith and Jerry Rice.
3. Grolf ... This scintillating sport combines the finesse and exquisite timing of golf with the brute strength of Greco-Roman wrestling, compelling each foursome to pair off and engage in a five-minute bout (without rest) on each tee to determine how many strokes will be shaved off each player's score on the ensuing hole: 1 stroke for a takedown, escape or reversal; three for putting an opponent on his back, etc. Wouldn't you just love to see how Tiger's putting holds up after he goes to the mat with John Daly? Of course you would.
4. Badhockey ... No, it's not what we witnessed during the days of the trap-drenched NHL. This employs a family-friendly new way to settle tie games without a shootout (too easy for pro hockey players) or endless postseason overtimes (too tough on fans who have to get up for work in the morning). Teams merely square off in a badminton game on skates. Sticks will be used in lieu of rackets. Checking is allowed only when a player strays into the other team's end of the court.
5. Bobsledarts ... A masterful blend of speed, reflexes and pub smarts. With an ostensibly sober designated driver at the wheel, the rest of the four-man crew is given pints of beer and a handful of darts to throw at round corkboard targets along the course in order to shave seconds off their final time. Seconds will be added according to the amount of suds spilled during the run. In the event of ties, a playoff run will be conducted in which crews must also pick up women who are stationed along the course -- without stopping.
OK, time for you to put on your chef's hat. What hybrids can you come up with? Let's hear 'em.
Tiger would kick John Daly's ass, and have fun doing it. Have you seen Tiger's forearms? Those 12 ounce curls Daly does would not help. A better match would be Daly vs. Colin Montgomery. They could grab each others man boobs.
Ice-ket-ball: Mix the worlds of Hockey and Basketball. Put them on ice with hoops and a ball. Allow checking, have the penalty box, and let them hoop it up baby.
Extreme Holligan Soccer: Each team gets a timer. If they have possesion of the ball for more than 3 minutes without a hot on goal, teh other team's hooligans get to run off the sideline and beat the tar out of them. It would make the games go by much better by actaully having more than 4 shots on goal, and it would allow soccer fans an interactive way of enjoying the game and legally getting into fights.
Heckler golf: Fans (and competitors) can trash talk, Boo!, and use noise makers throughout the round of golf. Players must "Man up", unless it's an LPGA event, and withstand the same cruel punishment weekend hackers endure. Flag dropping during a crucial putt will become commonplace. Incoming cell phone calls (i.e. Barkley calling D. Wade) can turn the tide in a close match. The line will be drawn, however, just short of allowing beer cans to be thrown from the gallery.
Combine the school yard snowball fight with figure skating.
As each Skater performs their routine the other competitors get to chuck snowballs at them. This could make figure skating watch-able by heterosexual males and revive Tonya Harding’s career (if she can get back on her meds that is).
Just imagine a nice “head-shot” on a skater in the middle of a triple-whatever. The kiss and cry room would be juicier as well.
Same events as a regular track meet only the track is surrounded by tennis ball cannons (American Gladiator style). Score the meet as usual, but add shots on target to a team's overall score. Two for hitting legs or arms, three points for the body, and five points for the head. Extra point for knocking them out of their lane. Should be fun to see how far someone can long jump in a helmet and chest protector.
Lacrosse on roller blades. Have actually played this and it is beeter than real lacrosse. Players must wear full hockey pads to avoid injury due to extreme checking speeds. This could easliy be played in arenas around the country and is extremly entertaining to watch.
John Rolfe you are a joke. What a "meaningful" topic!!! They actually pay you for to work at SI?!?!?!
John Rolfe in "action"... Hmmm how can I get people to read my column? I have no originality and no talent. Well, I guess I can go after the Yankees becaue people either love them or hate them!!!! That's the ticket!!!! Tons of people will post!!!!! YES!!! My job is safe.
Try coming up with some meaningful questions or ideas to ponder.
baskebrawl: it's like a normal basketball game except after each quarter a player from each team is picked to fight. Whoever wins theround gets an additional 10 points for thier team while the fans get to witness four fights a game. Just think of a close game being decided by a fight. Ben Wallace and Shaq will finally be useful in those close games
Australian Rules Basketball- Only shots off the feet would count. Oh yeah, and make it full contact to boot! This would finally give some credence to my motto of "No blood, no foul." Also, this would probably make basketball even more of an international sport that it already is.
This isn't my idea, originally, but it's still funniest one I've ever heard of: the Little League World Series of Poker. Combine the drama and cult following of the National Spelling Bee and the parental exploitation of the Little League World Series. Imagine how upset the sports parents will be when junior folds before the flop and winds up sitting with a straight-flush. Or the little kids wearing oversized sunglasses and compulsively shuffling their chips while debating to call the raise.
Canoefencing-This would combine two of the world's most obscure sports in an manner that might actually be entertaining to more than 3 people. There would be two competitors, each standing atop of the rails of a canoe and fencing against each other. Extra points deducted for tipping over your canoe or falling into the water, etc.
Soccer-basketball: Played with a regulation volleyball, on a basketball court surrounded by 15 foot walls. Two teams of 15 people, 5 from each team are on the floor at all times, the other 10 are goalies. Players rotate every 3 minutes, all 5 on the floor come off to be goalies and 5 goalies go out to play the floor. Games are two halves of 30 minutes, clock only stops during play for injuries.
When the ball is in hand, play resembles ulimate frisbee, the player with the ball may only take two steps before passing to another player, or bouncing the ball off a side wall to him/herself. When the ball touches the ground, only feet may used to advance the ball. Player A may kick the ball to Player B and, providing it does not hit the ground after leaving A's foot, B may catch the ball with their hands.
1 point for goals kicked, hitting below 5 feet, against the end walls where goalies defend. Goalies must keep 1 foot on the back line of the basketball court. 2 points for baskets made, but shots cannot be taken within the paint, nor can any part of the shooter's body be in the paint before, during or after the shot is taken.
When a goalie makes a save they can pick the ball up with their hands regardless, and put it back in play.
Thanks to Coach Finesilver, GWHS Denver, CO, for coming up with this game.
What kind of physical effort does it take to play poker? What kind of injuries are there? Hemmheroids? "Ooh, I've been sitting for hours. I don't know if I can even walk to my regular job -- oh wait, I don't have one."
The best hybrid sport in real life: Slamball. Poorly managed from the beginning, especially after each year. But still, awesome stuff.