What, No Deathball? – Sports

Let’s get one thing straight: I barely know a football from a hand-egg. The most extreme sport I’ve ever played involved shouting ‘mahjongg’ at the top of my lungs. So why am I doing a list of ten sports? Well, why not? Sure, I wouldn’t be able to play any of the new, surely enduring, pastimes that I’ve taken the time to invent. But you know, some of these sound like they might be fun to at least watch. If not watch, deride mercilessly as derivative and boring. Bring on the ‘sports’!

  1. Teams of 10 pass a ball around in a circle as fast as they can. Fastest team to pass the ball around the circle ten times wins! This is a really simple game. It’s equal parts pass-the-parcel and peasant railgun. I think the main appeal is the low entry requirement: Anyone with a pair of hands and a little bit of coordination can play! Unfortunately, the latter condition excludes me from my own invention.
  2. Teams of N travel the game field on large balls, try and knock the opposing team off their balls. It’s like dodgeball, except you’re riding the ball, the ball is huge, and you don’t throw things at people. I think only tumblers and circus clowns can play this, but I think that only adds to spectator enjoyment.
  3. Bola-based sport (?). I think I wanted some sort of.. Tangling game. For those not in the know, bolas are thrown snares, two balls connected by a piece of string that you swing about and chunk at people to tie ’em up. I think this game would be like dodgeball, but with.. tying people up, rather than giving them concussion. Combine it with the previous idea for some serious amazingness.
  4. Field-based sport with two teams, where each team has to re-unite two halves of their sphere.. Where one half is at the back of the opponent’s side of the field. This sounded great when I wrote it down, really. It’ll be like rugby, except rather than there being one ball, there’s two balls, each split in half. And rather than trying to get your half of the ball past the posts, you’re trying to get it to the other half of your ball. Either you have a guy holding your half on the opponent’s side of the field, or maybe one of the opposing team is carrying your other half.. I didn’t work out the kinks, but there’s potential for strategy here.
  5. Netball, but the ball gets hotter the longer you hold on to it. Because netball is too slow-paced, and this idea wouldn’t work for basketball at all. I’m probably going to catch some heat for calling netball slow-paced, and that’s because I have no idea about pacing in sports. I think chess is a fast sport.
  6. Car on a rail, brick wall at end of rail. Have to solve Rubik’s Cube while in car, cube can only be moved while the accelerator is floored. It’s a combination of the best elements of chicken and the best elements of.. Rubik’s Cubes. The idea was to make Rubik’s Cubes extreme somehow. And I think I might have just done that, at the expense of human lives.
  7. Another cube idea: Rubik’s Cube.. On Fire. Because why not? You’d need bright colours on the cube that show through the flames, and solving faster actually gives the flames more oxygen. You’d have to balance speed, accuracy and how well done you want your fingers to be. Okay, I have no idea how fire works, but you know.. Fire is cool.
  8. Two two-man teams trying to throw balls in to their basketball hoop. One man on each team throws larger balls, but only to knock the opponent team’s balls out of the way. It’s a mix of those basketball hoop games you see at arcades, and Quidditch. The difference between this game and the standard hoops game is that you get to play in a team and there’s two hoops! It’s fast-paced, and involves awesome mid-air collisions of balls which would make you feel like a king for actually managing to deflect an opponent’s ball. It’s simple, and could ruin friendships. That’s the sign of a good sport.
  9. Shout-offs. What else is there to say? Get a sound level meter, take a deep breath, and scream! Loudest person wins. I’d be good at this one.
  10. King of the Hill-style game where the Kings have to play a complete tune on a church bell. Opponents force hill vacation by causing N bum notes, somehow. So you start off with both teams outside the bell area. Once the game starts, the teams race to reach the bell. First team to reach the bell becomes the Kings of the Hill. They then have to play a tune on the church bell while the opponents attempt to ruin the tune somehow. It’s probably very, very clear at this point that I have no idea how church bells work, or indeed, how King of the Hill works. But you know, we’re not here to think up good ideas.

Let’s say you actually want to make one of these wonderfully bizarre sports a reality. How could you go about doing that? We won’t even entertain the Chicken-Rubik’s Cube hybrid. Warning: Don’t try that one guys okay?

First Steps

We’ll look at the first idea in a bit more depth (passing a ball around in a circle quickly). Why? Well, the rules are almost obvious immediately. In fact, the first step to creating any new game (after picking a name, like.. Pass Ball), whether it’s a sport or traditional game, is most likely to figure out some solid rules. That’s what we’ll do now!

  1. Team size: 10 people numbered from 1 to 10. One referee per group.
  2. Number of teams: N (it doesn’t matter, as long as you have enough referees)
  3. Set-up: The ten players of each team seat themselves in a chair circle of a certain radius, such that for each player numbered N the player numbered N+1 is sat on his left. For the player numbered 10, the player numbered 1 should be on his left.
  4. Gameplay: Give the first player of each team a regulation-sized Passing Ball ™. The team’s referee will count down from five. Once the referee’s count reaches zero, the referee starts his timer. The first player may now pass the ball to the player on his left. Players will then continue passing the ball to the player on their left. Once the ball is in the hands of the first player again, the ball is said to have completed one rotation. The first player then begins the next rotation by passing to the player on his left. Once ten rotations have been completed, the referee stops the timer. Once all teams have finished their rotations, the referees compare times. The team with the lowest time wins!

We choose to ignore all the finicky things like how to deal with cheating, or what happens if a player drops the ball. So you’ve done the rules, now what?  I won’t go into detail, but I imagine the next few steps go like this:

The basic rules are in place, so the next step is play-testing. Get some friends together (maybe reduce the number of players required if necessary), give the game a go. Your friends are likely to find loopholes in the rules that they’ll abuse, and you’ll be able to close them before they reach the public at large. For instance, there’s no rule saying that the players can’t move around. Under the above rules, player 1 could pass to player 2, then swap seats with player 3.. The ball would be passed to player 1 from player 2, and the rules say that counts as a rotation. Whoops! Better make that clear in the rules.

After a few iterations of play-testing and rules re-writing, you’ll have figured out whether or not the game is actually fun. That’s the important part! And even if it’s fun to play, is it fun to watch? Again, there’s only one way to find out. Get even more friends together to both watch and play your new game. Post videos of the play-testing on YouTube, make a homepage for the new sport, encourage other people to try it out. You’ll know you’re on to a winner when everyone’s having fun and spreading the word themselves. Congratulations, you’ve created a new sport! Just please don’t create the Rubik’s Cube ones. Okay? Remember me when you’re the Commissioner of Pass Ball raking in the big advertising bucks.