One of the complaints often voiced by Olympics haters is that the sports played are too obscure and seem made up. Sure, LeBron James gets to play basketball in China, but who cares about team handball, modern pentathlon, and the 400-meter individual medley? But for us, the fringy sports we see only once every four years are what make the Olympics great. We can watch baseball any old time, but how awesome is it to watch guys whose whole lives are devoted to the art of badminton?
With that in mind, we started thinking about some other sports we wish they played in the Olympics. Cricket, sure, and it's pretty crazy the Olympics don't include golf. But why limit our discussion to sports that actually exist? What about Quidditch? It's the wizarding world's favorite sport, appearing in some of the most popular books ever written. We'd watch world-class Quidditch players in action. Wouldn't you? With that in mind, here are ten fictional sports we wish we could see played in Beijing.
10. Quidditch (from J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter novels)
Sure, a lack of magic might make this game — played on broomsticks with flying balls — a tough one to reenact in Beijing's Olympic Stadium, but land-bound quidditch is already being played by twee New England college students, and imagine if world-class athletes got in the game? Quidditch could prove wildly popular among both fans of the Potter books and fans of watching dudes get hit in the face with Bludgers.
And the gold goes to: The United States, the only nation with jetpack technology.
9. German Batball (from The Sirens of Titan)
The rules of batball (the only sport played on Kurt Vonnegut's vision of a man-colonized Mars) are similar to those of baseball, except the ball is as big as a melon and the fielding team tries to hit runners with it as they round the bases. Also, weirdly, there's no bat; offensive players balance the ball on one fist and punch it with the other.
And the gold goes to: Germany, we guess.
8. Flonkerton (from The Office)
A race in which competitors run with full boxes of office paper attached to their feet.
And the gold goes to: India, home of America's outsourced office jobs.
7. Brockian Ultra-Cricket (from The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy)
As described by Douglas Adams, brockian ultra-cricket is a curious game in which players hit each other as hard as possible, run far away, and apologize. Apologies are scored by judges, and "should be concise, sincere and, for maximum clarity and points, delivered through a megaphone." In the Olympic setting, we can imagine fiercely battled matches of brockian ultra-cricket between national rivals, with the language barrier only serving to intensify the excitement.
And the gold goes to: Given that it took the U.S. almost 150 years to apologize for slavery, it seems unlikely that this is a sport at which we would excel. Polite Canadians, on the other hand, are destined for the gold.
6. Pyramid (from Battlestar Galactica)
The rules are slightly mysterious to this game, which can be played one-on-one or in teams, but it seems to combine basketball and rugby and takes place on a triangular court. Games are co-ed and frequently serve as foreplay.
And the gold goes to: Japan, a nation already living in the future.
5. Baseketball (from Baseketball)
A combination of H-O-R-S-E and baseball, this game counts a made free throw as a single, a shot from the top of the key as a double, and a three-pointer as a triple. Since there's no running, the obese are not necessarily at any disadvantage.
And the gold goes to: America!
4. Calvinball (from "Calvin and Hobbes")
The only static rule of Calvinball is that it can never be played the same way twice. Otherwise, competitors may declare new regulations (out loud or silently to themselves) at any time during a match. Singing and flag-capturing are typically important, though not always. There is no point-scoring system.
And the gold goes to: The Russians, masters of the equally nonsensical rhythmic gymnastics.
3. Rollerball (from Rollerball)
Two teams (on roller skates and motorcycles) compete to put a steel ball into goals located at opposite ends of an arena. Because the sport is most popular in overpopulated dystopias, the murdering of one's opponents is strongly encouraged.
And the gold goes to: Given that practically all countries are overpopulated dystopias these days, this one's pretty much anybody's game.
2. Skeet Surfing (from Top Secret!)
In the spirit of other Olympic sports-made-up-of-other-sports like biathlon (skiing plus shooting) and water polo (handball plus swimming), skeet surfing — first popularized by swivel-hipped singer Nick Rivers (Val Kilmer) in his No. 1 song of the same name — combines the obviously compatible sports of surfing and skeet-shooting. Contestants are scored on their accuracy, grace, and daring, and lose points for each spectator shot.
And the gold goes to: Australia, the perfect combination of wild frontier and tasty waves.
1. Croquet (from Alice's Adventures in Wonderland)
Like regular croquet, but using flamingos for mallets.
And the gold goes to: England.