Sports fiction

Origin: Futurama television series

The world of Futurama has a fair number of bizarre spectacles, but perhaps none more confounding than the sport of blernsball. In the 31st century, baseball was finally deemed too boring by sports fans and so it was reformed into the sexy, exciting blernsball. The game operates under the same basic rules as baseball, only the ball is at all times attached to an elastic tether centered on the pitcher’s mound. Typically this means each hit (also called a blern) causes a frenzy of action in which the ball whips and jerks in every direction pulled by the tether, often hitting and possibly injuring several players on the field. If the ball ever breaks from the tether and passes through a billboard outside the field of play it can trigger a “grand slam blern,” also referred to as an automatic win.

Even more spectacular than a grand slam blern, however, is a multiball spree in which additional blern balls are shot into the field at high speeds by hidden pitching machines. During a multiball spree the offensive team’s batter will mount a hover-style motorcycle and round the bases, causing them to beep twice and explode in the process. Even off the field, blernsball players take many cues from the fundamentals of 21st century baseball as steroid injections are not only recommended, they’re mandatory. Professional blernsball teams include: the Boston Poindexters, the Swedish Meatballs and the New New York Mets.

Origin: Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J.K. Rowling

The number one most popular sport among the wizards and witches of J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series, quidditch is played over an oval shaped pitch slightly larger than a football field. At opposite ends stand three-hooped goal posts all at differing heights that act as the primary means of scoring. Apart from the athletes, the game is played with four basic objects: the broomsticks, the quaffles, the bludgers and the golden snitch. Bear with me.
Each quidditch team is made up of seven players: three chasers, two beaters, one keeper and one seeker. Every player rides a flying broomstick above the field in what basically boils down to a game of basketball in the air with six different hoops. If I understand the wizard sporting world correctly, the quaffle is the ball players use to score points, the bludgers are autonomous flying spheres meant to follow and hit players at random and the golden snitch, well, the golden snitch is pretty close to another automatic win. Never mind what any of the other players do, it will only confuse you. The most important player to any quidditch team is the seeker, who is at all times trying to find and catch the elusive golden snitch. The snitch looks like a firefly, is extra speedy, and if caught counts as 150 points for the capturing team. A game of quidditch cannot end until the golden snitch is caught, a fact that makes all other players outside of the seeker seem somewhat less important. Professional quidditch teams include: the Holyhead Harpies, the Falmouth Falcons and the Moose Jaw Meteorites.

The Running Man
Origin: The Running Man by Stephen King

The year is 2025 and the world’s economy has reached an all-time low. Desperate for work and with nowhere else to turn, many Americans enlist their services to the Games Federation, a government-owned television station famous for staging a series of ultra-violent game shows. Most popular among this series of shows is a sporting program called The Running Man, an endurance race that pits contestants against a series of “hunters” all trying to eliminate their target. Athletes on The Running Man win money both for the length of time they stay alive and for every hunter they successfully kill. In the book version, runners can take the chase anywhere in the world, whereas the movie version starring Arnold Schwarzenegger limits the setting to a series of stages no larger than a few city blocks.

What the movie version has over the book, however, is that all the hunters each have their own themes and are all dressed in a way that would make even professional wrestlers roll their eyes. Highlights from the film include hunters Sub-Zero and Dynamo, the former of which dresses like a hockey player and fights using exploding pucks, while the latter sings opera tunes when stalking a runner. The monetary value of survival for runners amounts to $100 for every hour alive with a bonus of $1 million if the runner survives and outlasts hunters for a period of 30 days. Professional running man hunters include: Buzzsaw, Fireball and Captain Freedom.

Fake sport honourable mentions: Rollerball, Pyramid, Robot Jox, Baseketball, the Transcontinental Road Race, anything from the movie Tron.