The Olympics only comes round once every four years for a two-week period and, every time, you hear people complaining of how it disrupts the television schedules and generally impacts on their regular calendar. Well, it’s understandable that not everyone enjoys games but perhaps if those activities were more wide-ranging then there would be more acceptance and – dare we say it – fun? The following sports and games are from popular television series, movies and literature. Books, of course, have the hardest time of describing new sports but, in my view they are some of the most ingenious and downright exciting.
20. Mornington Crescent
This first entry, strictly speaking, was first featured on Radio’s I’m Sorry, I Haven’t a Clue‘ but has gained popularity among a varied demographic due to its whimsy and baffling rules (none, really – it’s all improvised).
Who can forget the scene in ‘Star Wars’ when, R2-D2 and Chewbacca are pitting their wits in a game of chess where monsters wrestle opposing pieces to the ground. The rules may be obscure but take C-3P0’s advice and ‘let the Wookie win’ and you’ll be fine.
18. Tri-dimensional Chess
After it first made its appearance in the classic 1960s ‘Star Trek’ series this version of chess was released on to the market for everyone to enjoy. It’s the second iteration of this logic and precision game to appear in the Top 20 and that’s intentional – more mentally challenging games would serve to broaden the appeal of the Olympics and open it up to those of us who aren’t blessed with sporting physiques.
17. Three-way Chess
Developed by Sheldon Cooper in ‘The Big Bang Theory’, this is his game for three players. Amazing moves with new pieces and a tessellated triangular mid-board include Gorilla to Queen’s Bishop five-and-a-third.
Raising the stakes and getting the blood pumping is the handball game played by the colonists of ‘Battlestar Galactica’ on a triangular court
Continuing the sci-fi themed sports is ‘Star Trek – The Next Generation’s’ take on stick fighting. What makes it harder is that both competitors play with vision obscured helmets.
14. Parrises Squares
Another entry from ‘Star Trek – The Next Generation’ and this is a sport that is as enigmatic as it is dangerous. We’ve seen the warnings not to participate and the injuries following Parrises Squares but we’ve never witnessed the sport itself. If only to satisfy curiosity, should this dangerous sport make its debut at the next Olympics?
13. Trans Continental Road (Death)Race
Well, it would never get acceptance without a few tweaks such as amending the point scoring to not reward maiming and killing fellow humans. But, aside from this minor change, surely it’s time to have motor-racing in the Olympics?
12. Pod Racing
From ‘Star Wars – The Phantom Menace’, an even better reason to get motor racing into the Olympics; what could be more exciting than the fast moving and perilous thrills and spills of the Pod race?
11. Light Cycle racing
Motor racing for the virtual-bodied and inertia-proof: the amazingly cool ‘Tron’ light cycles would be a winner especially considering our cyclists’ achievements so far. Bradley Wiggins, Sir Chris Hoy, Philip Hindes and Jason Kenny zooming along in a blur of fluorescent blue would be a sight to see.
10. Escalator Squash
From the technically tricky and vastly expensive pod racers to a more feasible sci-fi sport: escalator squash is from Aldous Huxley’s ‘Brave New World’. The game differs by having escalators on court that the players must ride up and down instead of just being on the flat.
The Olympic sports are for adults only but to get our nations’ children more involved we could introduce activities for youngsters. And what better way for the very young than to include Poohsticks? The World Poohsticks Championships already exists with its very own ‘Poohsticks Bridge’ so why not include it on a more famous stage?
8. Space Sailing
Invented by the Eternals in ‘Doctor Who’ as a means of passing eternity, sailing vessels modified for space travel race around the solar system; the race would bound to be of interest to our very own Olympic medal winning sailors. Ben Ainslie would surely love sailing with the solar winds.
7. Robot Boxing
Boxing – too violent? Too dangerous? Common criticisms but, thanks to the film, ‘Real Steel’ we may yet see a safer (for humans at least) metal on metal fighting in our stead.
6. Flamingo Croquet
In the otherworld of Lewis Carroll’s imagining of ‘Alice in Wonderland’ our young heroine plays an unusual version of croquet with rigid flamingos. Odd and probably unlikely to get past the RSPCA.
5. Brockian Ultra Cricket
As documented in ‘The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’, this game is fierce and the way to win is by winning. It could only be Douglas Adams. To please the crowd you need to grow extra legs and throw miscellaneous sporting equipment to your team.
4. The Hunger Games
In a fight for survival, children are given food and weapons and forced to fight each other in a special artificial environment until just one survives. Perhaps a few adjustments would be necessary to make it acceptable to modern audiences…
3. Sky Surfing
Featured in the British comic book, Judge Dredd, this outlawed sport could feasibly become an Olympic sport. After all, with skydiving technology ever improving and extreme sports gaining popularity it must only be a matter of time.
2. Goblin Football
Goblin Football is the creation of ‘Monty Python’ star Terry Jones for the film ‘Labyrinth’ and realised by artist Brian Proud. The objective of the sport is to eat the ball; a tricky proposition seeing as it is made of teak and is several metres in diameter.
Finally and not surprisingly is the broom-bound sport of Quidditch. Featuring in the ‘Harry Potter’ series of books and films – it catches the imagination of young and old alike. Now we just have to wait for antigravity devices to be invented…
There are so many fantastic fictional sports and games in the pages of books old and new. If you would like to give your child the chance to read these or many others you may like to enter the Kumon UK competition to win a book a week for a year. (Closing date: end of August 2012.) Just visit https://www.facebook.com/Kumon.UK?sk=app_242613072520025 for details and entry.