In many ways, professional sports is a collosal waste of brain power. Not only do us fans sit on our couches for hours at a time draining melted Velveeta directly into our esophagus, but the worlds of science and business miss out on the acumen of those who choose to play pro sports for a living.
Consider the genius of Ken Harvey, former linebacker for the San Francsico 49ers.
Not content to laze around in retirement, Harvey has come up with an idea positively brimming with potential — why not put athletes in outer space and invent a ridiculous game for them to compete in?
The game would be called Float Ball. It would combine elements of basketball, football and the Lionel Richie video for “Dancing on the Ceiling” into a sort of free-for-all, compelling weightless players to bounce off walls, obstacles and one another while herding weightless balls of various colors to either end of the playing space, which would be placed inside the cabin of a zero-gravity plane or, possibly, on the moon. Eventually, one day, if all went well, some sort of custom arena would be constructed. On Mars.
Personally, I would go with the video for “Hello,” but that’s just a personal preference.
Anyway, back to the article. I have a few questions. First of all, what? And also — huh?
In the end, Harvey’s inner Star Trek fan guided him away from the steakhouses and car dealerships of traditional N.F.L. retirement. Taking Herbert as a business partner, he set to work developing a futuristic movie, promoting envisioned athletic offshoots of extraterrestrial tourism and designing Float Ball. He has been invited to address the Global Space Technology Forum in Abu Dhabi next month.
WOW! Did you see Captain Trog of the Io77 team slam home that spacedunk???!!! He was like three grimlachs high before his crystallizer pack ran out! I’m not sure if Zardor the Neptunian will ever recover from being holographed like that!!
The best part is that NASA — which I’m told is positively LOADED with sports buffs — has come down from its ivory space tower to give Harvey’s ideas the chance they deserve:
His audience, about 40 NASA specialists, fell silent. Harvey ran through a series of slides covering the troubled economy, the promise of space tourism, citations of sports in the work of science fiction novelists and precedent-setting events like Alan Shepard’s lunar golf shot. He cracked jokes, digressed liberally and quickly won over the group.
Advanced concepts like the Float Ball league, he argued, would develop in time from astronaut fitness programs, virtual reality games, zero-gravity flights and educational efforts designed to instill post-space age children with new interstellar dreams.
“Sometimes,” he said, “it doesn’t happen in your generation, but you plan to see it in the next generation.”
Float Ball: The only advanced concept I came up with in my backyard in 1985.
For Ex-N.F.L. Star, a Dream of Sports in Space [NYT]