Space. It’s just up there, cold and far away and — at least for the time being — comparatively bereft of good recreational opportunities. Yes, there’s ice cream (of sorts). Space-walking is popular. Repairing crumbling space infrastructure will at least keep you busy. But it took 11-year NFL vet Ken Harvey — whom I remember best as the guy in the Redskins uniform standing over a parade of the lousy pre-Fassel Giants quarterbacks he just sacked — to see the lucrative sports-related opportunities in space.
He calls it SpaceSportilization, which is kind of a bad idea on its face, but I’m not judging. If only because I don’t want to wind up like Danny Kannell. That is, prone. The New York Times‘ Michael Brick breaks down Harvey’s proposed “Float Ball” empire:
It would combine elements of basketball, football and the Lionel Richie video for œDancing 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.
œThere™s a bonus, said (Harvey) to an attentive audience of National Aeronautics and Space Administration engineers, technicians and scientists at the Goddard Space Flight Center recently, œwhere you have to pick up a person holding a certain ball and throw them through a hoop as a sort of extra point.
…Inside the campus, a collection of low-slung brick buildings dating to the 1950s, he was escorted on a tour of communications centers stranded in time, working rooms behind glass replete with mainframe computers, heavy phones and framed portraits of astronauts. The only thing missing seemed to be sweaty guys in thin neckties leaning over smoldering ashtrays. His guides spoke of long-ago flush times for space exploration in the cold war. œYou had somebody to compete against, Harvey said, œlike Redskins against Cowboys.
When the time came for his presentation, Harvey descended the steps of a flag-decked auditorium. Stocky and bald-shaven, dressed in a patterned tie, gray suit, brown loafers and interlocking silver bracelets, he stood before a projection screen that displayed grainy images of the SpaceLab scientists performing gymnastic routines.
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. œYou may say, what the heck is all this? Harvey told his audience. œYou™re talking about sports and entertainment complexes on the moon.
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.
This may be too inside-baseball, but I’m looking at the list of category tags here on the WordPress page, and there is nothing available for ‘Space Sports’ or ‘Throwing a Guy Through a Hoop as an Extra Point.’ So, of course, apologies for a poorly tagged post.