I Hereby Propose A New National Pastime
Ladies and gentlemen, watching the results of the Republican Presidential primary contest the past few weeks has led me to conclude that our national sporting events are sadly outdated. In particular, our National Pastime needs to be radically redefined.
We need to replace baseball with my new hybrid sport:
“Full-Contact Poker Foot Chess”
This will be a hybrid sport that synthesizes the best of full-contact Judo, the intrigue, bluffing and luck associated with a good game of Poker (large bets allowed), the careful strategy and intense action of an NFL game – with the cerebral analytics of Speed Chess.
To all you baseball fans, I’m sorry for not including you here but you will be allowed to wear your favorite team’s cap during certain phases of the game, either to psych out your adversaries or just to cover your bald spots. And at the end, the losing team (if certain conditions are met) gets 1 chance to score an extra “significant quantum” of points by successfully shooting (only X ring hits count) a high-powered target rifle at a target more than 500 yards away, just to make it interesting. This “special teams” effort will only be permitted if a successful attempt would send the game into overtime, and can only be used once per regular-season game, twice per game during the playoffs if double overtime is possible.
I’m going to need some help fleshing this out in terms of how we award points, and the long and complicated way that games will be conducted and referreed, but I think this new sport really gets to the heart of what America’s election season is really all about.
My thinking is, this new sport has something for everyone: it’s got the deep analytics of turn-based games like chess combined with the controlled violence necessary to keep people interested, and a lot of opportunity to structure the stages of the game and propose rule changes to really have some substantive debates and keep the rules “process people” happy. We’d have to pick a team size based on the number of players in an NFL game, roughly, but in addition to their usual positions each player will have specialties that can be used during (and after) each down. In a nod to motorsports, teams can choose players on their starting lineups each week through a 5-lap SCCA race, but that has to be done well before the game begins, in the parking lot of the stadium. Players will, however, be allowed to wear sponsorship jerseys that reflect their favorite NASCAR teams.
I deliberately excluded motorsports from the “core” of the new sport because it lowers the barrier to entry, and it’s an optional feature. I want to make sure almost every team can play this game all across the country. You’ll need a few chess sets, a couple of decks of cards, some old football gear, some inexpensive Judo mats, some basic timers, in other words, things people should be able to come up with all across the country without any large up-front cost. Surplus equipment, really. The high-powered rifle can be borrowed on an as-needed basis, you just need one, and almost every town in America has someone who has one.
What do you think? Please submit your own ideas for America’s new national pastime, right here in this thread.
And take it seriously, but don’t take it all too seriously, if you know what I mean.
Because what we’ve got right now, folks, on the political side, is a truly unprecedented contest. It’s unlike anything most of us recognize. We’re in uncharted territory, and so let’s think Big.