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Sports That Never Took Off, For Obvious Reasons

Popular Science recently dug into its archives and posted a few pages from old issues that covered emerging fad sports. Sports they thought might actually become part of the mainstream. It doesn’t take a popular scientist, or even a person with six community college credits to see why these games fell by the wayside.



What? You mean to tell me nobody that wanted to participate in a “sport” that was essentially the equivalent of being a human hamster? That thing looks incredibly heavy, and incredibly difficult to control.

“Come one, come all, witness this show of brute strength and superhuman endurance in a slow-paced race against boredom!”

Pedal-Horse Polo!

Aqua Horse Polo

“The liveliness of the horse depends upon the strength of the rider’s nether limbs.” I did not write that. That’s the actual caption, on the actual image from the magazine. Here’s a good rule of thumb: If it looks like a stationary bike, it can’t used in a sport. This looks incredibly tiring, and ridiculous. It’s a fake horse. A carousel horse, and it’s probably made of iron. You’d require gorilla strength nether limbs to last more than half a game.

Hey ladies, want to watch your asshole boyfriend pedal around a pond on a floating merry-go-round while he tries to hit a volleyball for two hours? Didn’t think so.

Bubble Chasing! In An Airplane!

Chase bubbles with a plane?

“Let’s throw caution (and logic) to the wind! Let’s take to the skies in airplanes and try to burst balloons with them. Oh, sure, airplanes take a shit load of gasoline, but we’ve got an endless supply of it!”

Oh how innocent and naive we all once were. 1924. What a wonderful time to be alive. Air travel was in it’s infancy, there were no televisions, prohibition was in effect and we finally decided that American Indians deserved legal citizenship.

More Fake Horse Water Polo!

Yeah, we used to use pedals, but it’s 1939 now. We use motors! Again, completely safe, eco-friendly and not ridiculous-looking at all.

Jumping Baloons!

“You need not be an expert!” according to the article. You just can’t be a poor immigrant. Because it’s 1923. I hope many a well-dressed dandy met their demise on one of these. But that’s not likely, because the sport didn’t really take off. However, I wouldn’t be surprised if hipsters brought this one back to life. You could look awesomely apathetic sitting in that harness while you fly above, physically, all the people you think you’re above socially.

Land Skiff Racing!

Cheers, mate! Let’s race our beastly machines through the park! We shall exert ourselves so! Fun? The fun is the competition, dear boy! Now fetch me a plate of bangers and mash. My body will need an unreal amount of nourishment to fuel this pointless endeavor!

Parachute Sledding!

This makes no sense to me, from a physics stand point. I can’t even comprehend what’s happening, or how this vehicle functions. Wouldn’t the parachute have to be in front of and above you, to catch the wind and propel you forward? Bored rich people must’ve come up with this one. And who/what are you competing against? Another goggle-eyed daredevil? The clock? An avalanche? I quit.

Sword Fish Archery!

Now you’ve got my attention! It’s like harpooning an innocent sea creature, but with a bow and arrow. Which would probably make a cooler sound and kill it faster! I can see why this sport came about, because sometimes us humans get so bored ruling the food chain with our assortment of weapons, we have to start finding new ways to use those weapons! Guns would just be cheating, but a bow and arrow makes perfect sense.

Please check out the real explanations behind these games over at Popular Science.

One Response to "Sports That Never Took Off, For Obvious Reasons"

  1. DonkeyXote says:

    Evidently Newton’s laws of motion did not apply in 1872.