Google “worst idea since” and some pretty funny clauses pop up:
• Worst idea since Greedo shooting first
• Worst idea since black highlighters
• Worst idea since the plug-in flashlight
One summer when I was 12 or 13, I approached a summer camp counselor about a bunch of us getting up at midnight to play Ultimate Frisbee on a nearby field. He asked his unit head, who said it was “the worst idea since invading ‘Nam.”
These were all terrible ideas worthy of being compared to other potentially terrible ideas. But I’ve just stumbled onto a true work of abject stupidity: Ultimate Tazer Ball.
The premise… is exactly what it sounds like. You run around with a giant ball, scoring by throwing it into a net (a la team handball) or running it in (a la rugby). But players defend by zapping you with freaking stun guns! Which aren’t actual Tasers, by the way: Tasers shoot from a distance.
This is a reason why all those anonymously evil foreign powers hate America.
The league already has four “professional” teams, ready for their world premiere in Bangkok next month. UTB’s founders have already produced two promo videos for the event:
My favorite part of all this: one team, the Toronto Terror, can’t actually play in Toronto, because Tazers are illegal in Canada.
I can’t understand how anyone could subject themselves to this. I get that pain is part of sport, but I take comfort knowing that many kinds of pain ultimately make you a better athlete. How does getting shocked repeatedly by stun guns accomplish this?
Despite that scene from The Matrix (watch the final minute), no real research has ever concluded electricity builds muscle mass. If anything, an electric shock causes a rapid lactic acid buildup, which makes building muscle harder.
The idiots who play this sport get none of the benefits athletic pain leads to. Not only are they not getting stronger, but they’re also not getting richer or more famous. No matter how good of UTB players they are, people will never recognize them on the street.
These guys will never get on a Wheaties box, nor will they get a shoe named after them. Whatever these moronic yeah-dudes have for day-jobs, chances are they’ll have to do them forever.
Action sports result in injuries, some of which are truly horrific. But at least there’s glory in those injuries, respect from the 2.7 million X Games fans out there (at least on Facebook). UTB (2,000 Facebook fans) has exactly as much glory as a drunk guy getting uppity with a cop.
Perhaps most troubling is UTB’s slogan: “The Future of Sport.” I’ve written before how our need to prove ourselves is pushing us to take increasingly unnecessary physical risks. This trend could ultimately lead to full dehumanization of athletes and sports where death becomes the norm, not the outlier.
At the time, the worst I’d seen were extreme obstacle courses like the Warrior Dash and longer Spartan Race. But Ultimate Tazer Ball represents another step down a path that ends with “The Running Man.”
I can’t believe I actually need to say this, but I guess I do: getting shocked repeatedly isn’t macho. It doesn’t make you an athlete – it makes you an idiot.
If Ultimate Tazer Ball is “the future of sport,” I’m scared for that future, both for its danger and its stupidity. Will people play basketball with cans of Mace? How about baseball fields covered in mustard gas? Why not hockey games with skates that double-function as swords?
I know I’ve given UTB free press by writing this column, but that’s a sacrifice I’m willing to make for the greater good. I’m begging you all: help me destroy this league. If you watch the videos, leave disparaging comments. If you go to their Facebook page, call them idiots. If you overhear people mentioning UTB, tell them how dumb you find it, how little you think of those who play it.
And anytime someone mentions another bad idea, say it’s the worst idea since Ultimate Tazer Ball.