Beam me up, Scotty
Science fiction is not one of my favorites. But I have to admit, I'm a “Star Trek” fan.
James T. Kirk, Spock and the rest of the Enterprise crew stirred my imagination — I have the first three seasons. In no episode of “Star Trek” did they ever have an adventure dealing with sports in the future. Let Scotty beam you down to what might happen.
Professional football players will only be allowed to play for seven years. The NFL will put a mandatory cap on players careers. The rash of deaths caused by injury has forced the players union to stop at seven years and demand immediate pensions for the rest of their lives. The federal government ordered this action. Not a new idea: President Teddy Roosevelt almost banned football 150 years ago.
Baseball will have no umpires. Computers will call balls, strikes, outs on a screen. It's kind of like the strike zone pictures that they had on TV in 2012. There will be no disputes by the managers. For fan enjoyment, instead of a seventh-inning stretch, each team will pick a player to participate in the ancient art of cage fighting. This lets the fans get on their feet and move about.
Since baseball is still the national pastime, fans have had to adjust to all infielders wearing both helmets with cages at all times. No more line drives to the pitchers or bad bounces to the infielders to cause bodily harm. If the pitcher hits two batters intentionally, he will be put immediately into the fighting cage for seventh-inning stretch entertainment.
There will be high school sports in the future but only in certain sections of the country. The “have schools” will compete in all varsity sports, and complete scholarships will be given to any student who has passing grades. “Have schools” can go to any part of the country and recruit 33 percent of their players. This applies to girls and boys. Permission must be granted by their parents to move, live in high school dorms and participate on year-round sports teams.
Good news has come to the “have not” schools. Through much debate in Congress, “have not” schools can apply for a new federal grant. Each “have not” school may receive two rubber footballs and a set of flags. But — and a big but — they can only play interschool competition. Yes, under this grant “have not” schools can obtain three volleyballs, four basketballs, two softballs and a bat. The ancient game of “over-the-line” is being brought back. Over-the-line was a popular three-person game back in the West. No gloves, no field maintenance, no paid officials.
Basketball hasn't changed very much, except for the 12-foot basket. No worry, there is still dunk competition. The 7-foot point guards can barely slam it, but those 7-foot-11 forwards put on quite a show. Attendance is great, but you have to be part of a corporation to buy a ticket or a least know someone on the inside.
Sports isn't that different 50 years in the future. Fans will still watch all the games. The new screen device will be equipped with stadium-like atmosphere; you will swear you are sitting on the 50-yard line or at mid-court. I close by using the words of Spock: “Live long and prosper.”
John Blabe is the former football coach and athletic director at Antelope Union High School. He can be reached at email@example.com