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Six Sweaty Moments of Geeky Triumph

Illustration for article titled Six Sweaty Moments of Geeky Triumph

If you watch enough high school movies, you'll begin to think that jocks and geeks are always at war. Not so, however: Science fiction is full of triumphant sports moments, and not just the ones that end in death. From Battlestar Galactica's pyramid ball to Futurama's Blernsball to Arthur C. Clarke's outer space sailing, this genre has a lot to offer your gym-minded friends. Whether the stakes are high or low, these six displays of futuristic athleticism are the most energetic bits of nerdery since Alan Shepard hit a golf ball on the moon.1. Mystery Ball - Firefly:

It gets boring in the dead of space, and if you had a giant cargo bay, you'd probably be playing some weird version of basketball in it too. 2. Boxing - Battlestar Galactica:

Okay, so by the end of the clip, it's unclear whether this is more about boxing or sex, but I'm happy either way. 3. Salute of the Jugger - The Blood of Heroes:

I would probably have been a much scarier field hockey opponent if my coach was Rutger Hauer. 4. Good old-fashioned dueling - Star Trek: The Original Series:

Yes, T'Pring was clearly not eager to marry either of these men, but can you blame her when Spock is so quick to slash open his captain's shirt to reveal the rippling flesh underneath? 5. Kung fu - The Matrix:

Even a computer nerd like Neo would download kung fu knowledge before, say, quantum mechanics or gas turbine propulsion. I guess that's fair. 6. Swimming - Gattaca:

We may have advanced far enough in society to genetically engineer people for specific tasks, but there's no point in moving beyond the vindictive deliciousness of sibling rivalry. In literary sf, there's always the heart-pounding wargame of Ender's Game — Orson Scott Card gleefully turned sedentary videogame tropes into a festival of zero-g adrenaline. Larry Niven's The Hunting Park, part of his Man-Kzin Wars collection, explores the nature of human hunting. And editors Jack Dann and Gardner Dozios have made it easy for sci-fi sports fans with their anthology Future Sports, which features a sailing story from Arthur C. Clarke and a look at no-contact sumo wrestling by Howard Waldrop. What's next for sci-fi sports? Well, I'm hoping for cheerleading to make an appearance; maybe we could see what Bring It On is like when you adapt it for an alien planet. And you should find a sport to play — in case, for example, we ever have to battle aliens for world domination with baseball. Image from Wikipedia. Special thanks to tipsters Ellen, Idella, and Jana.


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In addition to Kirk dueling spock, there was also fencing:

I'd throw a link of Riker's anbo-jitsu fight with his father up, but I can't seem to find a video of it.