(Next) (Back to Contents) (Stories) (Home)
The Instinct has had a tremendous effect on Kassidorian sports. If any part of your body that uses force on another is going to be paralyzed, boxing, football and many other sports are seriously affected. The lack of competition to be the alpha male and lack of admiration for the alpha male has also effected the place of sports in Kassidorian society. With that said, people do compete, enjoy exercise and play, and enjoy belonging to a team.
All the familiar track and field events exist on Kassidor and have existed since long before they were known on Earth. There are professional foot racers of various flavors in all major cities. In many basins their meets are handled like boxing matches are on Earth. The money is mainly wagers.
There is no world-wide Olympics in these or any other sports. Only in the Highlands is it now even possible to have inter-city competition. Without the tubes, distant cities in the Highlands are two years away on commercial transportation. There is inter-city competition within the Yakhan's megalopolitan area. There has been tube service in the Yakhan since before there were motorized vehicles in Kex, but until the stargate was opened, that was as far as the tubes went.
Wrestling is an example of as close to the Instinct as one can go. The Instinct does not prevent arm wrestling. It operates in the highest centers of the brain, it is the desire to dominate another by force or pain that triggers it. As long as your mind understands it as friendly competition, the Instinct will not be triggered. Full body wrestling is thus possible, as long as the people are friends. As soon as one starts to think otherwise, he/she is paralyzed and allows the other to score points. Thus the mental attitude required is very important in the sport. Most amateur leagues expel or at least disqualify anyone who gets the Instinct during play. At the professional level where betting is high, a wrestler will lose sponsors if he loses because of the Instinct.
The Highlands is one of the basins with the most active amateur wrestling scenes but it is very friendly, a group of people (at least half are female) helping each other work out and having a little competition while doing it. There are big professional wrestling scenes in the Korst, Ydlontrostl, Fmak and Trenst basins. The pro wrestling is available as video feeds, but it is generally too tame to be of much interest to Centorins, except when it's nude females as in the Borlunth and Zhlindu basins.
Posation is a sport that is almost unique to the Highlands. In this a member of the scoring team assumes a pose. The member of the other team must also assume that pose. The first to drop out of the pose loses the point and the next player on the other team chooses the next pose. There are normally five players on a team that rotate thru. The sport may be played with or without gymnastic apparatus. Poses may be rated by strength and balance. In the Yakhan there is a professional league with 36 teams and 18 halls. It is broadcast live with hushed commentary and generates some of the highest wagers on the planet. All league matches have been fed to the net since 3921, but the sport draws few viewers outside the Highlands.
Posation is a kid's game all over the Highlands, New Midlands and Salvador basins but played with lines of players at day schools and other play areas. There are a few amateur leagues for adults, some even play by big league rules (the official rule book is over five hundred pages) and attract a few spectators, but most are just fun workouts and an excuse for a few laughs. Lasnar and Vikaskane also have professional leagues.
The Highlands and most other basins have many other forms of gymnastics and the word 'gymnastics' in Kassidorian would also translate as 'movation'. In the Highlands many gymnastic events have leagues with standings and one-on-one matches. In other cases gymnastics merges with track and field. Many posation fans in the Highlands group track, field, gymnastics, wrestling and many you're about to hear of as 'movement sports' with posation as the other half of the athletic universe, those sports without movement.
Pointstone is played anywhere there is, or has been, a sizeable Troll or Nordic population. In this game a tall, thin, four hundred pound stone is balanced on its point between four players. The court is divided into equal areas around the point of the stone. The teams of two are not allowed to be on opposite corners. No player may step out of his quadrant. In who's territory the stone lands, loses the point. The game begins when the 'official' bets roll out of the cup on the top of the stone and down a small channel next to the point, announcing the stone is level. That's about the whole rule book for pointstone.
In big-time pointstone the men at the top of the card use incredible genetic enhancements. Girls interested in muscle-bound men flock to it and are often spectacularly enhanced themselves. Unfortunately for the interstellar traveler, Pointstone is not a big sport in the Highlands and you have to go to the actual tit, ass and slit clubs in the Yakhan to see those enhancements. What pointstone pits you can find in the Yakhan are a bit seedy and not a big draw for women unless they play. In the Borlunth basin it is still pointstone that generates the largest wagers and the rowdiest crowds.
Amateur Pointsone is popular wherever there are pros competing, and a few more basins besides, such as Knidola and Prvest. At the amateur level the 'stone' is often a large pointed log, and among the more upscale, a carved and re-enforced piece of stone weighing little more than a hundred pounds. Amateurs may use any weight stone they wish, and not all amateurs use lighter stones. In the Borgoth sections of the Knidola basin, thousand pound stones are in use in three different pits.
The Instinct sometimes occurs in pointstone, giving the opposing side an advantage. One must not aim to crush the opponent with the stone, but to force the stone to the ground on the opponent's side of the court. With that mindset, one may exert all one's strength on the stone.
Muscle Ball is the closest thing the planet has to football. In this sport a team of eight players attempts to push a seven-foot-high, three-hundred-pound leather ball over the opponent's goal line. The Instinct lets you use all the force you can on the ball. It is a raucous commercial sport played in indoor arenas in large cities. It was invented in the Zhlindu basin during the starship age when electronics became commonplace on the planet. It soon spread to many other basins. In Borlunth it took serious market share away from pointstone.
Lots of beer is sold at the events and the floors are sticky. The speakers are cheap and blare loud music. There are bright lights and colorful banners, team chants and mascots, most of which are dangerous animals that really shouldn't be around large crowds. But then the crowds get so rowdy at times, they scare the animals back into their cages, dragging their keepers by the leash.
The Instinct happens all the time in this game. People deliberately get in each other's way even though they will be paralyzed and the opponent will fall on them, often getting paralyzed as well. This builds what the shouting announcers call a 'paralysis block' or even a 'paralysis wall' play. Some will even get crushed by the ball while paralyzed and stepped on by their own teammates, who may get paralyzed in the process themselves. And that is nothing to the amount of paralysis that overcomes the drunken fans of opposing teams in the stands.
The Zhlindu league is still the media favorite, but if you must, you can find five professional muscle-ball arenas within a fifteen minute tube ride of the stargate terminal. And it is true, you will get laid after the game.
In the Highlands, the sport that more people play than any other is undoubtably Mish. Mish is a racket sport played with a huge soft ball that is almost a balloon. As many players as want to, claim territories and cover them. Formally the territories are a hexagonal lattice like any in the Torrock family of sports. Whoever let's it touch the ground in their cell loses a point, the one with the fewest points when someone reaches a hundred is the winner.
Almost no one actually draws out territories or counts points in the Highlands. They bat the mish ball around while they chat and enjoy a couple cups and never try to make anyone miss. Newcomers join in with a racket and an, 'I'll play over here' and continue the conversation on whatever it was. As exercise it is the city dweller's substitute for tending the garden and as a social icebreaker it performs better than dogs do for New Yorkers.
That does not mean that there are not plenty of players and leagues who count points and note their standings. Mish is only one of a family of games using similar equipment. The equipment can be used by two opposing players, with or without a net. Without the racket, there is the entire Torrock family of games. In many basins they are the most popular because they don't involve buying a racket.
But informal Mish is played in most basins by some of the urban middle class. There is probably not a town of a hundred thousand or more in the Highlands without at least one court and league of serious players. It is played by students at almost all colleges in almost all basins almost as much as aero-disk. There are some groups in some basins where one's Mish racket is one's greatest status symbol. In the Highlands the kayak is much more likely to be one's prized possession and having a working racquet is good enough. A day's unskilled piecework day labor can buy one in the Highlands.
A very close approximation of Rodeo is popular in the Korst basin and similar sports are popular in the Plecerveet, Knidola and Platicivetri basins. In the Korst there are competitions riding animals, roping animals and herding animals while riding kedas. A spectator from the upper Navorken basin of Centorin would feel right at home with the sport and the fans (if he/she could speak Kassidorian), but at the present time the Korst is nearly a year's travel beyond the end of the tubes in the New Midlands.
In the Trastrab basin the animals ridden and fought are dangerous carnivores in the Theiropsoid family. Screaming spectators surround the pit and hawkers bawl for bets. Wildly enhanced whores and pickpockets work the crowds. Three competitors were eaten in 4099 when the animals won their matches. A few years ago a spectator was also pulled into a pit and devoured, but an investigation concluded he was so inebriated he may have fallen in. That basin is still two years beyond the end of the tubes, but video feeds of this mayhem have been available and popular since 3891.
However, in no place at no time is the theirops itself used in any spectator sport, the intractability of the animal makes it impossible to work with and the danger to the spectators and participants alike would be too great. Large Dactyls are also impossible to use, but smaller ones are used as mascots by several muscle ball teams.
The sports of hiking, mountain climbing, white water rafting and kayaking, snow boarding, skate boarding and roller blading differ only in details of equipment from their Earth/Centorin counterparts. Excellent opportunities of all these outdoor sports are now located within a week's travel of stops on the tube line. There are professional leagues and tours. The roller blade tour of the Kassikan is an excellent workout to get you used to the gravity and shows you many of the important sites in this important institution. Kugenzglaw is a noted skiing and snow boarding center and the tubes now reach that far, though it takes almost the full light of a week to reach it, with stops for rest and meals.
Roller blades go back fifteen hundred years farther on Kassidor than on Earth. Those who believe there was contact between Earth and Kassidor in the 1960's think that in-line roller skates were brought across, since previous roller skates on Earth had four wheels in the corners. Roller skates on Kassidor have always been in-line and have been manufactured in the Yakhan since the Earth year 461ad, 43,45,55 by the Kassidorian calendar. They are expensive, up to a month's unskilled labor, and used mainly by professional messengers and racers, but the affluent sometimes buy them for fun, and the common people can rent them on a tour.
Bicycling is a sport for the well-to-do on Kassidor. A good bicycle costs between the equivalent of six hundred and six thousand hours of unskilled labor. (As much as a modest home in the Yakhan.) They are highly technical carbon and plastic things with infinitely variable pulley systems. Cheap (a month's unskilled labor), hardwood models are available where the land is completely flat. Bicycle messengers use company equipment in the Yakhan and other large Kassidorian cities. Still there are rented bicycle tours of regions with decent roads and paths, and enough affluent people to keep those businesses going. For a Centorin, the price is less than a bicycle tour in a city of Centorin, Earth or even Naiho. If you are in the condition to handle it, it is a good way to see life a few miles from a tubeway line.