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'Slamball' Combines Basketball, Ice Hockey, Trampolines - 2002-04-20

A new sport under development in the United States is being billed as the world's first extreme team sport. It's called "Slamball", and combines elements of basketball, the full contact of ice hockey and trampolines. An audience of fans at a six-team round robin competition in Los Angeles seemed to like it.

Slamball: it's played on a padded basketball-sized court surrounded by four-meter plexiglass walls. The players wear headgear and pads on their arms and knees.

Imagine the action, as a would-be scorer charges into enemy territory and bounces off one of four trampolines in the Slam Zone. Now four to five meters above the court, he prepares to slam the ball down into a regulation three-meter tall hoop. But wait! A defender known as "The Stopper" has also leapt high into the air on a trampoline to prevent the basket. Good thing they're wearing those pads! Proponents of the sport say the fast action is perfect for the videogame generation, and the hard-hitting mayhem does not hurt either. They make it clear that their sport is not like pro-wrestling. None of the action is scripted - it's all real. They also point to the fact that snowboarding was almost non-existent not too long ago, and now they hand out gold medals for it at the Winter Olympics.

That may all be true. But this new sport reminds me of another much-hyped new sport that was invented and disappeared in one season. Anyone remember the XFL (X-treme Football League)?