Sunday, January 30, 2011

Genus Athleticus: A Traveler's Guidebook to the Wild Sports of North America

So I had an odd idea whilst driving home along the Verrazano Bridge one day: what if one were to classify sports as animals, giving tendencies and traits, geographical and seasonal locations and behaviors, and such?  I immediately pictured a voiceover with a heavy Australian accent, talking about tracking the wild "Baseball" and "Football," citing where each was indigenous and exploring their tendencies.  I knew that I would need to come up with more appropriate, faux-scientific names for the sports, as well as other sub-species to flesh out what would essentially be a "Traveler's Guidebook to the Wild Sports of North America"

It seemed interesting, so I decided to give it a whirl (those seaside girls!).

So, without further ado...

The Genera of Wild North American Sports

Pasttimeus Americanus
Clip art licensed from the Clip Art Gallery on

Pasttimeus Americanus fossils have been discovered in North America dating back as far as the nineteenth century A.D.  It appears that the beast migrated to North America from the European Continent where it is believed to have first appeared on earth during the fourteenth century; for those of you counting at home, the year 1301 occurred approximately 22,376,240,501.92 seconds ago--or,  TWENTY-TWO BILLION THREE HUNDRED SEVENTY-SIX MILLION TWO HUNDRED FORTY THOUSAND FIVE HUNDRED AND ONE PLUS SECONDS!!!

For comparison, the age of the universe is estimated to be approximately 13.5 billion years old.  13.5 billion as compared to TWENTY TWO BILLION!? 

There is no comparison.

Bottom line: Pasttimeus Americanus is old, playa!

Pasttimeus Americanus has changed relatively little over the course of its history in North America.  It could easily be categorized as omnivorous, given its diet, which consists primarily of wood from the Ash tree (almost exclusively), the hide of indigenous bovines, small quantities of cork or rubber, sunflower seeds, and bubble gum.


A few rare, younger species have also been known to eat aluminum, causing Pasttimeus Americanus to emit a loud, resonating "PING!" when struck.

Pasttimeus Americanus can be found throughout the majority of the continental United States; it tends to reside in the most highly populated cities in the states where it makes its home (such as New York City in New York state and Los Angeles in California).  The appearance of Pasttimeus Americanus (known hereafter as PA) has changed little since first arriving on the North American continent; it differs only in plumage, which, in turn, is determined based upon its regionality.  PA ranges in height from approximately sixty inches to as many as eighty-four inches in height!


To put it in perspective, the largest PA specimen ever found in North America was roughly eighty-four inches in height.  That would be like stacking EIGHTY-FOUR inch-long [insert random inanimate object for comparative purposes; I'm going with "atoms"], one on top of the other, to a height of eighty-four inches.


PA's colorful outer appearance remains constant throughout the year, changing only once (generally) in July during a period of rest and merriment for the great beast.  The leaders of the packs (sometimes called "managers") often display the same feathering, though, admittedly, it looks quite silly given their often pudgy and decrepit appearances.

If one were to observe PA, one would note that it often travels in groups of twenty five to forty members.  Each collection of PA's (usually referred to as a "team") is semi-nomadic and highly sociable, traveling from region to region while making frequent if not regular return trips to their home lairs (called "Fields" or "Stadiums").  They are active between March and October although lately, likely because of global warming (or the need for corporate advertising dollars) they have been spotted as late in the year as November.  Generally, of the thirty known species of PA, only eight remain active through the beginning of October and, of those, only two can still be observed by the end of the month (and as late as the beginning of November).  The remaining groups begin their long slumber, often referred to as "the off-season," which will last through the cold winter months of December and January, ending only in late February.  At this point of the year, most, if not all, PA teams will migrate to warmer climes to graze and replenish their fat stores (like all birds with bear-like habits).

PA is generally a peaceful creature engaging in very little physical contact with other members of its kind.  When observing PA beasts at play, one will note that they follow a simple set of rules, easily discernible to the new fanatic.  They will play only in groups of eighteen and only in favourable weather; on rainy days they will simply sit inside of a cave-like protrusion and watch the precipitation lazily and dreamily whilst consuming large quantities of their preferred snack, sunflower seeds.

On fair-weather days, PA can be a joy to watch, although, after a few minutes, it can become quite boring and repetitive, indeed!  One creature, dubbed the "pitcher" will use a detachable, round, leather orb (often confused as an egg produced by the female gender), by throwing it towards another beast (called the "catcher," often somewhat heavily padded and protected by a solid mask), situated behind a point exactly sixty-feet and six inches away from where the pitcher stands.  A third animal stands between the two on either side of said point (but never on it!) and will swing a long wooden appendage called a "bat" in an attempt to hit the ball.  The goal of this animal (called, cleverly enough, the "batter") is to hit the ball away from or in between the seven other PA's (called "infielders" and "outfielders" depending upon whether they are closer "in" or further "out" (seriously--whoever came up with these names was employing some serious brain-cell power from the right neural hemisphere)) who are scattered about the playing area.  Watching these creatures, in particular, in between pitches can be mind-numbingly boring as they will generally just stand still, doing nothing.  Occasionally, though, one will reach back and scratch at its anus or scrotal region, discarding with a flicking motion whatever breaks free.

Should the batter make contact with the ball and it is not caught in the leathery glove-like appendage of a fielder, it will then travel to a point ninety feet from the home point and will remain there, safely, on "base," like in many other human children's games.  If the batter is fleet enough of foot, he can attempt to travel to another base, located ninety feet away from the first one but on a diagonal leading off at a right angle to the left; the third base is located by following the same route from the second, and then the home point is returned to by completing the diamond-shape with one final left turn.

Play continues until three batters have been tagged "out" by a fielder (including the pitcher and catcher), forced "out" (meaning that one of the fielders has stepped on one of three other special points
If one were to observe Pasttimeus Americanus, one would note that it often groups itself in large numbers, but no more than eighteen.  Describe the activities of the individual members.  In their play, members of Pasttimeus Americanus generally work individually, rather than collaboratively to achieve their aims.  Their play consists of a relatively simple set of rules, easily understood by any observer.  The terminology used to communicate said rules sound like barks, "Outs," "Innings," etc.

They are beneath only "Umpirus Homeplatus" (and others) on the food chain.  Their guttural utterances, when confronted by a group of Ump Homes, sound like "Killtheump" (or they smack their flabby rumps to make the sound).

Overall, the observation of PA at play can take anywhere from two to more than four hours.  It's not always an action-packed experience...but it's still worth the time if you're in the area!

Pigskinus Lombardius
Clip art licensed from the Clip Art Gallery on Lombardius, indigenous to the United States, is arguably the heartiest and most thrilling of the four major wild sports in North America (though there are two weaker species found in Canada and in Europe, neither can truly be called Pigskinus Lombardius).  PL is observable in its full numbers for a mere seventeen weeks--easily the shortest active cycle of all of the wild sports.  Speaking to its durability and adaptability, PL has no geographical preference nor does it hide from adverse weather conditions (unlike its wussy counterparts like Americanus Pasttimeus who can't stand even a little rain); it can be seen in extreme cold and heat, torrential downpours of rain and snow, and even in the smog of Los Angeles.

PL most closely resembles a hybrid of ankylosaurus and army ants (or certain types of hornets and bees), given its heavily armored appearance and its ability to work in close formation, executing complex cooperative maneuvers on the battlefield.  While Pasttimeus Americanus is content simply to romp around with others of its kind, the viking-like PL is a beast of bloodlust--an unquenchable thirst for violence and ass-smacking.  The epic battles PL engages in can be heard from miles away with observers saying that the mighty clashes of the helmet-like skulls of the largest beasts sound like thunder ripping through the halls of Valhalla.  Mighty Thor approves, indeed!

PL operate with great precision when engaging in their legendary skirmishes, all of which are confined to a rectangular area three hundred and sixty feet long and one hundred sixty feet wide.  The object of each battle is simply to preserve one's territory by holding one's ground and thwarting any forward progress on the part of the attacker.  Each warring faction will employ the services of eleven members at one time, though each subspecies has its own specialized role. Some of the more heavily musculatured members are built to defend or to attack (depending upon which side they line up on) the leader of the offending team.  Others have immense hindquarters allowing them to run either with great strength or speed.  Still others are slender and lean, utilizing their length and great striding ability practically to fly up the field of battle in an attempt to "move the chains."
Battles will last for sixty minutes, though, in observed time it is closer to three hours, and will end when one side has reached the protected ground of the other more times than its enemy.  In rare instances there will be an equal number of penetrations and an additional fifteen minutes (up to forty five for the observer) of activity will be engaged in.  Surprisingly and in direct opposition to what an observer's intuition would say about PL, the great beasts will lumber off in an amicable truce should a winner not be declared during this additional time frame (unless it is January or February, in which case they will fight to the death).  In even rarer cases, certain subspecies of PL will not understand that said truce will be reached, most notably by Donovanus McNabbicus.

PL do not eat but gain their strength by engaging in extremely taxing physical activity such as "Picking things up and putting them down."  The only fluid they ingest is Gatorade.  Occasionally, in an odd and unnecessary gesture, younger combatants will douse one of the elders of the group in a bath of Gatorade, often in near-freezing conditions when said old dude could clearly catch pneumonia and die.  Dumbasses.

Bottom line: Pigskinus Lombardius effin' rules and is the greatest sport in the world.  Observe it.  Love it.

Hoopus Naismithus
Clip art licensed from the Clip Art Gallery on

Hoopus Naismithus has arguably the widest dispersion rate among all of the four major wild sports of North America.  Evolving from a peach basket in the late 1800s, HN is found in urban, suburban, and rural areas alike (though the urban environment is often where the best observation can take place).  Members of the HN genus are generally quite tall and spend nearly 100% of their time upright (unlike Pigskinus Lombardius which spends much of its time on three limbs); they are most easily compared to lithe, graceful animals like the gazelle and cheetah. 

HN are generally active between the months of October and June but, given that the vast majority of their activity occurs within the confines of indoor lairs, there is no period of dormancy; the wildest strains can be observed year round, in particular Matthewus Beneckeus, which has been observed playing on ice in the dead of winter in a hoodie and a pair of basketball shorts and even in the pitch black of night, unable to see yet still throwing up and sinking J after J.  True story, kids: dedication and hard-work will get you places.  Fuck the weather and keep shooting those free throws in the dark.

Anyway, HN is arguably the most fun-loving and carefree of the four major wild sports.  Members will team up five at a time and play along an area ninety-four feet long and fifty feet wide.  After bouncing or throwing a gigantic orange-like orb amongst each other along the area of play, HN will then attempt to insert the globe into a round disc-like protrusion positioned ten feet in the air called a hoop.  Such activity will endure for forty-eight minutes (despite feeling like more than two hours to the observer).  Smaller members of the genus are more likely to be quicker and to attempt to fling the great orb into the hoop whereas the larger members will use their girth to get in close and simply dunk it in, much like a delicious Oreo cookie commingling with a glass of milk.

HN is growing in numbers on the Asian continent, in China in particular.  In the twenty-first century it is projected that the quantity of Chinese HN will surpass that of the United States.  Of course, the number of Chinese anything is likely to be higher there than anywhere else given its ridiculous population.

Just sayin'.

Puckus Canadianus
Clip art licensed from the Clip Art Gallery on Canadianus...graceful but is the fastest of all of the wild beasts.  An anomaly in that it is found all across North America (specifically north of the Mexican border), regardless of local climate, and yet it can exist almost solely in cold conditions.  In some geographic areas it is possible for the PC to be observed outdoors but even then it is likely to be confined solely to the coldest months of the year.

PC most closely resembles the thickly padded Pigskinus Lombardius in its appearance though there is far less diversity in the overall size of each individual creature.  The most striking characteristic that is unique to PC is the fact that many, if not all, are missing teeth, usually front ones, and almost universally because of the violent nature of its play.  It should be noted that pairs of PC will often break off in the middle of play to engage in brutal hand-to-hand combat (yet another cause of said missing teeth); it is the only of the four sports to offer pugilism as an almost-regular part of its ritualistic behavior.

PC is active throughout the year on a time frame almost identical to that of Hoopus Naismithus.  Despite existing in strong numbers throughout the United States, the population of PC in Canada is truly prolific.  The nature of its behavior is static between the two populations, however, with groups of five facing off with an additional, heavily padded member serving as the protector of the goal of their play.  Group members will attempt to place a small, frozen discus into a net-like area on either end of the frozen arena in which they play (with each end belonging a respective side). 

The blazing speed of the game is a treat for any observer though there are frequent and often obnoxious interruptions that some have dubbed "Icing."  In general, it is quite a treat to observe the graceful, expedient movements of PC as they traverse the frozen battlefield, attempting to sink the frozen discus in its enemy's protected zone.

The genetic makeup of many PC group members can be traced back to Russia, Canada, Sweden, and other Scandinavian areas.

The more you know ::cue music::

Soccerus Ballus

Just kidding.  No one gives a shit about soccer, especially not me.

(Soccer clip art courtesy of