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Gee. Thanks: The 9 Dumbest Sports Gadgets

by: Howard Cosmell On  Friday, October 29, 2010

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While sports are, thankfully, accessible to the masses, that isn’t to say that all sports should be touched by the cold, dead hand of the lowest common denominator. I like my athletes to be God-like and my fans to be chubby, thank you very much. However, it’s only natural that fans want to keep getting closer and closer to the fantasy of being a professional athlete, and the avenues which they use to do so are often pretty strange. Executive horseshoes? Binocular-shaped whiskey vessels? H.L. Mencken once said that no one ever went broke underestimating the American public. If that’s the case, then the guys that invented these things are giving Nelson Rockefeller a run for his money.

9. Folding Bike w Briefcase Holder
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Any athletic device that’s engineered to hold a briefcase is not just ill-advised, but just plain awful. The marriage between sports and day-to-day life is not one made in heaven; one of the reasons people like sports so much is the escapist quality. Once you compromise that with something mundane as a briefcase holder, you might actually have a practical solution on your hands for urban commuters, but on some love, it can’t help but seem like you’re cheapening everything the Tour de France stands for.

8. Nerf Turbo
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Not everyone can throw a football. If everyone could, Sunday afternoons would be a lot less interesting. However, the good people at Nerf thought that football should be more like, I don’t know, communist Russia, where everyone gets the same treatment regardless of skill or ability. The aerodynamic football appeared to be the solution that would turn pointdexter into John Elway. I use “appear” because the spiral design didn’t seem to work very well, and the engineers seemed to forget that it’s kind of tricky to put too much force into something that weighs about 4 ounces. Let’s leave football to the guys that can toss the heavy ball.

7. Snowball Launcher
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Pity the child that makes this purchase with delusions of walking out onto the playground on a cold winter’s morn to wreak havoc on the children that for long have tormented him. He would load snowballs into the contraption and, like a jai ali hero, wing them at the ones that have made his life hell, restoring his dignity and name with each mighty toss. Or he gets pelted by snowballs while trying to load this monstrosity, all the while getting heckled by children who are actually able to throw a snowball without bleeding-edge technology. Whoops.

6. Table Tennis Trainer
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This could also very easily be known as the “loneliness acknowledger.” For the gentleman who is extremely passionate about ping-pong but has difficulty finding another human being to interact with (Which, let’s face it, is probably every person that is passionate about ping-pong). With this product comes the image of some poor man sobbing, gently returning serves all over his parent’s basement. If that isn’t bad enough, then comes to mind the image of the poor bastard shagging his balls, looking for them under bumper pool tables and boxes of photographs that commemorate the person’s graduation from Carnegie Mellon University. Heartbreaking.

5. Executive Horseshoe Set
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God bless Sky Mall. Finally, we can cross the country at near-sonic speeds while buying some of the stupidest shit known to man. They finally combined two concepts that could not be more antithetical to each other. Horseshoes and the notion of an “executive.” The only executive decision a horseshoe player has ever made is “should I vomit in the bushes or on my shoes?” so forgive us for not putting too much stock in the definition of “executive” laid out by a firm that also sells Harry Potter chess sets and fake magic wands. Did this come about because some branding intern at Sky Mall was mocked because of the shoddy quality of their horseshoe set? Did some bad ass whose father is a senator cruise up with a shinier horseshoe set and steal his girl. In my mind, yes. That’s exactly what happened. But never again. May your song never die, Sky Mall.

4. Laser-Guided Pool Cue
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Wow. Apparently they couldn’t make signs that said “Hu$tle Me!” fast enough, so they went with the laser-guided pool cue to supplement their growing line of suckers’ purchases. The ideal weapon for those that want to play billiards but don’t know exactly how to determine a straight line. A fool and their money are soon parted. If you can’t tell if you’re straight or not in the five inches between the tip of the cue and the cue ball, you’re using this device wrong. Turn it around so the laser shines right in your eye. It will hurt, but trust me, it will be worth it. Then, using all your might, jam the pool cue through your eye, rooting it into your skull. Of course, if you bought this device, you will probably miss and end up clipping yourself in the forehead, so just keep practicing until you get it right.

3. Binoculars Flask
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For the NASCAR fan in all of us, this is the alcoholic season ticket holder’s wet dream. Finally you can smuggle in booze under the guise of having worse sight than Mr. Magoo. Gold. I understand that this device will probably enable you to negotiate security and get your precious, precious booze to your seat, but what then? Are you supposed to believe that both security and fans will turn a blind eye to the insane person sucking on their binoculars? I have to believe that security no matter how piss-poor they are, have been briefed on the whole “binocular-flask” charade. The only thing worse than having a crippling alcohol addiction that makes you hide your booze in innocuous items is getting caught doing so in front of hundreds of people at security.

2. Jumping Boots
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Were you a world-class track runner that lost both feet in a horrible farm accident? If you answered “yes” to the previous question, then you are allowed to purchase these strange, strange boots mockery-free. If you answered “no” to the previous question, go outside and get some activity if you would like to jump higher. I can’t imagine a world in which this company doesn’t get hit with horrible, horrible law suits on an hourly basis from the families of children who were wearing these in subway stations or perhaps at Sea World. There must be a waiver that negligent parents must sign holding harmless the makers of these bipedal death traps. Also, if you’re 6′ 4″ and live in a pre-war apartment, you should not buy these. You will hurt your head with alarming frequency.

1. Razor Scooter
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Dignity not included. While, thankfully, it never beccame the phenomenon that it promised to be 10 years ago, we can safely call our dodging the Razor Scooter craze a “near miss” and hopefully learn from our mistakes. The device was built for children, clearly, but that didn’t stop the (shudder) “young at heart” from jumping on this bandwagon whole-hog. The next thing you know, “creative firms” like dot-com startups and advertising agencies were touting executives that zipped around their office on tiny, tiny scooters, presumably flaunting their sense of whimsy, but realistically just looking like jackasses. The fad may have passed, but like so many horrible horrible plagues on society, there is a “push down, pop up” effect that indicates something is lurking in the depths to take its place. I’m praying it’s not those Skecher roller-skate shoes.




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