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Kick to the Future

Johnny Lightyear dragged his fathers’s arm and said “C’mon Dad we can’t miss kick off!” Father and son surged with with the masses through the body scanners into the stadium.

My first live match! thought Johnny. As they took their seats Johnny urged his dad, “Tell me about Future Football? I play football with my friends but this is different isn’t it?”

“Well it’s like this, son. What we are seeing today is a 3D projected game of football.”

“You mean they are not real players?”

“Well they are real, but from many years ago.”

“Why don’t we watch REAL teams? What happened?”

His dad grimaced. “What happened was technology. It ruined the game as we knew it.”

“How?” Johnny questioned.

“Well when Google first invented the G-Brain implant it basically gave people the option of having all the information of the world on tap, right inside your head. Brilliant eh? But there were drawbacks. It ruined pub quizzes overnight. Schools had to cancel exams, until it was banned for under 18 year olds, when it was realised that it was affecting brain development.”

“But how did that change football dad?”

“I’m coming to that. After the War when the WGC overruled all governments, there suddenly a unified globe. So technology was given freedom to really take off. With no wars there was still an arms race. Apple, Google and Microsoft raced to develop other brain implants. The Google Attitude5, Apple iPositivity and MS Work-ethic-28 chips all had a great success in overcoming depression , crime, social problems and productivity, especially when everyone had implants.”

Johnny’s dad continued “It was slow at first and expensive but soon the prices dropped to to nothing and you could get a chip implanted at your local auto-chemist is 5 minutes. They were universally adopted in all countries including the poorest ones. Some call it Utopia.”

Johnny frowned. “So how did that affect football?”

“The next step was sport. They conceived implant chips to give sports players the attitude and mental skills of superstars, in football you could become Messi over night.”

“Who was Messi, dad?”

“He was apparently the best player in the world. So with these chips, what happened is that every Sunday player became as good as Messi. That became a problem when the standard of football and other sports hit a ceiling where it was impossible to improve. Everyone was at the same level. Most football games ended 0-0, tennis matches would last three days with no result and chess matches were all stalemated. Lawn bowls players would die of old age before a game was completed.”

“Really?” Johnny asked.

“Ok, perhaps not that last one. But, as sports scientists had long realised, the top players have their edge because of their mental strength, more than anything else. The ‘top two inches’, they used to call it. But everyone soon had these attitude chips and with diet and “optimum-body” chips implanted too, everyone became super athletes. It was great for a while.”

“Wouldn’t that make sport boring Dad?”

“It did. Basically all world records hit a zenith and didn’t change, as we were at a level our human physiology couldn’t improve on. This especially after robot limbs were banned from sport following the tragedy of the 2059 Rugby World Cup. Two players dead and rugby, as a game, died more or less then too. Pity, apparently we used to be rather good at it here in Hamilton”

Johnny consulted his data base in his wrist watch and searched for sport history. It told him that in 2060, the World Governing Council, presided over by elderly leaders Jacinda Ardern and Sasha Obama, realised that the biggest danger in a Utopian society was boredom. Spectator sports, particularly, had become a non-event and most completions had folded. Suddenly wars looked attractive again.

The duo sat quietly for a time as the two teams entered the stadium and began their warm-up routines. One in red and one in blue. Cheer leaders waved flags and spectators ate hot dogs and pored over their programmes

“What happened next, Dad?”

“The Powers-that-be took the bold step of introducing Hologramic sports events.”

“Like this, Dad?”

“Yep. The World Sports Event Council decided to keep sports alive with Hologram events that you could attend, just like a real event of the past. Future Football was invented.”

Johnny accessed his G-Watch again and read about it. By integrating AR (augmented reality like Microsoft’s HoloLens) with a thing called leap motion, you could suddenly create very realistic holograms. Previously what were called ‘holograms’ were just flat projections without any actual depth. With AR, however, you could now use leap motion, a technology that used cameras to measure depth.

“Sounds complicated, Dad.”

“Yep, but it works.” Johnny’s dad looked at his son “But what we did have to watch? This is the clever bit. There is a technology feature that can delete history from everywhere in the world, data banks, libraries, your head.”

“My head!” Johnny said, “Yikes!”

“Everywhere except the the WGC’s Central Computers. It has many overrides to prevent it being used except where it benefits humanity. In this case the proposal was universally approved.”

“What was the proposal?”

“The WGC and Cristiano Ronaldo-III, head of NFIFA, suggested the deletion of any knowledge of football game results prior to 2028, and the Future Football System was engineered to generate AR based versions of every football match from 1960 onward, to be shown in stadiums. Not knowing the result means that it’s like attending the match when was actually played. No-one knows what the result will be.”

“How did it figure out what teams and games we watch?”

“As you know, there is no life in the Northern hemisphere anymore, after the War, but all the major football games of the 20th and 21st century were played there. This is where it gets clever.”

“The NFIFA computer allocated a league for each country and a club to each major city and for all intents and purposes that became that town’s local team to follow. Whole seasons and local rivalry would work better than than just screening random games here and there. Tribalism has its place but in a sporting sense rather than a warfare one. They called it Future Football but in fact it’s actually ancient football, recycled.”

Johnny peered at his watch and read some more facts. He read that the NFIFA Computer eventually did its allocating and New Australasia (incorporating the old countries of Australia and New Zealand) picked up the English Premiership. Other counties got their own leagues. For example Chiletina got the Italian Serie A league and Southern Combined Africa got the Spanish La Ligue. New stadiums were built, or old ones rebuilt, and given the names of the traditional football grounds of each team.

“I’m glad we got the Premiership Dad. My gaming friend in Fiji has to watch the Scottish league and he’s says it’s pretty boring.”

Johnny’s dad explained more. “In our neck of the woods there was the allocation of Premiership teams. Sydney were given Liverpool and Wellington got Manchester United, lucky buggers. The Sydney Stadium was renamed Anfield and the Wellington one, apparently formerly known as the Tin of Cakes, is now Old Trafford.”

“So whatever team your town got, you were destined to watch their games with no knowledge of how the results worked out many years ago. I used to go to watch the Arsenal games when I was a boy growing up in Perth.”

“And that’s who we are playing today of course This will be a good game, I reckon. Just watch that Denis Bergkamp.”

The match kicked off and the crowd sang their support of the home team. They grew silent when Bergkamp scored in the 6th minute.

The players looked solid and realistic, despite their odd-looking uniforms and Johnny could even hear them yell and cajole each other. He squinted but couldn’t make out any difference between the holograms and a real game. The pitch even looked like a proper grass one with divots and bare patches clearly discernible.

At first Johnny was too excited to care too much, but he picked up the home crowd vibes when that man Bergkamp scored again after 61 minutes to make it 2-0.

“We are not very good, are we Dad?”

“Nope”

“Why didn’t the Computer give us a decent team, like Leeds, to follow.” Johnny muttered.

But it was an exciting match. The home team actually scored, then equalised before Bergkamp made it 3-2 in the 90th minute, with an astonishing piece of skill. Then the locals unbelievably knocked in a last gasp goal to make it 3-3 in extra time. The crowd went crazy as the full time whistle peeped.

Johnny bounced down the stairs on the way out. “That was brilliant Dad!”

Then he grew silent. “But we WERE a bit lucky eh Dad? So why did the Computer give us such a rubbish team as Leicester City? We’ll never win the Premiership, so why do you keep coming to the games?”

“We all just do, Johnny, not sure why. Perhaps we just love football” replied his dad. “And keep the faith, lad. Keep the faith. You never know….. ”

Categories: Other Football Topics

Rod de Lisle

Waikato based follower of Leicester, Hamilton Wanderers, Allwhites and Phoenix, roughly in that order. I write stuff that I feel I'd like to read myself but there's no accounting for taste, eh? Some of my opinions may even be factually correct, sorry about that.

2 replies

  1. Johnny – my mum’s been reading her tea leaves. In a couple of years your club will smash their transfer record to buy one Ade Akinbiyi. You may be excited. Don’t be. But stick with it, eventually a man shall come from Rome and your life will never be the same.

  2. Riponia. You forgot to mention one Junior Lewis. ‘A future star’ they will call him. ‘Bambi on Ice’ they will later call him

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