When I was a kid, my buddy and I used to jump on his trampoline and beat the crap out of each other with those foam noodles you use to float on in the pool. And by kid, I mean junior in high school. It was hours of entertainment on a long summer day. After all, what good is having a friend if you can't find entertaining ways to injur each other? If only we'd had "Spaceball" (that's actually the name, but I use quotes because it is so damn stupid), we would have had one more.
Apparently, "Spaceball" is "the best conditioning exercise for space travel." At least Mercury Seven astronaut Scott Carpenter seems to think so. I'm not sure how jumping around on a trampoline while tossing a ball through a tunnel constitutes space conditioning, but I do know that that description is a real snoozefest.
What's fun about this trampoline game is its clear propensity for inflicting pain in the name of fun. Because, like it or not, the guy across the way is just waiting and timing for the moment when your goofy-looking face is aligned perfectly with that little tunnel. Then--BAM!!--a quick wake-up more effective than your morning two cups.
I guess the actual point of the game is to get the ball past your opponent and bring home a point for your team. Of course, the horrible engineering on this thing (why is the backstop lower than the tunnel?!) means that after chasing down the ball once or twice, kids will be using this exactly as I envision--face-shot, trampoline dodgeball. And that should provide a few minutes of good fun until someone gets a raging bloody nose. Then "Spaceball" will be just another pile of unwanted junk in the shed--despite its merits to young space cadets.
To give it a try with your buddy or mortal enemy, grab one on Hammacher Schlemmer for $700. Or spend about $4 on a pair of pool noodles and get much the same effect.(UPDATE: You can now find Spaceball on Amazon for several hundreds less.)
Hammacher Schlemmer via DVICE