Space Sportilization: Former Redskin Player Ken Harvey Offers A 21st Century Game on the Moon

November 24, 2008 by Mary Anne Simpson weblog
Earth & Moon. Via: NASA Archives

(PhysOrg.com) -- Ken Harvey, former linebacker for the Washington Redskins is trying to capture the imagination of young people by proposing a 21st century game of "Float Ball" to be played in zero-gravity. The Xtreme game of Float Ball combines elements of football and basketball with weightless players bouncing off walls, banging up against each other with the objective of moving varied colored floating balls to each end of the playing field. Extra points are given for stuffing a player carrying a designated color ball into a hoop. Initially, the game can be played in retrofitted grounded planes. The next step may include "Float Ball on the Moon" and perhaps someday a "Float Ball" stadium on Mars. Sounds extreme and perhaps lofty, but there´s science behind Harvey´s plan.

The idea was presented to the Challenger Center, a foundation started by the offspring of NASA astronauts to encourage young people from all walks of life to "Think Big" and reach for the stars by providing hands-on experience in space science. Ken Harvey along with NASA engineers, Astronauts and friends of the Space program realize that an important ingredient in encouraging an interest in science requires you get the young person´s attention. Equally important is that science is presented in terms 21st century young people find palatable and are able to participate in at a level they are familiar, like creating "YouTube" videos.

Ken Harvey, age 43 knows quite a bit about taking some hard knocks on his way to a professional playing field and afterward. He was a high school drop out, who got his act together by working his way through Junior College and excelling in football. His career in professional sports was cut short by injuries and with the help of some associates with similar minds embarked on the concept of Space Sportilization. One friend, Eric Anderson, President of Space Adventures in Vienna, Virginia offers five-minute sub-orbital flights for paying customers for $5,000. Additionally, Space Adventures has transported six paying customers to the International Space Station. New York Times reporter Michael Brick quotes Anderson as saying, " Ken is a friend and someone who can make things happen." "It just helps people get excited about space".

Ken Harvey is not the first to suggest, "America Think Big." The first challenge came some 48-years ago by President Kennedy. An endeavor to reach for the Moon brought with it industries and every day conveniences for decades. Thinking big has a way of stretching mankind and creating opportunities on Earth.

Ken Harvey formed JAKA Consulting Group which incorporate sports concepts into achieving business goals for business partners. The process is dubbed "Sportilization". The Space Sportilization variation is aimed at encouraging students to visualize basic football moves and their application to space science. The science of movement in zero-gravity is explored and students are encouraged to participate by estimating the differences in game play on Earth and outer space. The Challenger Center for Space Science Education website has a live demonstration and interactive game developed by Challenger Center´s Richard Garriott and Ken Harvey. Click here to play, "Space Football"

Via NY Times

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