Ah, is there any spectacle in the world of professional sports as entertaining as the halftime or intermission contest? I mean sure, if you’re at a sporting event, you’re probably there to see the game. But it can’t just be all sports all the time. The players need a few minutes to rest, and if hockey is the game, the ice needs to be resurfaced. There’s a bunch of time in between periods or halves where the crowd doesn’t have a whole lot to do. And THAT, I’m sure, is the reason halftime and intermission contests were created: to keep the crowd engaged, and give a few members of it a chance to win something.
There are plenty of ways to do it. One of the most common in the world of basketball is to hold a free throw contest, or a half court throw contest where the winner is awarded some big amount of cash. It takes skill to compete in these, but they’ve been done so many times, it’s kind of old news.
Given that the Cleveland Cavaliers were the best team in basketball last year, it’s no surprise to me that they’re also the best at halftime contests. Recently the Cavs pulled four fans out of the stands, dressed them up in colorful costumes and played a game of real-life Hungry Hungry Hippos!
Boy does that bring back childhood memories. I like that they even had the proper colours for their hippo suits – though I wouldn’t expect an NBA team to half-ass something like that.
Mind you, you don’t need to be on hardwood to play a friendly game of “Human Hungry Hippos.” As this family video found on YouTube shows, you can do it just about anywhere with a bunch of ball pit balls and a few of those wheely board things (the name for which I don’t know – they’re those things that would destroy your fingers when you rolled around on them in kindergarten).
As for other entertaining halftime show ideas, there are a few out there for sure. Keeping in the NBA, the New York Knicks have been known to play a little bit of musical chairs at halftime…
I really like this idea put together by the University of Utah for a game against Fresno back in 2013. Eight students donned various costumes of Mario Kart characters and raced around the court on
modified karts childrens’ bikes.
Of course, many halftimes and intermissions will have the same ol’ contest where you gotta shoot the puck from centre ice through a tiny slot in a board over the net (or whatever equivalent equipment is used in the sport you’re watching). Those are all well and good, because usually there’s a pretty hefty prize involved.
Fun fact: I once had the chance to try the half-court shot through the hole in the board at a Peterborough Lakers game as a kid (like 9 or 10 years old, maybe?). I failed miserably, but to be fair, it was my first time ever holding a lacrosse stick, let alone trying to take a shot. I didn’t even know what way to hold it! They still gave me a hat for coming out.
In the hockey world, though, that’s one of the standard things to do… Which is why I love it when they mix it up from time to time, like the Anaheim Ducks did with this puck race:
I mean, who doesn’t love watching strangers slip and fall on the ice repeatedly, am I right?