Sports in the Star Wars galaxy are just as diverse as they are on Earth. In the first part of this article we spoke about the most famous and dangerous race sports in the galaxy, such as Podracing and swoopracing. In this second part we’ll focus on game-oriented sports, combat sports, and more.
The Galactic Games were one of the most famous sport events in the entire universe. They were organized on a different planet every seven years during the time of the Galactic Republic. The games included a lot of different contests and planets from all regions in the galaxy participated in different teams. The Galactic Games Council was so influential that they even succeeded to make betting on the games illegal. The first Galactic Games were held around 100 BBY to promote peace through sport. In 26 BBY Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi were among the Jedi assigned to keep the peace during the games when they were held on Euceron. From the moment Emperor Palpatine’s New Order replaced the Galactic Republic, the games have become known as the Imperial Games.
Ball sports are very popular and there exists a large variety practiced on a professional level throughout the galaxy. But that doesn’t mean that some of them are less dangerous than certain race sports. Smashball is a violent ball sport with a large amount of fans. Spotts TradeChip Company regularly produced a series of Smashball tradechips. Smashball was also performed by Jedi such as Qui-Gon Jinn at the Jedi Temple on Coruscant. Analyst Kav Muja complained during the Separatist Crisis that too many teams were contracting young players from other planets which meant local talent had a rough time making it into the team.
Another rather violent ball sport is Shockball. The point of shockball is trying to stun members of the opposing team by an electrically charged ball. The game gets decided by the number of players who are still conscious when the game ends. The players are outfitted with scoops to swing the ball and special gloves to handle to ball safely. The biggest teams in the galaxy play in the Galactic League and some of the most successful teams are the Commenor Diamonds, the Eriadu Patriots and the Kuat Artisans. Shockball star Kob Mondray, the captain of the Kuat Artisans, left his cocoon of wealth and luxury when his homeplanet Ochotl seceded from the Republic during the Clone Wars. Mondray fought in several battles and spoke for the Confederate cause, but was pardoned after the war. However, he never returned to shockball and opposing fans still chant “Go home Seppies” to the Kuat Artisans, decades after the Clone Wars. A musical genre that is often identified with shockball is Glimmik.
Grav-ball, also known as Zoneball, is another spectacular and famous sport. This indoor sport originated on the Core World of Nubia. The sport requires two referees and is played in teams of four who are outfitted with hover boots to bounce around in a three-dimensional field. Players are allowed to use all the walls (and even other players) to launch themselves. Grav-ball is played in a professional league, but also on a more informal level by many clubs. The chairman of the biggest Grav-ball league is a Toydarian known as Zen Lotto.
The official sport of the Galactic Empire’s New Order is called Wegsphere. It was introduced successfully by the COMPNOR branch SAGRecreation and the sport has found a home on thousand worlds. This ball sport features two teams playing in a low gravity field where they have to place the ball into the opponent’s goal. Imperial Academies even accept candidates based on excellent wegsphere scores.
Huttball originated as a means for debtors to pay back their loans by participating in this violent sport. The earliest matches were known as Alay Makcheesas, meaning ‘late payoffs’ in Huttese. After some time a list of rules was established, but before this happened, the matches were nothing more than gladiatorial duels in which cheating and violence were encouraged. Huttball was considered illegal during the Republic because deaths were frequent. Supreme Chancellor Janarus declared the sport as the ‘Blood Sport of Kingpins’. Huttball was often played on the moon of Nar Shaddaa. It is not known if the sport endured its popularity after the Cold War between the Galactic Republic and the Sith Empire.
Limmie (or Bolo-ball outside of the Core Worlds) is a popular sport, but for some reason it isn’t very popular on Coruscant. Journalists of Holonet News on Coruscant don’t even understand all the rules of the sport. The Galactic Cup is an important Limmie event where planets compete against each other in teams. Because of their Mandalorian legacy, the Clone Commandos inherited the love cherished by the Mandalorians for this sport. In Mando’a the sport is known as Meshgeroya (“the beautiful game”). A Limmie-referee is known as a Match Master.
Two sports that originated on Naboo are Nuna-ball and Gulliball. They are noted for their awkwardness since the ball used in these sports is actually a living animal. When Nunas gets angry, they are able to inflate themselves and therefor they make excellent balls. Nuna-ball is very popular, despite the protest of the Committee Against Non-Sentient Abuse. At first, it was a local sport, practiced by the Gungans, but it became universally known after the Invasion of Naboo when the Gungan society became more open towards foreign cultures. The leading droid manufacturers saw a golden opportunity and organized matches between series of droids playing nuna-ball, much to the dismay of the Biological Athletes Union. Right before the start of the Clone Wars, the Nuna-ball League (NBL) was about to expand from 16 to 32 teams. The sport had become popular enough to be aired at bookmakers and clubs, such as the Outlander Club on Coruscant. According to NBL commissioner Lysko Buelia it wasn’t merely the nuna that was pleasing the crowds, but also the competing droids that sometimes lost limbs or head during the contest. Some series that are used in nuna-ball include B1 Worker Droids, CLL-6 Binary Load Lifters, ASP Utility Droids, B3NK Navigator Droids, JR-8 Maintenance Droids, 8D8 Smelting Operators, RIC General Labor Droids, Otoga-222 Maintenance Droids and WA-7 Service Units. When a goal is scored the announcer will yell “Nuuunnnnnnaaaaa!”.
Gulliball is very similar to nuna-ball, but it uses an inflated gullipud as a ball. It’s popular with the Gungans on Naboo, but it never reached intergalactic acclaim like nuna-ball did. In this sport Gungans use mallets, made from branches of the zaela tree, to place the gullipud into specific areas in order to score points. Quite surprisingly, the animals enjoy being tossed around for unknown reasons.
An individually played ball sport is Greenputt. In this sport a player tries to fit a small ball in a remote hole further down a wide course. While this game of skill could be played for leisure, there are also a lot of (sometimes crazy) tournaments going on like the Professional Greenputt Tour, the Female Professional Greenputt Tour, the Asexual Professional Greenputt Tour, the Not-Dead-Yet Professional Greenputt Tour and the Non-Limbed Professional Greenputt Tour. Shortly before the outbreak of the Clone Wars, the Greenputt Governing Council, based in Tecave City on Cerea, added the Non-Sentient Professional Greenputt Tour for three Ambrian Neeks and a Taurill player named Bortis.
Other regularly practiced ball sport include football, Hi-lo ball (a sport including hurling a ball), scramball, slingball and wallball.
Martial arts and boxing
Ranging from local gladiatorial free-for-alls, like Petranaki, to man-on-man fighting sports, combat sports have attracted visitors far and wide. Like on the planet Lannik, where the Lannik prove their fighting worth against each other in a combat sport called Pugil.
A sport very much like Pugil, but not exclusive to the Lannik, is Shockboxing. In this violent fighting sport, which is also very popular at bookmakers, the combatants wear special gloves that can send various degrees of electric charges with each blow that strikes the opponent. A regulation shockboxing match is divided into ten equal two-and-a-half minute phases, with each phase being separated by one-minute breaks. Shockboxing is one of the most popular sports among the Barabels, whose ferocity and physique make them extremely well-suited for it. One of the longest reigning shockbox champions in the Outer Rim was a Barabal called Tull Raine. He did most of his fighting in the Dool Arena of the The Broken Tusk on Reuss VIII.
Can a fighting sport be elegant and evolve into something more than just an elaborate brawl? Consider the popularity of Teräs Käsi and the fact that even Jedi like Joclad Danva, Bultar Swan and Anoon Bondara have been honing their skills at it, one would certainly agree. Originally, and foremost, Teräs Käsi (or ‘Steel Hands’ in Basic) was an unarmed combat discipline created by the Followers of Palawa as a means to defend themselves against the Jedi. Eventually tournaments were held on worlds such as Bunduki, where Phow Ji defeated the Jedi Joclad Danva in the finals. In an earlier match Ji was responsible for killing his opponent Dux Pike with a shenbit-bonecrusher blow. The daughters of Dux, Zan and Zu, would become famous fighters themselves and were known as Black Sun associates of Prince Xizor.
Not every sport needs to have its prestigious tournaments. Many water sports exist like swimming (both regular or in a freestyle zero-G environment), water hockey (a team sport in which teams try to score points using a puck), wild-water rafting (as practiced on the sulfur ice rivers of Oko E), jetboarding and motosurfing, in which an individual uses a motorized sled to race across the water. For those who prefer not to get completely wet, there are snow and ice sports like board-skiing, hover-skiing and ice-boarding or you could put on your turbo-skis and slide down mountains, using a stabilizer belt for keeping your balance.
So if you are a sports fan, you’ll definitely find a few sports to your liking in that galaxy far, far away. Which one would be your favorite?
- Adventure Journal 4
- Coruscant and the Core Worlds
- Dark Apprentice
- Fists of Ion (Hyperspace)
- Han Solo and the Lost Legacy
- Holonet News
- Imperial Commando: 501st
- Jedi Quest: The Dangerous Games
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- Slugthrowers: An Overview of Popular Music and Musicians in a Galaxy Far, Far Away, Part 1
- Shadows of the Empire
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- Star Tours: The Adventures Continue
- Star Wars: The Roleplaying Game, First Edition (The Night Has a Thousand Eyes)
- The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia
- The Essential Guide to Warfare: Author’s Cut, part 8: Tales of the Clone Wars
- The Gungan Frontier
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- The Old Republic Encyclopedia
- The Truce at Bakura Sourcebook
- The Wildlife of Star Wars
Tim Veekhoven (Sompeetalay) from Belgium is president and co founder of TeeKay-421, the Belgian Star Wars Fanclub. He’s a contributor to Star Wars Insider (Rogues Gallery), an administrator for Yodapedia, and has written four character back stories in “What’s the Story?”.
Sander de Lange (Exar Xan) from the Netherlands does research for the Rogues Gallery feature in Star Wars Insider Magazine under the supervision of Leland Chee. He is an editor for TeeKay-421, the Belgian Star Wars Fanclub, he’s an administrator for the Star Wars Sourcebooks page on Facebook and has written the back story for Niai Fieso in ‘What’s the Story?’.