"They're playing cricket," muttered Arthur, stumbling along after Ford. "I swear they are playing cricket. I do not know why they are doing this, but that is what they are doing. They're not just killing people, they're sending them up," he shouted.
Often seen in fighting games, this trope is about characters whose fighting styles either use tactics from or are based on non-combat sports. This does not include those who just use sporting equipment as bludgeoning weapons (for instance, Batter Up and Golf Clubbing). It comes as no surprise that many of these characters are athletes.
Part of the trope name comes from former football player, coach, and commentator John Madden, who has a line of successful football video games.
This is the inverse of Martial Arts and Crafts, where combat skills are adapted to non-combat activities. May result in Gretzky Has the Ball. If the sport is gymnastics or cheerleading, see She-Fu. See also I Know Mortal Kombat, Dance Battler and Wrestler in All of Us, where the fighting style is based on Professional Wrestling.
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Shibuya Yuuri from Kyou Kara Maou used his skill at baseball to win a Sword Fight in one of the earlier episodes.
The duelist Harrington Rosewood's cards were all tennis themed in Yu-Gi-Oh! GX.
Striker in Yu-Gi-Oh! ZEXAL has a soccer themed deck, and even a field spell that turns the battlefield into a soccer arena.
Used quite a bit in Ranma ˝: Martial Arts Rythmic Gymnastics, Martial Arts Figure Skating fit in this category, to say nothing of all the Martial Arts and Crafts styles.
The Eagleland All Starz team in Beyblade all had various styles based off of sports. For example, the team leader would pitch his Beyblade like a baseball.
Inverted in Eyeshield 21; Orio Tokashiki of the Teikoku Alexanders uses his skills as a boxer to better play American football. Makoto Otawara, Daikichi Komusubi, and Futoshi Omosadake all use their sumo wrestling talents in the sport, as well.
Also in Eyeshield 21, several players use skills that they picked up from other sports while playing American football, especially Mizumachi, whose overall technique is based around his abilities as a swimmer.
In Mahou Sensei Negima!, during the epic dodgeball match, the girls in going with the lead's advice to use their skills in this environment, used a number of unorthodox sports techniques including a soccer kick, a swimming stroke, a basketball dribble and rhythmic gymnastics.
The number of things that Makie can do with a gymnastics ribbon is limited only by her imagination.
Air Master, of course. Once known as the 'Queen of Japanese Gymnastics', she is now known, and feared, in the underground street-fighting circuits as the undefeated Airmaster! She even goes as far as to frequently strike the standard 'finishing pose' of gymnastics after kicking ass.
Several characters in Kinnikuman, most notably Specialman, whose entire gimmick is about being an American football player and whose signature move is "Glorious Touchdown", and Kinnikuman Big Body, whose moves are also heavily based on his love of American football. There's also The Mari, who is literally a giant volleyball with arms and legs.
In the first fight between Goku and Tien in Dragon Ball, Tien eventually unveils his most powerful technique: Using volleyball moves to toss his opponent around like a ball.
Dragon Ball Z had a football team get into an altercation with an imperfect Cell. When tempers flared, they lined up and tried to rush him. Being that it was Cell, it didn't end well for the team.
In one of the video game manuals, it's explained that most of the Ginyu Force got their powers from fairly mundane sources during their childhoods; Jeice developed his Crusher Ball technique from being a baseball pitcher, Burter's speed owes itself to a constant stream of chore-doing, and Recoome's agility despite his size lends itself to dance lessons. Ginyu and Guldo already had their powers, but put them to mundane, selfish use at the time.
Similar to the Beyblade example above, many of the trainers in Pokémon Special have unorthodox methods of launching Poké Balls—Crystal's soccer style, Gold's pool cue, and Yellow's fishing rod come to mind.
Let's see, there's Erika's bow and arrows, Koga and Janine's shuriken, Bruno and Brawly's nunchucks, Falkner's boomerangs, Clair's whip...don't think I missed anything...
Among the Nakama in Katekyo Hitman Reborn! is a swordsman who substituted his initial lack of formal training with his mastery of baseball, even using a baseball bat that turned into a sword when swung fast enough for a while.
Waku from Bokurano is a very talented soccer player. While piloting Zearth his arms are pinned by the enemy robot so he instead resorts to soccer kicking the other robot to death.
In the manga version he instead kicks Zearth's severed arm right through the enemy robot.
YuYu Hakusho has one-scene demon who's obsessed with rugby. We don't get to see much of his fighting style, though, because shortly after he attacks Yusuke, one of Rugby's teammates kills him for starting things outside of the ring.
Gon in Hunter × Hunter applies to combat his skills he developed for fishing and passes the extremely selective Hunter Exam thanks to it (with the help of friends he gained along the way). It is implied that Gon's father Ging had the same fishing background and is now one of the three strongest fighters in the world.
The Golden AgeDC Comics super villain, the Sportsmaster was an Olympic level athlete who used sporting-themed weapons such as exploding baseballs, flying bases, rocket baseball bats, knockout basketballs, lacrosse snare nets, exploding hockey pucks.
There was also the Batman villain Sportsman, who had the same gimmick except with lots of anabolic steroids.
Marvel Comics has a recurring villain group called the Death Throws who are— wait for it —criminal jugglers. Their juggling implements are also thrown weapons, and they have names like Ringleader, Oddball, Knicknack, Tenpin (snrk!) and Bombshell so you know what their Weapon of Choice will be before they even start to * snort* juggle. I'm sorry, I shouldn't be giggling this much. I'll stop any time now.
Green Lantern villain Javelin, who threw gimmicky javelins and was supposedly a former Olympic athlete... No, not in curling.
By a similar token, Fastball of the Cadre in The DCU, a minor league baseball pitcher turned assassin after being given a high tech exoskeleton that allowed him to throw exploding balls at supersonic speeds.
And the jai alai themed Overthrow, as well.
Joining him in this category is Scoopshovel of the Demolition Team, whose skills as a jai alai player are utilized along with his hydraulic toothed bucket arm to uproot entire buildings and send any force back where it came from, plus interest.
"Calamity" James Wa from The Order, a former baseball prodigy and track star who lost his legs to a drunk driver, well... let's just say his game still revolves around speed, with his state-of-the-art cybernetic legs allowing him to break the sound barrier. He's also adept at improvising "bats" out of nearby debris, at one point splattering the brains of dozens of zombies with an uprooted parking meter.
Astro City featured the Golden Age football-themed All-American and his sidekick, the baseball-styled Slugger.
NFL Superpro had the physical attributes of an elite NFL player multiplied tenfold, with tackling skills that served him very well as a crimefighter.
Oddly averted in one issue of The Flash: A supervillain crashes a hockey game and tries to steal the touring Stanley Cup, culminating in a showdown with the Flash right on the ice. But the villain is Tarpit, a walking pile of tar, rather than the sport-themed guy you'd expect.
Speaking of the Flash, would Captain Boomerang count?
The Japanese kung-fu horror musical comedy (really) Battlefield Baseball is practically built around this trope, featuring a main character who beats people up during baseball matches, accidentally killed his father by throwing a pitch at him too hard, and fights an evil high school baseball team who kill their opponents. Yeah.
Casey Jones from the first Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie uses baseball and cricket bats, hockey sticks and golf clubs as bludgeons. However there are times in the movie, such as his finishing moves, where he actually swings the cricket bat and the golf club in the proper way,
Jonathan Cabot from combines ninjutsu and gymnastics to make a new martial art, Gymkata.
Jamal from Black Knight. He even shouts the name of the sport style he's using right then. He also trains the rebel army to run football plays in combat.
The "triplets" from Dogma are a trio of hockey-themed demons who can use their hockey sticks to open up portals. Or people.
In The Running Man, Ben Richards must defeat a hockey themed hunter in modified goalie pads who calls himself "Sub Zero."
Starship Troopers had the "flip-6-3-hole" play imported from some kind of shiny football. It was not in the original story.
In Flash Gordon, there's a sequence where a somewhat-dazed Flash and Ming's minions improvise a football play, complete with bowling-ball-knocking-over-pins sounds.
Inverted in The Replacements, where one of the replacement players is a sumo wrestler whose incredible skill at pushing people around comes in handy as an offensive lineman in American football.
The infamous scene in The Lost World: Jurassic Park in which the little girl uses some conveniently placed parallel bars to gymnastics-kick a velociraptor.
Resulting in the expected follow-up line: "And they dropped you from the team?"
This is the central premise of the Thai action film Born to Fight. The football player use footballs, flaming coconuts, and even a hot wok as projectiles. The gymnast flips acrobatically over swinging machetes while walking a balance beam and drop kicks from uneven bars. The rugby player... punts people in the stomach, slams tables on heads and tackles people through walls.
Wild Cards has Curveball, a softball enthusiast whose "card turned" during a high-pitched game, and ever since then, she's been able to turn any object that can be thrown in one hand into a deadly weapon. It helps that she can telekinetically direct its path. And make it explode.
At one point in the 1632 series, a high school is attacked by Croat cavalry (It Makes Sense in Context). They have some proper weapons, but a number of students end up fighting swords and pistols with fastballs. They're actually reasonably successful; a projectile traveling in the vicinity of 80 miles per hour hitting you in the face at close range is hard to ignore. The only guy using baseballs (who was good enough to play pro in the 20th century, which means it's a 90+ mph fastball) decides to join the military after graduation, so he never has to face THAT kind of situation without a proper weapon. In a later book, he does hit a guy in the face with an apple then beat the crap out of him with a table leg "I never much liked the designated hitter rule".
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire: Harry uses his Quidditch skills to help him win the first task in the Triwzard Tournament. He uses his masterful flying to avoid the dragon and his flames, the Wronski Feint (a complicated technique which he had only learned a few months earlier) and seeker skill to scoop up the egg the moment the dragon moved away from it.
In Harry Turtledove's Worldwar, the Chinese Communists recruit Bobby Fiore to fight the Race due to his supernatural skill at throwing round objects (he's a baseball player). He ports his skill into throwing grenades.
In Burn Notice: The Fall of Sam Axe, despite knowing actual military tactics, when training combatants to survive on the battlefield Sam Axe teaches the tactics are heavily based on team secrets of a football team. Supposedly this helped protect him from legal charges.
Don't forget Carlos, who is a great, yet clumsy, soccer player.
One episode of The X-Files involved an old-timey baseball team protecting a Negro League player (who is an alien) from a mounted Ku Klux Klan member (who is also an alien. It's complicated) by chucking high-speed pitches at him. It was the only time the spectacled pitcher ever threw his fastball accurately.
The second episode of Band of Brothers had 1st Lt. Lynn 'Buck' Compton, the starting catcher for the UCLA baseball team before he joined the paratroopers, hit a German soldier with a grenade with such accuracy and strength that it exploded as soon as it hit him.
Angel doubts that Cordelia's claim that her cheerleading experience allows her to remember the swordfighting moves he's teaching her. She does a "cheerleading routine" with her sword and ends up about an inch away from him, holding the sword to his throat; whereupon Angel laughs nervously and says "Go Team!"
In the first episode of Kamen Rider Fourze, Gentarou pisses off his school's football team, so they drag him outside and give him the once-over... by using him as a tackling dummy.
Wrestling promotions had their share of sport-themed wrestlers such as The Goon (ice hockey), Hole-in-One Barry Darsow (golf) and others who sometimes used their sport equipment for cheating.
Might as well toss the mention of "Knuckleball" Schwartz, a baseball parody and more recently, Montel Vontavious Porter, although he's playing it totally straight, and it's not really mentioned what sport he excelled in before joining up with the federation. It's still worth mentioning if only because of the "Ballin' Elbow Drop"
The most recent "two-sport superstar" in WWE is Antonio Cesaro, who is described as having been a rugby player before coming to wrestling.
A sorta kinda example in John Morrison, who incorporates Capoeira into his moveset, which is as much a dance technique as a martial art.
Also they're bringing up that he is a practioner of Le Parkour.
Wrestler Goldberg, once an NFL football player, used as his 'finishing move' a modified tackle referred to as 'The Spear.'
Which is an actual illegal tackle in football. And yes, it does hurt.
More generally, many wrestlers with football backgrounds (either college or pro) use modified tackles as moves, sometimes starting from a Three Point Stance.
AWA once celebrated the upcoming Super Bowl by pitting two former football players against each other in a special rules match that revolved around scoring points.
CHIKARA features the Throwbacks, a tag team of athletes from bygone eras. Dasher Hatfield (1910s baseball), Sugar Dunkerton (1970s basketball), and Mr. Touchdown (1980s football) all make heavy use of moves inspired by their sport of choice; one of Hatfield's favorites is "Running the Bases", where he suspends an opponent upside down against a corner post using the ropes, mimes hitting a pitch, runs around the ring tagging the other corner posts, then slides into "home plate" — his opponent's head.
The one of the 18 skills in Unisystem Lite is 'sports', every example of its use is given in the rulebook is one of these.
The iconic sentai team in RandomAnime has this trope as their theme.
The Golden Boys mercenary squad in Battletech is somewhat related to this trope; they used to be an actual basketball team, are commanded by their old coach, employ masseurs and physical therapists to ensure they're always ready for "game-time", and keep their morale high with a group of cheerleaders.
Rifts Australia features the Sportsman O.C.C., a talented athlete in a sport of your choice who adapts the skills from his chosen profession into combat maneuvers. Note that, being Rifts, many familiar sports are barely not gladiatorial combat.
The setting has a number of unique sports, like deadball, which is similar to handball but with a heavy metal ball that randomly protrudes sharp spikes. Juicers, the primary players of deadball, can take "Deadball" as a weapon skill. Juicers play a lot of Blood Sports, so skills from any Juicer sport often translate very well to combat.
The Scout from Team Fortress 2 is baseball-themed — he can run especially fast, use a bat as a weapon, become invulnerable from an energy drink, and even stun enemies with baseballs. Many of his taunts and all of his achievement titles are references to baseball, and he wears a baseball cap, hand wraps, and long socks tucked into rolled pants (which is characteristic of old-fashioned baseball uniforms). "Yo, I oughta be on a baseball card!"
Promotional items for Football Manager 2012 give him a soccer fan's scarf, change his running shoes to soccer cleats, and cause him to spawn with a soccer ball. Basically, if you don't have a baseball bat equipped as your melee weapon it completely changes the character's theme sport.
Wakka of Final Fantasy X uses his blitzball skills in battle, and all of his weapons are blitzballs. It should be noted that during a blitzball match, you will regularly see people roundhouse kicking each other, punching each other in the face, and actually knocking each other unconscious. And since the sport takes place underwater, a blitzball would have to weigh a lot to overcome water resistance.
Super Mario World features Chargin' Chuck, a variety of Koopa decked out in gridiron football gear, who attacks by rushing, lobbing baseballs (which is why he's the image of Gretzky Has the Ball) and punting footballs. They tend to appear near the curiously goalpost-shaped stage goal.
Also Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island, which even had a level full of two special kinds of Shy Guys, one who could bat thrown eggs at an angle and one who could catch them (or pick them off the ground) and then chuck them back at you. They'd also try to do the same with watermelon seeds.
The American Sports team members Lucky Glauber and Brian Battler of The King of Fighters. Half of Lucky's moves involve him lobbing a basketball at his opponents, some of which include him doing jump shots. Lucky also does a couple dunk inspired attacks. Most of Brian's attacks are inspired by Professional Wrestling, but he also has several football attacks including tackles, a chop block and a drop kick.
Also from King of Fighters (well, Fatal Fury), Terry Bogard has a move called "Power Dunk" (POUWAH DAANHK) which is a jumping mid air skill-cracking punch which is said he modified from the basketball move.
And then we have Top Fighter 2000 MK VIII, a bootleg fighting game for the Mega Drive (AKA Genesis) with Michael Jordan as a playable character. Granted, he's pretty much an Expy of Lucky Glauber but nevertheless.
The students of the very sports driven Gorin High School in Rival Schools best represent this trope. Shoma (baseball), Natsu (volleyball), Roberto (soccer), Nagare (swimming), and Momo (tennis) all have moves that heavily involve the sports they play, including stances, positions, most of their attacks and projectiles that are balls in their respective games. They all even fight in their sports wear.
Johnny Maximum from World Heroes has a heavily football inspired fighting style which includes, rushing attacks and energy footballs as projectiles. Justified in that he works officially as a quarterback, just...a very violent one. He's also based heavily on Joe Montana (note the initials).
Princess Peach has used a golf club and tennis racquet in the Super Smash Bros. series, inspired by her appearances in the Mario Golf and Mario Tennis games. When Waluigi appears as an assist trophy in Brawl, he also uses a tennis racket to reference his debut game.
There's also Ness's baseball bat (which is lifted from his game) and the other baseball bat item. Also the soccer ball.
In the upcoming fourth title, the Wii Fit Trainer knows yoga combat. All of her moves are yoga poses - struck with enough force to damage her opponents.
There are a number of 2D platform games in which the main character kicks a football as their main weapon, including Marko's Magic Football, Soccer Kid and Go Go Beckham, the latter starring a cartoon version of Real Life footballer David Beckham.
In Eternal Fighter Zero, Nayuki Minase (awake) has a fighting style characterized by intricate kicks and very fast footwork, a reference to her position as the school's track team captain in Kanon.
Elite Beat Agents had Hulk Bryman, a washed-up baseball player, defeat an evil monster using his baseball skills (with the help of cheering from the EBA). Can he kick butt? "You bet, kid!"
Shaq Fu, starring famous basketball player Shaquille O'Neal.
In Persona 3, Junpei Iori holds his sword with the wrong foot forward, meaning that he's essentially swinging it like a baseball bat. His critical hit even has him yell "HOME RUN!!". As befitting The Load, he falls over a lot doing so.
Taken to a logical conclusion in Persona 4: Arena in it's sequel, where he fights with a baseball themed moveset and mechanic of gaining homeruns.
Raiden from the Fatal Fury series is a former American football player who adapted certain moves to fit his later career choice as a wrestler. For instance, he will take a lineman's three-point stance before launching into a vicious shoulder tackle
Duck King also breakdances.
Travis Touchdown of No More Heroes mixes his apparently professional sword training with Mexican luchador wrestling moves learned by watching video tapes, as well as special attacks learned from his favorite fictional moeanime, 'Pure White Lover Bizarre Jelly'.
Subverted with Charlie MacDonald who despite being a football player (with two dozen cheerleader minions) actually fights Travis in a Humongous Mecha showdown. He has one attack where he throws a giant football at Travis and his mech's main body is shaped like a football, but the theme isn't really all that strong.
A fighting game based on 80's TV show Spitting Image has a playable fighter whose style is "adapted from the dance moves of John Travolta". The fighter? Mikhail Gorbachev.
In Urban Rivals, this is the angle behind the All Stars gang each member of whom is a fighter who uses skills from their specific sport to beat ass like a pro. While the standard hockey (Alexei), football (Randy), soccer (Striker), baseball (Lamarr), and basketball (Mikki) types are present, more esoteric examples include Bhudd, the zen martial arts master and ace bowler; Dan, ping pong expert and channeler of dark forces; and Robb, a legendary champion at darts who uses his flinging skills as a guerrilla.
One of the potential encounters in Fallout 3 is an ice-hockey themed gang named "Sudden-Death Overtime". All they really know about hockey is that it involves ice and fighting, though — the sport died a long time ago after all.
Liberty Prime is a Humongous Mecha who throws nuclear bombs like a quarterback throws a football.
In the Mega Man Battle Network games, there's Gridman.exe (football) and Bowlman.exe (bowling). Interestingly, both of them were fan submissions.
Knuckle Bash, a Beat 'em Up by Toaplan, has a boss character named Kyaputeso (which is a pun on "Captain" that's kind of hard to explain succinctly), a football player, who becomes playable after you defeat him.
Brawl Busters features as playable classes the Slugger, a baseball player who slides and wields an odd bat that shoots balls when swung, and the Blitzer, a football player who uses pump fakes (fake passes) in his combos and can perform a variation on a Ground Pound by spiking his ever-present ball.
Fighting Vipers features Picky and Charlie, whose fighting styles are centered around skateboarding and BMX, respectively. Charlie in particular has a stance where he's actually riding his bike that incorporates tailwhips, backflips, and simply running his opponent down into his moveset.
In Luigi's Mansion, one of the ghosts is Slim Bankshot, an ace pool player who uses his cue to shoot billiard balls at you.
In Samurai Warriors, Imagawa Yoshimoto fights with a sword and a Kemari ball and his attacks tend to involve a lot of ball-kicking, though the moves he does with his ball look a lot more like high-level soccer tricks than kemari.
Undercover Cops features as one of its playable characters Matt Gables, a former pro football player who can shoulder tackle, punt, and spike enemies to the ground.
Super Robot Wars NEO has the cast from Shippu Iron Leaguer, which is originally a sport anime. As the major theme of the game is about robots fighting each other, the units from it take this trope in order to fit in.
Asuka 120% Burning Fest. is a Fighting Game based around a tournament held by various clubs at a girls' high school. The fighters thus include a tennis player (Ryuko), a volleyball player (Tamaki), and a softball player (Kiyoko).
Streets of Rage 2 and 3 lets you pick a character named Skate, whom fights hoodlums using his roller-blades.
Soul Symphony: Seconds after waking up in a magical world for the first time, John is told to summon whatever he is passionate about to use as a weapon. He then kills five enemies using a basketball. He takes out the unlucky sixth using a certain dunk.
In the '80s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles animated series, Casey Jones doesn't have any sports skill to back up his attacks, although he does make some horrible sports puns. In the '03 series Casey has used hockey tactics in his fighting style.
The Mighty Ducks combat skills, weapons, gadgets and way of thinking are mostly based off hockey. Their whole planet's culture revolves around hockey.
The Sports Boyzz of The BOTS Master. They are Batzz (baseball), Bogey (golf), Ace (tennis) and All Ball (volleyball and soccer).
The Sportsmaster appears in Batman: The Brave and the Bold using, well, sports equipment. His first appearance had him trying to kill everyone at a bowling tournament, since he didn't believe that it was a real sport.
Sportsmaster also appears in Young Justice as a recurring mercenary and the Light's main enforcer, with lots of weaponised sports equipment. He's also the father of main character Artemis.
One of that show's recurring villains is Duff Killigan, a rogue golfer who uses explosive golf balls in his capers.
ProStars was a TV show featuring the crime fighting trio of Michael Jordan, Bo Jackson, and Wayne Gretzky. And yes, all of their crimefighting gadgets involved their respective sports (except, of course, Bo Jackson, who could seemingly pull out any sport he wanted due to the Bo Knows commercials).
In King Arthur & the Knights of Justice, the Aurthur King and his team would use American football plays and strategies in their battles against the Warlords. They are a high school football team, after all.
G.I. Joe character Captain Gridiron, an ex-quarterback that runs around in modified football gear and throws football-shaped grenades. The toyline also featured famous Chicago Bears Defensive End William "the Refrigerator" Perry, who had a chain with a spiked metal football at the end. It was actually a tradition for each new wave of figures to feature at least one sport-themed character, though many aren't quite so blatant as the examples already given; one of the few on the Cobra side of things are Frag-Vipers, hand grenade experts outfitted with a "manual hurling basket" based on a Jai Alai cesta
Since the Summer 2003 BIONICLE setline put such a big emphasis on action features based around their Fictional Sport of Kohlii, the makers of the movie Mask of Light decided that the big showdown at the end would consist of The Hero and the Big Bad playing a more furious and deadly version. In the end, it was a Kohlii move that struck down the villain (if only temporarily). Meanwhile, the main BIONICLE story writer thought this was a stupid and cheap way of cheating the viewers of a real fight.
An episode of Static Shock featured the Hoop Squad, a four-man team of NBA players Steve Nash, Yao Ming, Tracy Mc Grady, and Karl Malone, who all secretly had superpowers. While the powers have nothing to do with basketball, they way they utilize them definitely does.
In this video, Bob Sapp demonstrates how American Football is not a martial art.
The fight choreographer for Star Wars Episode I was said to have used elements of tennis in designing the Jedi lightsaber technique.
"Battle of the Hockey Enforcers" takes hockey, and removes all the boring "hockey" parts by just having two guys in full gear box on the ice. Whether this is an inversion or played straight is hard to figure out — fighting is a part of the game itself...
Rebels in Syria made a homebrew tank that used a Playstation controller to aim the machine guns.