"If you let me go, you can use my friend's head as a polo ball."After violence, either to emphasise how much one character glorifies in it, or to lighten the mood, one or more characters will kick around a severed head as if it were a soccer ball. Alternatively, if there's a hoop conveniently nearby they may try to throw it in like a basketball. Other options are only limited by the number of ball games requiring something close to the size of a head. Often also a side-effect of certain video game physics engines is to allow you to do this. Reality check: A human head weighs around 7 kg (or for those living in the US, 15.4 lbs., which is as heavy as a bowling ball gets); however, few shows manage to portray this realistically. Related to Off with His Head!. See also Decapitation Presentation for another fate of the severed head.
open/close all folders
Anime and Manga
- In the original Mazinger Z manmga and in Shin Mazinger, Boss, Macha and Nuke play a round of soccer with Count Brocken's head. It was played for laughs since Brocken is still alive despite this, and was not happy about it.
- Played seriously in Attack on Titan: After kicking the severed head of a titan, Hange discovers that they weigh next to nothing.
- EC Comics:
- In the story "Foul Play", an evil baseball player is murdered by the members of the opposing team. After killing him, they play a game where they use his head for as the ball, his leg as the bat, his intestines to mark the base liner and his organs to mark the bases. They even use his scalp to dust off home plate.
- In another story, this happens with a bigamist who is found out by his golf and bowling-playing wives.
- Hostel Part II ends with a group of juvenile delinquents playing soccer with the head of the woman that betrayed the protagonist and her friends to an organization of serial killers.
- Night of the Demons 2 has a scene where a character runs into a possessed guy playing basketball with his own severed head.
- In The Man Who Would Be King, people in Kaffiristan are shown playing polo with the head in a bag of a chieftain who was deposed. Part of the reason the narrator takes his friend's severed head with him, is so that he avoids this dishonor.
- Although the heads aren't severed, Labyrinth has the fire-starters who remove their heads and use them to play something akin to volleyball. While singing. Naturally, this concerns the protagonist. She gets even more concerned when they try to remove her head.
- A deleted scene from Full Metal Jacket showed soldiers playing soccer with a severed head.
- The cover of the "Balls Out Bootleg Edition◊" of Gutterballs shows a head being used a bowling ball. This doesn't occur in the actual film, which instead has the victim's head get shot out of a ball return.
- Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey plays this for laughs, with Evil Robot Bill using Evil Robot Ted's detachable head to play basketball.
- In Men in Black 3, Jay and young Kay are questioning an alien who runs a bowling alley. They wind up using his head as a bowling ball to get him to answer their questions (don't worry, he's fine afterward, just annoyed).
- Rutger Hauer vehicle The Blood Of Heroes features a game of what is essentially Medieval (American) football, but with the severed head of a dog used as the ball, which can only be touched by a player designated as the "quick." This in turn inspired the common LARP game of Daneball (with some enterprising groups actually making fake skulls rather than just using a conventional ball for the dog skull).
- In Unseen Academicals there is a rule explicitly stating that any object that has been kicked by at least three players in a row during an official football match is to be considered the ball. Guess which kind of object triggered the creation of this rule... (Although Dr. Hix, who'd be qualified to talk about this sort of thing, does discuss the fact that human heads would be very impractical to play football with, as they're heavy and, of course, nobody wants to be bitten in the foot.)
- Earlier, in Soul Music, Jade says the troll sport of aargrooha is played by kicking a human head with obsidian boots until one side scores a goal or the head bursts. In modern, civilised times, this game is not played (because no-one remembers how to make the boots).
- Implied in Jingo, when 71-Hour Ahmed compares football to a Klatchistani game (probably polo) in which the aim is to get the "object" into the goal. When Vimes questions the noun, he's told it's best to think of it as "an object".
- A club of Harry Potter ghosts known as the Headless Hunt enjoy such sports as Head Polo.
- According to J. R. R. Tolkien, the game of golf got its name from Goblin commander Golfimbul, who got clubbed by Hobbit Bandobras "Bullroarer" Took. The blow was so severe that Golfimbul was decapitated and his head flew into a rabbit hole. The game of golf was invented.
- Grunts! has Orcball, a game played by victorious orcs after a battle using the heads of their enemies. And if there's a shortage of heads, they can always volunteer an orc for the role.
Live Action TV
- Drop the Dead Donkey: After Damien finally convinces Helen that there is a lighter side to his nature, it emerges that he has done so while editing footage of some soldiers playing football with a man's head.
- Vyvian from The Young Ones does this with his own severed head after it talks back to his body.
- One episode of Big Wolf on Campus had Tommy, Merton, and Lori play "Keep Away" with the head of a crazed robotic school counselor (It Makes Sense in Context).
- In Rules of Engagement, Jeff and Adam play hockey with a mannequin head.
- Angel. In "Shiny Happy People" a vampire is holding up a head in an apparent Decapitation Presentation, only to throw the head down a bowling alley.
- John Lequizamo's short-lived House of Buggin has a skit about a soccer team using severed heads instead of balls, grossing out their rival team. They have a witch doctor who's job is to find perfect heads, and the unfortunate news reporter commentating the sport happens to have the right-sized head...
- Song "Älä Astu Kauppiaan Päälle" (Don't Step on the Shopkeeper(s Head) on Finnish band YUP's 1994 album Toppatakkeja Ja Toledon Terasta is about severed head bouncing around the town. It once gets kicked by a soccer star.
- The cover of the Genesis album Nursery Cryme features a girl playing croquet with severed heads instead of balls. This doubles as a reference to "The Musical Box", the album's opening track; the story for that song (as featured in the liner notes) opens with a girl knocking a boy's head off during a game of croquet.
- In Calvin and Hobbes, Calvin builds a snowman that plays ten-pin bowling with another snowman's head.
- Played for laughs in a The Far Side cartoon about the invention of headhunting — cavemen are gathered on a volleyball court, and one of them notes that no one brought a ball, and one of the bystanders has a round, bulbous head...
- One of Larson's childhood cartoons was published which depicted a group of stick men playing volleyball. One the the stick men is holding the severed head of a nearby teammate whilst screaming "Aaaaaa! This isn't the ball!"
- Invoked in the Game of Thrones table with the Sword of Multiball; pinballs are queued up beneath the sword, and each time it drops a ball rolls into action.
- Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines: An easter egg is to be found by picking up the severed head of a serial killer's victim and throwing it through a nearby basketball hoop.
- At the end of Banjo-Tooie, Banjo and Kazooie, along with Mumbo, Humba, and Jamjars, go back to the scene of the final battle, and play with Grunty's skeletal head (which has been detached from her body) like it was a ball. See for yourself.
- Blood lets you kick zombie heads until they explode harmlessly into droplets of gore. That, combined with Caleb having quite a kicking foot, was one of the game's big selling points. The carnival level even included a minigame where you could win a power-up by managing to kick three heads into a specific place. The sequel tried it, even adding a separate head model for each gibbed humanoid enemy, but the lack of flair to it (like long trajectory arcs, a large blood trail and sound effects, all of which were present in the first game) didn't make it very noticeable. There's even a deathmatch map dedicated to head football.
- The lesser-known game Hyperblade featured this as one of its selling points: the main game was a sport that was some kind of mix of hockey, jai-alai and half-pipe trick skating, using a magnetic "rok" for a puck. Of course, if one or another player ended up decapitated, their head immediately became the rok, including passing and scoring with it. And yes even by the deceased's teammates.
- The Windows 3.1 era puzzler Amazon Skulls, which used severed heads as playing pieces. According to the (almost certainly apocryphal and definitely totally irrelevant) backstory, the loser had to donate their own head to the collection.
- Several Castlevania games have a skeleton enemy named Soccer Boy that forever kicks its own head while trying to pick it up. If you destroy the head, the poor guy panics and begins fumbling around. The western localizations made an amusing Shakespeare reference by changing its name to "Yorick".
- Action League Now:
- Towards the end of the episode, "Roughing the Passer", The Mayor tries to sabotage the NFL's football game by sawing the chains off the billiard lampshade above it. However, a coin toss from The Flesh knocks him off the lampshade and causes the saw to slice his head off. The football players mistake his head for a loose football and tackle it.
- At the end of the episode, "What's Eating the Flesh", a body-eating virus consumes the Action League's bodies. Bill cures the league, and The Chief still needs a golf ball for his tournament, as he lost the ones he hit earlier. At the tournament, he uses The Flesh's head as a golf ball and gets a perfect "head-in-one".
- In The Nightmare Before Christmas, the vampires are seen playing hockey with a jack-o-lantern. This was bowdlerized from the original, deleted version, in which they used the decapitated head of Tim Burton.
- "There's children throwing snowballs instead of throwing heads."
- The end of a Simpsons episode which was spoofing MMORPGs shows Marge's player character playing with the head of Moe's.
- Also happens on one of the "Treehouse of Terror" episodes, again with Moe as the victim of a Mayan sacrifice. His head rolls down the stairs and is used by kids as a soccer ball.
- Yet another "Treehouse of Horror" had the zombified bullies use Zombie!Principal Skinner's head like a hacky sack.
- A deleted scene in "Treehouse of Horror IV" (which was eventually shown in "The Simpsons 138th Episode Spectacular") featured demons using Homer's head as a bowling ball when he spent the day in hell (which then cracked open against the pins and a note came out reading "I.O.U. one brain, signed God").
- Several Mesoamerican cultures played a game of sport similar to soccer using human skulls as the ball.
- Similarly, according to some accounts, in the ancient Chinese game called tsuchu (one of the documented ancestors of soccer), decapitated enemy soldier heads sometimes were used for balls.
- The Romans had Equus October, a festival of the god Mars, in which the right hand horse of the winning Chariot Race team was sacrificed and the inhabitants of two competing neighborhoods would fight over possession of the severed horse head.
- The head of Kitbuqa Khan, the commander of Mongol forces, ended up as the ball for an impromptu polo game for the victorious Mamluks after the battle of 'Ayin Jalyut, 1260.
- This allegation has been made against ISIS insurgents in the Middle East, who are known to behead people whose commitment to Islam is not sufficiently enthusiastic. Videos are out there showing other forms of disrespect for the recently decapitated, if you have the stomach for them.
- As noted under Film above, a common LARP game is a variation of American football called Daneball, inspired by the Rutger Hauer film The Blood Of Heroes. Although (hopefully) no actual decapitation is involved, the ball is still traditionally referred to as the "dog skull" in tribute to the film. Some enterprising groups even make fake skulls (using foam, rubber, etc.) for this purpose, rather than use a more conventional ball.