#6 — The Heads-Up Dribble Goggles
Great basketball players dribble without ever looking at the ball. Want your five-year-old to become the next Iverson? Get him a pair of the Heads Up Dribble Goggles. Like blinders on a horse, the goggles block the lower part of a player's field of vision, forcing them to dribble on feel rather than their peripheral vision. It's the next best thing to permanently blinding your children to raise their on-court awareness! And if he doesn't become the next Iverson, your kid might at least become the next Kurt Rambis.
#7 — Vibrating Belt Machine
Okay, sweating off fat is obviously an absurd notion, but how can you go wrong with jiggling the pounds away? Could every old-timey exercise montage ever produced have been lying to us? What next, are you going to tell us that wearing a leopard-print singlet and lifting pyramid weights isn't the best weight to become an authentic strongman? But we already bought all this mustache wax!
Yep, it turns out that standing and vibrating isn't actually the quickest way to a ripped midsection and athletic glory. Really want to improve your sports performance? Stick to more effective old-time techniques like medicine balls, leather helmets, and adamantly refusing to ever play against minorities. Look how well the vibrating belt has worked for this guy:
#8 — FoxTrax
You probably know this one better as the techno puck. In 1996 Fox decided that the real reason Americans didn't watch the NHL wasn't that they didn't like hockey. Oh, no. America's real beef with hockey was that our collective vision was too bad to follow the puck. By integrating an infrared transmitter in the techno puck, though, Fox could make the puck easier to follow by giving it a little blue halo or a red tail when it was shot.
As it turned out, the real problem was that many Americans just didn't like hockey. Hockey purists hated the gimmicky puck, while players complained that it didn't have the same feel. The puck died just two years after its debut. Too bad Fox missed the most obvious way to really improve the fan's mid-90s hockey viewing experience: blowing up the New Jersey Devils' team plane.
#9 — The Spira WaveSpring
Shoes with springs on the soles: they're not just for Wile E. Coyote anymore! Spira's WaveSpring shoes have actual springs embedded in the soles to help aid in energy transfer and reduce muscle fatigue. Really? Shoes with springs in them? Sure, it might work, but if we're going make our kicks bouncier, we'll just slather some Flubber on the soles and call it a day.
Spira's website claims that the WaveSpring "may be the most significant advancement ever achieved in the footwear industry." That's a pretty big boast considering the footwear industry has already given us both the Reebok Pump AND those Roos with the little zippered pocket on the side. You can keep your steroids in there!
#10 — The Ball Rabbit
Eccentric former Athletics owner Charlie O. Finley was always looking for new ways to improve the game of baseball, which would have been commendable if his ideas hadn't usually been so terrible.
In 1973 he tried using an "alert orange" baseball in an exhibition game to improve visibility — turns out hitters couldn't pick up pitches' rotation with an orange ball and games with no scoring don't really pack in the fans. But his coup de grace was the ball rabbit.
Finley felt that the time-tested system of having a batboy run new balls out to the home plate umpire was archaic. To improve the general state of the game, he installed a mechanical rabbit next to home plate.
When an ump ran out of balls, he'd tap his foot and the rabbit would rise up from the dirt with a basket of new ones. So silly. Everyone knows the only dignified way to deliver new balls is via trained kangaroo who delivers them in her pouch between batters.