Christmas will be here in a few days, and as a child of the 1970s and 1980s, I get nostalgic for the awesome sports toys that Santa left under the tree during my adolescence. Here are my three favorites:
Head-to-Head Football: If you didn’t get this game under your tree in the late 1970s and early 1980s, you’d be the only one in school without one. At least that’s what I told the Santa who used to work at the Kaufmann’s department store in Rochester, Pa. I specifically asked my mom to take me there because I thought he had better connections than the Santa at the Hills near our house.
Anyway, this game was little more than a series of bleeps and bloops, but I loved the two sets of controls that allowed you to play, well, head-to-head. This was also the first of many video games that my little brother would rip out of my hands and hit me with when he lost.
Super Toe: God bless the lack of safety inspections back in those days. The Super Jock toys were basically catapults that hurled hard plastic projectiles. Super Toe was the football version, and the manufacturer had them for several sports, including a basketball player called Super Touch, which was kind of a creepy name. My older brother and I would see how far we could get that hunk of death to fly. One day while kicking what I considered to be a 45-yard field goal (measured to scale, of course), that son-of-a-bitch Super Toe planted the ball right through the glass in the front storm door. We tried to make it look like the paper boy did it, but alas, we were idiots incapable of even the simplest frame job.
Hot Wheels Scorcher Chamber: I know I don’t seem like a motorsports guy, but Hot Wheels were so great. The Scorcher Chamber had a launcher and a big plastic bowl that looked sort of like an open-ended water-cooler bottle. The best part was trying to get the cars to fly out the top and hit the cat. Also, in fourth grade, I used the bowl as a space helmet when I portrayed Neil Armstrong for a report on Great Ohioans.