“Serious sport has nothing to do with fair play. It is bound up with hatred, jealousy, boastfulness, disregard of all rules and sadistic pleasure in witnessing violence. In other words, it is war minus the shooting.”
― George Orwell, The Collected Essays, Journalism and Letters of George Orwell 1903-1950
Oblique Strategy: Turn it upside down
Again, I was exploring the depths of my hard drive archives. I found this entry from October 16, 2002. It concerns my youngest son, Lee, who was nine years old.
Lee called me at work – he was home from school and a friend, G. was at our house. He wanted to know how to type on my computer. I gave him quick instructions on how to start up Word, how to save his work, and how to print it out when he was done. It turns out he and G. have an idea for a new sport, which they call Foondball, and they wanted to type out a list of rules.
When I came home I found my desk littered with sheets of notebook paper covered with crude drawings of athletic fields and different dimensions, markings, and goal layouts.
On the screen was their rules for Foondball:
- The game can only be played with 6 to 12 players.
- You may use your hands to throw the ball and your feet to kick the ball and the goalie may use a hockey stick to block shots taken by the strikers.
- The goals are at opposite ends of the playing field the field is 75 yards in length and is about 25 to 30 yards in width
- The winner of the most rounds wins the match there are three rounds lasting 20 minutes and 5 minutes of rest between rounds
- In the case of a tie the winner will be decided by a 10 minute overtime if no winner is decided then it is a draw
- The goals are about- 6 to 7 feet high and 10 to 11 feet wide
- The game begins with the thrower throwing the ball and the whacker hitting the ball the seekers catch the ball if the seeker on the whackers team catches the ball he may keep running to the goal if the seeker on the throwers side catches the ball he may run it back and try to score
- Each goal is worth two points
- If there is a foul the ball goes to the place where the foul was committed and thrown from there.
- If a foul is committed within ten yards of the goal the person whom the foul was committed against gets to take a free shot he can throw the ball into the goal or he can kick the ball into the goal
- If one team wins the first two rounds of the game then they automatically win the game
- At no time during the game is play ever supposed to stop unless a foul is committed
- There is a ten minute half time in between the 2nd and 3rd round
- If a person scores on a foul then the goal only counts as one point
- After a goal the team that scores is to throw the ball and play resumes
- Helmets are to be worn
- For each team – 1 goalie, 2 whackers, 1 seeker 2 throwers
- The goalie may never come out of his 10 foot box
- If a player is on concrete he may dribble the with his hands
- The player may throw or kick the ball to one of his fellow teammates
Someday, maybe, kids will dream of glory on the foondball field, and trade photos, cards, and stories of who their favorite whackers, throwers, and seekers are.