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SPORTS OBSCURE magazine APRIL 2010

Is Dodgeball Sexist, or Just Strategy?

road Warriors the Subculture of Bike Polo

Still Silly

After All These Years A Kickball Perspective

www.obscuresportsmag.com


“Retire from kickball? Yes, it does happen...�

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[ Contents ]

APRIL 2010

p.8

www.obscuresportsmag.com

[ Cover Story ] Stand Behind Your Man Michael Votto dives into the hot-button issue of sexism and the classic game of dodgeball. Participants and scholars weigh-in on whether women are regulated to the margins in the name of teamwork, or if there is an underlying current of sexism in this lighthearted sport.

[ Features ]

Road Warriors: the Subculture of Bike Polo

Paul O’Mara goes underground into the world of a new urban phenomenon. p.12

Still Silly After All These Years

Nostalgia runs deep as Kris Szatmary fondly recalls the joys of kickball - from friendships, to the field, to bar close. p. 20

Are You Ready For Some Kickball? Andrea Spiegelberg gets you prepared for the season with some helpful insight. p.22

[ Quick Hits ]

p.6 - Upon Further Review Our favorite obscure sports clips

[ Columns ]

p.4 - By the Glass A note from our creator

p.18 - The “O” List

Five best forgotten playground games

p.7 - Do’s & Don’ts

p.24 - Master Debaters

p.19 - Photo Tag

p.25 - Virgin Territory

What every sports-loving fashionista needs to know Think you’re witty? Win an OSM tee!

p.28 - 1/2 Page Mojo Kickball™

Baggo vs. Cornhole

Jami takes on Beer Olympics

p.29 - Final Word Familiar

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by the glass At some point, you must have asked yourself “why?” Why do I play this obscure/

playground/odd sport? And more importantly, why do you love it? You must have posed that question to yourself before donning a team shirt and taking to the field, court or wherever your sport leads you. Every one of us has different reasons, but we all took the chance and, by looking at the numbers and variety of unusual sports out there, not many have regretted their decision. Well, we asked ourselves “why not write about it?” We’re no different than you: the hundreds of thousands of people playing these sports we plan to cover each month. We have taken an interactive approach with Obscure Sports Magazine, letting you the reader have a say in what you would like to see. If you have story ideas, pictures, or comments, we would love to hear from you. You can find our email addresses littered throughout the magazine, so feel free to let us know what you think. Or better yet, head to our message board and join in discussing obscure sports, the magazine, and There is a wonderful everything in-between. Each month world of obscure sports we’ll also host a caption and photo contest, where you can win some free out there; we aim to stuff.

bring it into focus.

When once a month isn’t enough, we also have Obscure Sports Blog, which is a contributor-led daily fix for all you obscure sports junkies. Pop over to get exclusive previews of upcoming articles and read what our writers have to say about whatever they please. You can also stay informed through our Twitter feed and Facebook page, so follow us and become a fan! There is a wonderful world of obscure sports out there; we aim to bring it into focus. We hope you enjoy our impressions of it.

Daniel B. Glass Creative Director Obscure Sports Magazine 4


Question of the Month - What is the most obscure food you’ve ever eaten?

SPORTS OBSCURE magazine

Daniel B. Glass Creative Director “Rocky Mountain Oysters” dan@obscuresportsmag.com

Andy Buteyn Drawing Guy “High School cafeteria food” andy@obscuresportsmag.com

Jodi Neitzel Marketing/Contributor “Octopus, prepared the wrong way”

jodi@obscuresportsmag.com

Andrea Spiegelberg Editor/Contributor “Cafeteria Sushi, yikes”

Paul O’Mara Contributor “Hakarl - fermented (rotten) shark meat”

andrea@obscuresportsmag.com

Kristine Szatmary Contributor “Fried pickles & green chile beer”

Jami Topolovich Photographer/Contributor “Mako shark as a kid & chocolate covered bacon”

Michael Votto Contributor “Pork brains in a can ... not gonna lie, kinda liked’em”

Jake Wallendal Contributor “I don’t eat weird foods”

kris@obscuresportsmag.com

jami@obscuresportsmag.com

mvotto@obscuresportsmag.com

Contact Us... Obscure Sports Magazine 4918 West Vliet St Milwaukee, WI 53208 414-454-0447 info@obscuresportsmag.com check out our BLOG or our MESSAGE BOARD!

Additional Photos: Michael S. Glass Dane Haman

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. w e i v e R r e h t r u F n o Up 1. MALL KICKBALL Short and sweet! A couple of knuckleheads decide to make the game of kickball a bit more interesting... 2. DODGEBALL KID Any time someone wipes out it’s pretty damn funny. Keep an eye on the kid to the left - and lift off!!

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3. JARTS CALL-IN Animated cartoon made from a call-in to a radio show. Nothing good ever comes from Jarts. 4. BEER-PONG COMMERCIAL Definitely gets marks for creativity. Well-shot and edited and if you didn’t know any better, could be a real commercial. 5. TETHERBALL FACIAL We all know it’s coming, yet this doesn’t stop us from laughing. Nut shots and people getting a ball to the face ... always classic!!

Click Channel Number!

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3 Got a funny clip? We want to see it! Send us the link at ufr@obscuresportsmag.com

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Do’s & Don’ts

No wrong answers here... just doing our part to help the helpless figure it out.

Warm-Weather Alert!

With spring just around the corner and the first UNSEASONABLY warm day drawing near, fashion disasters will be in full swing. Take this svelte fella for example.

Wearing huge sombreros or Turd Ferguson foam-cowboy hats are ok in certain circles, but water-fowl hats are a huge no-no. Pink isn’t his color. Let’s skip right past if it’s a good idea for men to wear shell bras. Those who know better … never would. Those who this message is intended for won’t listen anyway. My only recommendation would be: either wear shells that don’t blend in with your pasty skin, or get a freakin’ tan. Powder over there just looks like a fat freak without nipples. Please make a choice when busting out the shorts. Over the gut, like George Foreman stepping into the ring, or below and let that flab show in all its glory. This “I’ll hide my waistline to conceal my overweight physique” crap just doesn’t work. Everybody already thinks you look like 280 pounds of chewed gum. Best bet is - just keep your shirt on! Send us your pictures to dodont@obscuresportsmag.com and win a t-shirt if we use yours.

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Is dodgeball sexist, or just strategy? by Michael Votto

"I got you, I got you!" Few sentences in the English language are as comforting and full of trust, but somehow on this night, it rang hollow and unnecessary. The exclamation of hope and camaraderie reverberated against the aged hardwood floors, rising to deaf ears before getting lost somewhere near the lone women’s volleyball banner that hung from the ceiling. Her worried eyes darted from left to right, so his shout didn’t appear to quell her fears. Out of breath, her face bathed in an exhausted crimson, the realization of defeat slowly enveloped her tired body. Her squad, now down to a duo, was seemingly out of time. Her fellow combatant, slightly overweight but with sharp reflexes, was to either be the man of the hour or a colossal failure. His hair sweaty and disheveled, untucked shirt bouncing wildly as he juked shot after shot - this was the look of a true hero, or more accurately, a panicked man. The woman behind him mirrored every step, but was always one movement divided from her chivalrous lead and he was but a human. With two simultaneous shots speeding toward his lower body, our savior could only manage to elude one of them while the other ball caught him in the upper thigh. He was out, and as he quickly joined his fallen teammates on the side of the court, you could swear by their faces that they had already lost the match. Dejected and already limbering up for the next series, their remaining comrade was nothing more than a patsy - another one for the fire. The males bark orders from the sidelines, which in their heads reason to be sound suggestions, but from the outside, it is a lot like an overzealous Little-League dad. At this point in the game - five against one - dodgeball is in its simplest form. There is only so much vocally-contributed strategy the bench can do for someone who is just trying not to get hit by a playground ball. In an act of desperation, the woman tries to make a play on a low thrown missile. There was no way this was going to be a catch, as it exploded against her stumbling chest, coming to its final resting place on the floor. It was a long-time coming, but they had finally lost. The sitting duck apologizes to her team, drained from the game and happy that it’s over. This is dodgeball. A man’s sport. But there is a three girl minimum. 8


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Sports have always been divided, if not entirely exclusive to men. The world has separate competitions for the sexes, from high school, to the Olympics. Routinely, it’s to even the field and enhance the thrill of the game. No one would expect a Greco-Roman wrestling match to be fair, let alone enjoyable to watch, if it were coed. Sometimes the idea of separate but equal can be an advantage for both the competitor and the spectator, but perhaps only amongst classic and popular sports. When it comes to playground games, like dodgeball or kickball, especially when played within adult recreation leagues, the simplicity of sex-specific games is non-existent. So where does that leave a coed playground-sport league? You get a male-dominated arena, and there is no debate about that. In two separate matches, the ratio of men to women straddled about three to one. Beyond just simple numbers, the face of the organization is male and the feeling on the court is that men run this game. Double teams of men hurling spheres in unison, women retrieving balls and divvying them amongst their male teammates - on the surface, it appears to even the newest spectator to be all about men, all the time. Despite all that, the game has been geared by organizers to be accessible to women, and at the same time, limiting towards men. In many leagues, it’s customary to use two different-sized rubber balls; larger ones for men and smaller balls for women. On the face of this rule, it appears that league commissioners are trying to level the playing field, but to others, it is just another example of benevolent sexism. “Sexism is a widespread social problem, so it’s only to be expected that it would appear in dodgeball,” says Dr. Donna Lisker, Associate Dean of Undergraduate Education at Duke University and also teaches seminars on gender and sports. “Organizers and teams can’t control [sexism], what they can control is their response,” she continues, echoing a sentiment that others in her field of study share. “It is a situation beyond the true control of leagues, but that doesn’t mean commissioners should play into the conventions of society.” 10

The loosely organized nature of adult, recreational, obscure-sport leagues does not typically lend itself to being well-governed advocates of equality. Asking leaders to hold themselves accountable for something like, out-of-control sexism in dodgeball games isn’t akin to enforcing the center-line rule. That being said, it doesn’t mean rule changes and adjustment to structure can’t help bring some parity to dodgeball games. Some familiar with dodgeball have suggested that leagues be more uniform in structure, going so far as proposing a national governing body. But before groups can come together, some organization with a two-ball system built to assist females, need to reassess whether or not a one-ball system will illustrate a tone of parity along gender. “It doesn’t make a great deal of sense to me that there are different-sized balls in the same game.” Dr. Lisker concludes, “It reinforces the notion that women are weak and need special accommodations.” This idea that women are somehow less athletic and require special rules to compete with men is a common misconception, from high school sports, all the way up to the pros. Eileen McDonagh and Laura Pappano combat this falsehood in Playing With the Boys: Why Separate is Not Equal in Sports, outlining that sometimes being “fair” is just a convenient excuse for perpetuating stereotypes. While league organizers take a lot of flack from experts and female players alike, they are simply providing a set of rules and venue, so teams can relive their playground glory. Team structure has as much to do with rampant sexism as the organizers gearing their rules towards it. “[Leagues] should not condone or encourage teams that limit the role of women players, and they should have a process for dealing with teams and players who are mistreating women, or men for that matter,” Dr. Lisker outlines. Teams have the choice to include women in all aspects of the game, or to reduce them to moving targets that need constant protection by men. Going to dodgeball games, you see a little bit of both as a spectator.


Some squads embrace the core ideals of dodgeball - a game that is best played when it is just people throwing balls at other people.

seemed to last for an eternity. She brushes her brow and readies her body. The firing squad begins their final run.

So, to the player, is dodgeball sexist?

The first shot is lobbed by the more athletic of the two, but it just barely misses our heroine. Almost immediately, right on top of the release, the second shot is launched. This one is on target, blistering towards her chest. Her arms can’t get around it and the ball hits with a twang, but deflects towards the ceiling. She regains her composure in an instance and lunges towards the now falling ball. She lays out for it, limbs extended and eyes fixed. Her hands grip it tightly as she hits the ground. The gymnasium erupts in jubilation as her entire team pours out onto the floor to continue the fight. Without hesitation and washing the enthused room away, she jumps back up and lines up at the backline. Just as she reaches her teammates, time is called and the game is won.

“Absolutely,” says a New York female dodgeball player, wishing to remain anonymous. “I’ve played [dodgeball] in two different states, and the feeling of exclusion crosses borders,” she continued. She highlights that even outside of the gym; the rampant segregation is still prevalent. “Women always seem to be afterthoughts to teams, like, ‘we got a bunch of guys, now what girls can we get?’. Even if they don’t mean it, they are being very sexist,” she added. Luckily for her, her team-equality issues were solved with the formation of a girl-heavy team that reversed the trend of the male-centric dodgeball team. She readily admits that they win fewer games with this structure, but all participants are excited and happy to be a part of a team that celebrates the joy of the game. They enjoy the thrill of being a little younger at heart.

Last battle of the night. Most have left, but one squad rests their weary bodies against the bleachers, their eyes fixated on the drama set forth. On the ropes, she doesn’t even glance to the bench. Her head and heart are in the game entirely. Bouncing from left to right, nimble and anticipating a barrage. Her adversaries stand twenty feet away, palming their ammo in their sweaty paws. The fear had fallen with her last teammate, and all that was left was the foolish bravery of a woman scorned. The enemies convene to discuss their final attack in hushed tones. She relaxes for a second, lets out a This is dodgeball. sigh from deep within her lungs. There wasn’t much time left on the hidden clock, but this intermission

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“Riding bikes has become cool again in many cities, and it isn’t just the messengers anymore...�


Road Warriors the subculture of bike polo

by Paul O’Mara photos: Dane Haman

Some see an underused tennis court or parking lot and don’t think of anything of it. Others wonder why people aren’t riding bikes on it while whacking around a street hockey ball. It takes a special type of person to picture the latter, right? Maybe not so much... “The variety of people amazes me,” says Jake Newborn of Milwaukee Bike Polo. “Personalities vary, jobs vary, ages vary, ethnicities vary. The commonality is having fun on a bike and being around others who also enjoy the game.” That certainly seems to be case. The eye-popping list of bike polo clubs worldwide maintained by the League of Bike Polo, the de facto international organizing body, shows 187 clubs registered across 27 countries worldwide, with 96 of those in the U.S. scattered among 22 states. (Next closest country is Canada with 15.) But don’t quote these exact numbers to your friends, because they might not even be correct anymore: there are new clubs registering weekly. The season runs from April to November, with most cities typically having two games per week. There are tournaments all over the place during that time, and regional and national championships also scheduled. Last year, the Midwest championships went down in Dayton, OH and nationals in Seattle, WA. Those who wanna get even farther away can swing their mallets at international competitions everywhere; from Europe, to South Korea, to South America, to Australia. 13


How to Play The rules can vary slightly city-to-city, but are more similar than different. Two, three-person teams play on tennis courts, playgrounds and parking lots/garages. Though not a requirement, players typically ride fixed-gear bikes, like those that bike messengers use. Street hockey balls are used, and the mallets must resemble a croquet mallet; with a wide side and a round end. Modified ski poles and plastic pipe are the most common materials.

inadvertently rolls into the goal, is knocked by a bike wheel into the goal, and so on. After a goal is scored, the team who scored returns to their half of the court. The team who was scored on takes possession of the ball. The score is called out after each goal. Most games are played to 5 points, but some to 3 points. In tournaments, there is often a 10-15 minute timelimit to games, with the team having the most points at the end of that time declared the winner.

The goals are typically a pair of orange cones spaced You’d think a game played on bikes while wearing one bike-length apart at each end of the field of helmets and swinging mallets would be rough

play. To start a game, each team goes behind its own goal line and the ball is placed at center court. The game begins when someone on the sideline yells out; “3, 2, 1, Go!” Players may not play the ball with their feet at any time, and players’ feet cannot touch the ground. If a foot does touch the ground, the player has to ride to the sideline and touch a cone or sometimes a bell with his/her mallet before they can return. In some leagues, the player instead has to ride in a circle before being allowed to continue playing. The only valid goals are when the ball is hit by a player’s mallet and goes between the two cones. In other words, it doesn’t count if the ball 14

... and you’d be right! Though not always rough, it can be. What’s called “like contact” is allowed, meaning body-to-body, mallet-to-mallet, and biketo-bike. Non-like contact, such as mallet-to-body, is verboten. Obviously, the roughness can vary greatly from league-to-league. As if it needs to even be said, trash talking is allowed.

Who Plays, Some History, and the Cost Though the makeup of bike polo players varies, the primary proponents/organizers and players (at least in the U.S.) are bike messengers, bike-shop employees, and assorted cycling enthusiasts. But if what you’ve read so far made you think this sounds


like just a recent urban phenomenon, think again: bike polo dates to the 1800s!

it’s likely your town already has one. Check the League of Bike Polo website to see.

There are competing stories about its exact origin, but the most-told tale begins with the British government sending a bunch of bikes to a ruler in India, who then gave them to his stable boys. The stable boys had always wanted to play polo but weren’t allowed to use the ruler’s horses and couldn’t afford animals of their own. So they shortened the mallets and started playing polo on bikes. British soldiers stationed in India then supposedly took the game back to the United Kingdom. The game was a simultaneous importexport.

The cost of playing gets slightly more expensive if you go to tournaments because of registration fees, gas or plane tickets, and possibly car rental. But, not as much as one would expect. Reason being, that the registration fee includes; not only your entrance into the tournament, but also food, beer, a local player’s house to crash at, and sometimes a t-shirt.

It became so popular in the UK that it was played as a demonstration sport at the 1908 Olympics in London. Yes, believe it or not, bike polo was played at the Olympics. Obviously, it was not adopted as an official sport, which certainly stunted its popularity worldwide thereafter.

Do It

But there have been bits and spurts of popularity through the decades since, and right now it’s enjoying perhaps its greatest explosion in popularity ever. Why?

Still not a good enough deal for you? Well, local businesses sponsor many teams, thus driving down the tournament costs for players even further.

Piqued your interest? Despite how fierce the games can get, hopefully you’ve realized how incredibly open to newbies the bike polo community is. “We continually welcome new people to come and try the game,” says Newborn. “We’ll even lend you a mallet! Just be open and willing to try something new, and don’t be afraid to fall.”

Remember to check the League of Bike Polo website for worldwide listing of clubs. If there’s not “Riding bikes has become cool again in many cities,” one in your area, you now have all the info to start thinks Newborn, “and it isn’t just the messengers one yourself. If there is one, maybe watch a game anymore ... Bike polo has tapped that community at first. Then when you’re ready to give it try, jump and created its own subculture that is very inclusive or, ahem, ride in. and easy to get into. It’s cheap to start playing bike polo, and it’s a very DIY ethic amongst many players.” That do-it-yourself ethic and the community spirit among players certainly do combine to make playing relatively cheap. If you have a bike, you’re most of the way there. You should have a helmet when playing, but if you already have a bike, you should already have a helmet. (Right?) Mallets can be made for as little as $5, and the street hockey balls typically cost about $4 each. Get some cones and find a tennis court, basketball court, hockey rink, or parking lot, and you’re ready to go. You’ll also need a few friends, of course. But with the number of clubs already in existence worldwide,

A couple websites to check out... http://leagueofbikepolo.org http://www.hardcourtbikepolo.com 15


shutterfold

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the “O” list

THE 5 BEST FORGOTTEN PLAYGROUND GAMES While everyone is aware of the childhood 2. TETHERBALL sports that adults have embraced with more than a shred of irony, such as kickball and dodgeball, I thought I’d take a look at five forgotten playground activities.

Essentially 2-person volleyball, with an added element of danger. While tetherball seemed to be poised for a comeback due its retro charm, as seen in Napoleon Dynamite, it never seemed to catch on. Of course, who has access to a giant metal pole with a volleyball attached?

5. TAG

Once a playground staple, this game is probably 1. 4-SQUARE best left to the kids, as it requires constant running. With minimal equipment (a patch of concrete, The only adults with this kind of stamina are already rubber ball and chalk) and just enough people to make it fun, it’s a wonder as to why this cherished in marathons. childhood game hasn’t made a comeback. I mean, you really only need one hand to play, leaving 4. HOPSCOTCH the other for an adult beverage. While there are When all you need is cement, chalk and a couple groups scattered across the US and a few Facebook of rocks, one would think this relatively easy, groups, it has yet to sweep the nation like kickball equipment-free playground game would have and dodgeball has. Surely, it can only be a matter hipsters in skinny jeans ironically hopping all over of time. the place. However, this game seemed to be mainly relegated to future Mean Girls and those who Of course, you can still play most of these games didn’t want to wait in the 4-Square line at recess. due to everybodys favorite video game console;

3. LAWN DARTS/JARTS

the Nintendo Wii. A quick Amazon search finds games featuring tetherball, “lawn darts” and other childhood favorites. Or, you could gather a few friends, get outside and relive the good ol’ days, one more time. Talk about your favorite forgotten playground game on the message board.

While not a playground sport exactly, everyone loved lawn jarts - it was like playing darts, outside! That is, until they lost an eye or injured their dog. Who would have thought that giving kids sharp metal objects to throw could go so horribly wrong? Unfortunately, lawn jarts were banned in the ‘80s, but if they hadn’t, one could easily see nostalgic - Andrea Spiegelberg adults feverishly embracing this activity. Since beer would most likely be involved, this is perhaps a hidden blessing. facebook group of the month: FOUR SQUARE 18


g a t o t o h p

AGAZINE M S T R PO SCURE S ting a caption B O e m ri Win so ack at w d we’ll send r c a e k a n swag - t picture a yours. Send y l h t n o for the m -shirt if we pick et you a fre ssions to: ag.com mi m b s u t s r r o u p s o y ure g@obsc a t o t o h p

Hasn’t this poor, unfortunate kickballer suffered enough? Help us replace his pain with humor. If we pick your caption, we’ll send you a free t-shirt. Win/Win. Good luck, his face is counting on it! Send us a picture to use in a future issue and we will also send you a t-shirt!

phototag@obscuresportsmag.com

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Still Silly After All These Years A Kickball Perspective by Kris Szatmary

W

hen friends or colleagues ask, “Are you still playing kickball?” I nod my head with delight and let them know that I’m not ready to retire just yet. Retire from kickball? Why yes, it happens. When I started playing in 2000, it was a fun and cheap form of weekly entertainment. Every Friday night of the spring and fall were spoken for, and I knew I would see my friends at the field and at the bar. No one had to coordinate a social outing, send an Evite, make dinner reservations, or purchase tickets in advance. Without a doubt, socializing was guaranteed and it didn’t take much effort to get from work to the field in team uniform. When else can you acceptably go out in track pants and a t-shirt?

a mix of high school and college friends, to an extended circle of co-workers, their spouses and siblings, I realized that the game was a great way to mix with both old and new connections. New friendships were formed, families shared kickball strategy at holiday gatherings, and no one had to pick up a phone or send an email to make it happen. Furthermore, we could share news and jokes in person at the field and at the bar each week.

looked forward to having some daily banter about something comical with people at work. Team pride was high, even if skills on the field were lacking. We had a terrible season statistically, but lots of good laughs and a few injuries. However, a manager told me I was endangering the department’s productivity.

Whether I played with close friends or acquaintances, I’ve learned that we all come to the kickball field with the same As our team morphed several wishes - to get on base when we times, with team members kick, to catch the ball that soars getting married and/or near us, and to have a good time. pregnant, moved or changed These are simple joys that make jobs, it became more difficult to anyone feel young and carefree. preserve the certainty of a fun- Season after season, kickball also filled night playing kickball. I reminds me that it takes effort wondered what it would be like to gel as a team, that everyone’s to switch to another night of presence matters, and someone the week and play with people I needs to be in charge. Closing the bar on a Friday night didn’t know very well. I formed wasn’t uncommon and at times, a Wednesday night team by In charge? Like a leader or made getting up on Saturday a recruiting players at my new job. director? To some degree, yes. chore. As my team evolved, from The response was positive and I Any organized group needs 20


someone to send a shout-out about the week’s game time and remind everyone that umpping volunteers are needed. When it’s registration time, someone needs to sign-up the team and pay the fee before the deadline. Someone needs to ask if everyone is showing up to the game or motivate the search for sub players. These various duties usually fall upon the team captain or a self-appointed team manager. The team needs a plan and good communication on the field. So much for being completely carefree and irresponsible. Whether fellow kickballers sign up to be social, get fresh air, or relive past glory, I suspect the common allure for all is that kickball provides a venue to be visibly silly. Who doesn’t like having some silliness in their life? Silliness you can count on as a weekly event? Even better! Ten years have passed and playing kickball remains worthwhile and entertaining to me. This season, I’m going to recruit a team of former high school classmates. We had our 20-year reunion in 2008 and I don’t want another ten years to pass before we catch up again in person. Hopefully, there will be some near 40-year olds interested to make the commitment for a season of silliness. I’d like to share this part of my world with people who knew me when I couldn’t yet drive, vote, drink, or rent a car. After the first game, they’ll know that I still can’t catch a ball, even with 10 years experience. Imagine what a better world it would be if, somehow, everyone texting to the person next to them, or constantly checking their stock portfolio, set down their phone and played kickball for stress-relief, camaraderie and exercise. The silliness would be as contagious as the flu and we’d admit that being connected to others through a physical activity that revolves around a red rubber ball makes more sense than most things in life.

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Are You Ready For Some Kickball? by Andrea Spiegelberg

Believe it or not, kickball season is right around the corner. You don’t want to be last picked, do you? Whether casual or competitive, a captain or a teammate, here are some tips that will have you all ready to go for the upcoming season. Remember, no one becomes a champion overnight, it takes time and effort! No matter how much you prepare, injuries are inevitable in the high-impact game of kickball. So we asked Rachel Torgerson, Certified Physical Therapist and experienced second basewoman, to weigh in. “The most important thing is preparation for the types of things that come with kickball -- kicking, running, and lots of cutting motions,” Rachel says of the stresses that come with the sport. “Most of these things can be prepared for with a pretty simple general lower extremity stretching program. Secondarily, non-athlete type kickballers ought to also prepare with short sprint exercises, as well as some leg strengthening to reduce the inevitable inability to pick up the legs, which generally comes two days after the first game,” Ms. Torgerson suggests. But if you do get injured, remember the principles of RICE: Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation. To further your kickball experience, just follow these easy steps for a successful kickball season. Belly Up Frequent your local watering hole at least once a week. Not only will it save you from looking like a lightweight once the season starts, you just might be able to convince your favorite bar to sponsor you, saving your team money, and making you look connected among your teammates. Win, win, win. Team Up Now is the time to shore up your team. A general email to gauge interest will suffice. If you are a player, be sure to reply to these inquires. Be honest, if you don’t want to play, say so! Make sure you have enough players, or if you have too many, now might be the time to make some cuts or change teams. Be sure to be nice about it, you don’t want to lose friends and acquaintances. Suit Up Part of playing well is dressing the part. So, make sure you’re all decked out in the latest kickball fashions. Team jerseys are not optional. Be sure to have a unique logo and team colors. Don’t have a logo? Get an artistic friend to design one for you, or take a stab at designing your own. Also, accessorize! Socks with your team name, coordinating sweat bands or sweatshirts for chilly nights will help you stand out from the rest. Don’t forget matching cleats! Pay Up Plan ahead. Make sure your team is registered on time or you may be stuck on the sidelines. If you’re the one ponying up the cash for registration, jerseys etc ... make sure you get paid! Even if you aren’t the person collecting the cash, ALWAYS pay the person that is. No one signed up to pay for your good time. Drink It Up If your league allows drinking at the field, consider getting everyone to chip in for a beverage each week. Creating a lush fund for a thermos of vodka lemonade is much more economical and environmentally friendly than everyone bringing their own adult beverage. 22


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Master Debaters Cornhole vs. Baggo

Cornhole is a word that is overflowing with history.

Baggo is simple, and has only one meaning. It has roots stemming back to Bavaria. You know what else came from Bavaria? Nazis. Well, its name defines the essence of the game itself. Throw the corn into the hole. Technically you throw a bag on the board/in the hole, so you can say the same about Baggo, without the ick factor. There are national cornhole tournaments. How can you beat “3 days of cornhole fun”? As a matter of fact, there is national tournament this month in Milwaukee. I think you should do a little more research of what exactly their idea of cornhole fun is... The terms used are fun: Back door, dirty bag, hooker, gusher and cow pie. You are really making my side of the argument quite easy here. There are so many great websites: www.cornholeparty.com www.cornholeportal.com www.allthingscornhole.com Here is a little website for ya. Called www.urbandictionary.com. Look up cornhole on there then get back to me. It’s sort of along the lines of ... yes, Dick is a man’s name, but that’s not quite what people think of.

We need help settling this debate. Head over to the message board and cast your vote and weigh in on what you call this great game we all play. Votes will be tallied and results posted in the next issue!!

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Master Debaters message board


y r ito

r r e T

One Team, One Village by Jami Topolovich

An Indian, a construction worker, a soldier and a police officer walk into a bar… Never in my lifetime did I think I would come across a Facebook invitation that would make something that sounded like the opening line of a bad joke into a reality. Upon checking my Facebook page for one of the usual million times in the day, I was asked to participate in my first ever Beer Olympics. Despite the fact that I don’t really enjoy beer, I clicked “Attending.” Why not? About a week before the event, my team was formed, and we decided upon a “Village People” theme. I called dibs on the Indian, thinking it would be really cute to wear my hair in braids. Besides my hair, I had nothing else in my possession that was very “Indian-like”. Doesn’t anyone have a fringed, leather vest lying around? After many trips to several different thrift stores, I had my costume, complete with feathered headband, fringed shirt and tomahawk. Thanks, deconstructed dollar store dream catchers! Glad I could find a use for my art degree again. The day arrived and I woke with a sense of alarm. Why the hell was I doing this again? I assembled my costume and responsibly got a ride to the bar. I felt like a lonely tribemember until the rest of my village showed up. It looked like we would be competing against some racing sausages, nerds, kidnappers and a hodgepodge, straggler team. As time began to start the competition, I knew this would be a night I would never forget. Well, at least until I was too drunk to remember. 25


The following takes place between 4:00pm and 2:30am I arrive fashionably late. Where is the rest of my team? I am freaking nervous. This was a stupid idea.

I’m starting to feel a bit more relaxed. Who is doing the beer bong? One Team, One Village! Go construction worker! Shots? I don’t think I should. Well … ok. Maybe just one.

Who is drinking this half-pitcher? Go soldier! One Team, One Village! Another shot? Ok…I feel pretty good.

One Team, One motherf*cking Village! What? How could he have possibly finished that halfpitcher already? That stupid Italian sausage has a stupid mustache. I guess I’ll just finish mine anyway. I love this song! Shots? Hell yeah!

Beer bong. Whatever. My face hurts.

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Rules are explained and we begin. My nervous energy is not working well for flip-cup. We suck. What’s that? You think we should’ve had some shots before we started? That’s funny.

Please don’t pick the bowl. Please don’t pick the bowl. Please don’t … crap. I got the bowl. My nose won’t go any further into the bowl! I can’t reach the rest. No, I don’t want to use the spoon. This is bullsh*t! You let the other teams quit with that much left! You suck. Yes, I spit beer on you, referee. You want some more?

I love beer pong! We can do this, officer! Let me distract them with my Indian cleavage. These feathers are annoying. More shots? Yes, please. It’s got to be midnight, right? Wtf? It’s only 9? I’msodrunk. I can’t hold myself up. You have to be the wheelbarrow. I‘ll carry your legs. Go! Ah! We have a soldier down! Oops … and an Indian! Ow. My face hurts. Bad. That was hilarious. I can’t stop laughing! OW! My face REALLY hurts. I need some ice. Did we win?


What? F you, sausages. How did we only get 4th place! Stupid nerds. I still don’t get your theme, kidnappers. I didn’t win best costume?! I am taking this stupid sh*t off. Take that! Have some feathers. I hate beer! Who gave me this tequila? I hate you.

Yes! You guys finished the pitcher before it got to me! I don’t have to drink. I don’t have to drink. La la la la … no drinking for me … Shot? Ok. Did we win?

What is happening? Let’s dance! Where are you going? More shots? I love you. You’re so awesome. This was so fun. This was…like…so fun! I drank a lot. No, seriously. I really like you. Do you like me? Look at me! You are such a great friend. I am going to … shots? Beer isn’t too bad. Why are you wearing my costume? Why am I not wearing it? Where is my tomahawk? ONE TEAM, ONE VILLAGE! Why are we making out? Who cares. Andrea? Are you mad at me? I have to go. Andrea is mad. Are you mad at me, Andrea? Where were you? Where was I? Are you mad? Thanks for driving me home. I love you. Really. ONE TEAM, ONE VILLAGE!

I woke the next morning with a mild headache and numerous unexplained bruises. As the memories of the previous night gradually came back, the injuries started to make sense. Everyone asks, “Would you do it again?” Definitely, but next time I’ll have a costume that includes a helmet.

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get A grip

this is

dodgeball

join the

ncda visit us at www.ncdadodgeball.com

1/2 PAGE...

by Jodi Neitzel

Mo

After years of defending his athletic ability to the Type-A

joK

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ba

personalities of competitive adult sports, Eric Heiberg of Austin, ’s not kic Texas decided to play by his own rules. He created a new sport kb all . called Mojo Kickball™, combining elements of multiple games and the use of strategy to win.

Heiberg describes the game as the result of a complicated love affair between kickball, dodgeball, tag and touchfootball. Wherein, kickball gets drunk and scores with all three in one night. Kickball then finds out she’s pregnant and doesn’t know who the father is - but there’s no drama because everyone agrees to be a team player in the little sport’s life. So, with no questions asked, that’s how little Mojo Kickball came to be. The game is played in four, 12-minute quarters and resembles kickball in starting field positions. The first pitch is immediately followed by five more and the rules get more complicated from there. In Mojo Kickball, endurance is a must, skill is a bonus and strategy is key. 28 28 1/2

To learn more about Mojo KickballTM, go to www.mojokickball.com

ll


FINAL WORD As it winds down - another dodgeball Saturday well spent. Hurling myself across the hardwood, making a battle out of something that wasn’t the least bit treacherous. Our host is packing up the equipment in a purple container, trying to make use of all available space. His tired muscles flinch while placing ball after ball into an awkward rectangular plastic bin. His struggle brings a smile to my face, as I jump down from the She looked destroyed, but in this folded bleachers, throwing my moment, she seemed familiar. Not in that sense that I had seen water bottle into my duffle bag. her before - I most certainly had, I would miss this space all month. as our respective teams had met When I’m sitting at my desk, in battle last month - but more pounding away at the keyboard, that I was conscious of her type. I will think of underwhelming Dodgeball wasn’t an activity to crests hanging from the rafters. take the place of cardio workouts. Shuttlecocks, intercut and Nor was it something she thought stagnant above industrial fans would be a fun, one-off event and swinging lights. It will take that would be good workplace days before that smell of sweat fodder for her coworkers to and scuff-marks is expelled from chew on. A long sigh is expelled my senses. I could hang on to it and the resolution of returning to a conventional existence for days. is accepted, but not without I slung the heavy, damp satchel hesitation. over my shoulder, and took my surroundings again. People I remember her displeasure were pairing off and going home. amplified by the worn maple To mortgages and morning wood - she was built to play this routines. Away from dodging game. Hair held back with a black playground balls, and toward bandana, as she threw everything the predictability of the world she had into making the big play. outside of this gymnasium. Now, that black headband hangs Nothing will seem as lively all out of her bag, not much different week – water cooler discussions from mine. The scuffed tennis about last night’s TV highlights shoes, gummed with saliva at the will pale in comparison. Every soles, navigated her to each new unnecessary word over lunch will exchange. They remain on that not reverberate with the power aged floor, only at rest presently, waiting for that next battle. of a body meeting the floor.

“Familiar” by Michael Votto

Next to our host, we’re the only ones that remain, and that’s when we were introduced. Not through a mutual friend, not over drinks at a dive bar, but through a child’s game. Somehow we made it for adults and into something more than fleeting. I was on my way through the heavy metal doors, and she was just getting off the floor, fittingly. The only thing that was missing was substance, as there were no great truths exchanged. I was tired, and she was beautiful. Only seconds were spent and it was enough for a week of pondering. I could see in an instant that we were different, but I could also see that this wasn’t the end. I wanted to know her world: where normalcy takes a backseat to a game. And I could see that she wanted to show me what else there was beyond all the monotony. She was no longer an object of obsession, but a counterpart, an equal. A shared consciousness. All from a look across the court. From a glancing connection. A vague awareness. She finds me. She knows now. Now she knows.

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APRIL Sunday

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

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05

06

07

11 NCDA Nationals Bowling Green, OH

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13

14

Brew City Bags Bash 18 Milwaukee, WI

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20

21

25

26

27

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Warrior Dash Lake Elsinore, CA

Want your event listed on the calendar? Send your info and a link to the site and we’d be glad to post here! 30

calendar@obscuresportsmag.com


Friday

Saturday

01

02

03

08

09 NCDA Nationals 10 Bowling Green, OH

Obscure Sports Mag goes live!!

Warrior Dash Lake Elsinore, CA River City Rumble Little Rock, AR 15 Brew City Bags Bash 16 Brew City Bags Bash 17 Milwaukee, WI Milwaukee, WI Kicking it for Jayden Lawrence, KS Spring Bar Olympics Hollywood Beach, FL 22

23 Kickball Tournament 24 Albuquerque, NM

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Calendar of Events

Thursday

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PERSONALS Women Seeking Men

Men Seeking Women

Where’s my Prince Charming? Attractive 26-year-old female searching for the ultimate kickballer. Looking to score soon! #83493

Me: 6’2, brown hair, athletic build, tan and a mustache. You: The Rider! #62717

Looking for Partner in Crime! No really. I want to rob banks together. Jingle Jangle! #9762

Seeking BBW for nightly rendevous. I have lots of flour. Wink Wink #85903 Looking for badminton partner. I have the shuttlecock, looking for a nice net to play with. #21129

Oddly enough... The odds are good, but the goods are odd. If you don’t mind Muscular, Mediteranian man no teef... hit me up! #80920 looking for someone to play with my 8 1/2 balls. #54011 Hot and sexy young girl looking for horny stallion. I’m breeding Man seeking young female for professional horses. #957312 flirty drinks and maybe more. I’ll let you buy. (the guy above me Single female sick of playing has a small penis) #20492 the field. Seeking a new captain for my two-person love Your Puerto Rico stallion is a real team. Must be comfortable ass down to earth guy. Ain’t no in all positions and always bullshit. #39102 bring his own glove. #96732 Ex-pornstar turned Best Buy Looking for an upgrade. Sick of employee looking for sex. You the boring couch potato. Need got a problem? Let me be your to get up and on the field. Bring Geek Squad. #492187 your bat! #372943 Looking for my beer pong New to this... willing to try partner in life. Must be able to anything. Including dressing up go multiple rounds and willing to like an indian and playing beer occasionally wash my balls when pong. Interested? #95763 they hit the ground. #49020

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Looking for that special someone or want to leave us a message? EMAIL US

I shouted “fuck the police”! You made the Black Panther fist. You got tasered, I got goosebumps. Your hair is very pretty. Let’s chat after you make bail. #78459

Missed Connections I saw you sitting against the wall but couldn’t get to you. I just didn’t have the balls to do it. Everything was moving so fast and I was too afraid I’d cross the line. Next time I’ll step up my game because you seem like you’d be quite a catch. #73820 We just missed each other on Friday, would love to connect with you this week! You- roundish build, red, seem flexible, sometimes referred to as “can of corn” Me- near-sighted, unathletic, but willing to make an effort. You slipped right through my fingers last week, but I will capture you this week! #48292

Classified Get out of my dreams and into my 1983 Honda Civic. $250 or best offer. #95782

email us with your ad idea: personals@obscuresportsmag.com


Coming Up Next Month: Building the Ultimate Kickballer. It isn’t going to be pretty. GLBT Dodgeball League - An in-depth look at one organization. Circle Rules what? We explore another made up game. Looks like a blast. Tailgate Games - Spring is here and the time is right to explore the best, the worst and tailgate games you’ve never heard of. Virgin Territory - One of our writers will tackle yet another new-to-them sport.

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