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SPORTS OBSCURE magazine JUNE 2010

Things to Rea d ! - R u l e s o f En g a g e m en t - C ha s e fo r t h e C o r nho l e C ro wn - S pe e dba l l ! (N o t t h e D r ug ) - V i r g i n Te r r i t o r y B e e r Po n g - T h e “O ” L i s t V i de o Ga m e s

www.obscuresportsmag.com


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[ Contents ]

JUNE 2010

www.obscuresportsmag.com

[ Cover Story ] Rules of Engagement For some teams, kickball is just one night a week. For others, it is a lifestyle. Michael Votto shows the repercussions of taking protocol too seriously.

Chase for the Cornhole Crown

Jodi checks out the Brew City Bags Bash and meets up with two prominent players.

p.8

[ Quick Hits ]

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

p.7 - Do’s & Don’ts

What every sports-loving fashionista needs to know

p.23 - Photo Tag

Think you’re witty? Win an OSM tee!

p.33 - 1/2 Page

p . 14 Speedball! (Not the Drug)

With its complicated rules, Speedball has remained fairly obscure - until now.

p.30

KanJam

[ Columns ]

p.4 - By The Glass

The creator hands out invitations

p.20 - The “O” List

Video Games and the Obscure Sport

p.24 - Virgin Territory

Kris takes a shot at Beer Pong

p.29 - Master Debaters Foam vs. Rubber Dodgeballs

p.35 - Final Word “Torn”

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by the glass I’ve attended several birthday parties and social gatherings in the past month. At these events, both old friends and new acquaintances ask, “What’s new, Dan?” or “What is it that you do for work?” This is a golden opportunity to tell them about Obscure Sports Magazine. These conversations always unravel some unusual sports experience or connection that probably wouldn’t have come up, had we not taken a chance on making this magazine a reality. The stories, ideas, and even the opinions about what is or isn’t obscure are priceless and amusing. People have told me about a co-ed hurling team, feather bowling and We ’re still looking for a plan to sell homemade tailgating fresh perspectives and games at the stadium, just to name a few. Even our regular circle of know that there is contributors have learned that some obscure talent they too are connected to obscure sports in ways they had not known yet to be found. or appreciated before. Jodi now understands that her friends are hardcore kickballers, but there are teams that play just for fun. Mike found out his new boss is a beer dart champion. Kris discovered that one of her friends constructed a homemade beer pong table and taught his kids to play with soda. Jami collected a variety of team shirts for a photo shoot and couldn’t use them all. Both direct and indirect connections to obscure sports are popping up everywhere! We’re still looking for fresh perspectives and know that there is some obscure talent yet to be found. Maybe you or someone you know has something creative to add to the world of obscure sports? Consider this an invitation. What’s keeping you from connecting with us?

Daniel B. Glass Creative Director Obscure Sports Magazine

i nv i tati o n

[in-v i-tey-shuhn]

the w ritte n o r s po ken fo rm w ith w hich a pers o n is inv ited.

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CONTRIBUTORS

Contributor Question of the Month: What’s your kickball at-kick theme song?

Daniel B. Glass Creative Director “Paper Planes by M.I.A.” dan@obscuresportsmag.com

Andy Buteyn Drawing Guy “Bastards of Young by The Replacements” andy@obscuresportsmag.com

Jodi Neitzel Marketing/Contributor “Victim to the Beat by Kid Millions”

jodi@obscuresportsmag.com

Follow us on your favorite social networking site...

Paul O’Mara Contributor “Tightrope by Janelle Monae”

Andrea Spiegelberg Editor/Contributor “Sunglasses at Night by Corey Hart” andrea@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 Photography Contributors: Natalie McLaughlin Eddie Licitra Kevin Vodicka

Kristine Szatmary Contributor “Legs by ZZ Top”

kris@obscuresportsmag.com

Jami Topolovich Photographer/Contributor “It’s Tricky by RUN-DMC” jami@obscuresportsmag.com

Michael Votto Contributor “Renegade by STYX” mvotto@obscuresportsmag.com

Jake Wallendal Contributor “All I Do is Win by DJ Khaled”

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Upon Further Review...

1. Billy’s Balls 2 Not sure what happened in episode one, but these shots are amazing. See what you can achieve with a little time and practice? Or a lot of time and a lot of weed. I am sure mom and dad are proud. Who needs college?

2. dizzy bat nutshot Damn! Why is it always the person you least expect taking one to the jiblets? He’s just standing there, minding his own business. I guess you do have the perfect formula though. Beer + Dizzy Bat = Awesomeness.

3. cornhole commercial I am not sure if this is a real commercial or not. I’ll let you decide. What I do know, is that it’s pure genius and I hope that it’s genuine. “I got one with Lionel Ritchie on it.” Nice work guys and keep up the great work!

4. dodgeball. face. disaster. You have to love intermural sports. Unfortunately, this guy is the last one standing and pays the ultimate price for his attention lapse. We could do without all the cheesy effects, but still worth a look.

5. four square - 4tvs.com This one makes the list just for production value alone. Links to a series of videos, as we can’t pick just one. Making up a reality show based on Four Square in your own driveway? We approve!

Got a funny clip? We want to see it! Send us the link at ufr@obscuresportsmag.com 6


Do’s & Don’ts

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

a win t ir t- s h

D e ta il b e l ows

When God had shone his glorious light down f ro m t he heavens, he could have only hoped it wo u ld i lluminate a scene like t his one. Presented b efo re us we have t wo men in a t ight embrace wit h n o i ntent ions of lett ing go unt il nex t season. No lo n ger under t he watchful eye of t heir captain’s judgem ent , t heir love has sprung to t he surface for all to s ee . A s weird as it looks, much like a blossom on a cact u s ,

i t c er ta i nl y conveys a certain sense of unbridled passion a n d joy. How f i tti ng that t he beaut y in blue is sport ing his st unner s h ad es , ti a ra a nd ea r r i ngs for his big day. Normally it ’s t he cost ume fo r t h e g uest of honor at a 5-year old girls’ birt hday part y. But not to d ay. It ’s a l m ost c er tain t hat t he red headbands each of t hese Ro m e o s i s spor ti ng ser ves one purpose: to keep t heir sweat from r u in in g thei r ha i r. We know we’re look ing at a man in t he green sh ir t , b u t not qui te sure if he t hinks he’s hug ging t he newly crowned M is s Ki c kba l l or the Queen of England. It ’s poi g na nt that each has one arm in embrace and t he o t h er rea c hi ng out to t he sk y. Could it sy mbolize how t his is a s clo s e a s they ’l l ever be to paradise? Only t hose who have sha re d an equa l l y em a nc ipat ing moment can relate. Can you? If not , m ayb e i t ’s ti m e to break t he chains t hat hold you down as well. Send us your pictures to dodont@obscuresportsmag.com and win a t-shirt if we use it.

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Rules of engagement

by M i c h a el Votto A b a l my S at u rd ay ni g ht i n M ay i s a godsend for sellers of potent potables in t his town . Th e m a i n d rag i s swa r m ed by col l ege k ids look ing for t hat one last hookup befo re a su mm e r o f me n i a l wor k a nd the oc casionally present police cruiser keeps t he d rove s i n ch e c k . Ever y esta bl i shm ent i s pa cked and t here is rarely a bored bouncer in s ight . Wi n dow s h o p p ing for da r ts i s m a de i mpossible by pinst ripe dress shirt s and fauxh awks . Th ro u g h t h e s h or t ski r ts a nd styl i zed tees, J oe was on t he clock and look ing for ward to “af ter b ar ”. Th e j o i nt it s elf i s pretty sta nda rd - a vest ibule leading into a large circle counte r wit h a d a nc e f l o o r on one si de a nd booths on t he ot her. At t his t ime of night , t wo h o u rs sh o rt o f b a r c l o se, the g yrati ng gets s erious and t he liquor flows like st ream wate r. Th e fo u r b a r ten d ers qui c kl y shi f t f rom c ustomer to tap. Customer to bott le. Custo m er to to u c h s c re e n . T hat ’s when I spot Joe, t he man I’ve come to see from a t hrowaway lin e f ro m an o t h er s ourc e. A ta l l b u t t h i c k gentl em a n, Joe r uns t his place - well, he does when t he owne r is n ’t a ro u nd . T h e b ur l y m a n’s voi c e seems to glide over t he Top 40 soundt rack as we ll as h i s d r u n k p ayc hec ks. B a r ki ng for new kegs and cleanups, t he bearded manager d o es n ’t me ss a ro u n d w hen i t com es to hi s j ob. I make attempt s to int roduce myself a mu lt it u d e o f ti me s , b u t I ’m a l ways pushed a side for anot her problem and anot her sit uat io n in n ee d o f reme d y i ng . I re ser ve mys elf to a cor ner of the ba r, calling for a vodka tonic and decide to wait it o u t u nti l t h e b u syn ess di es dow n. O ne dr ink t urns into t wo and suddenly I’m ent husia st ically eave s d ro p p in g on the g roup of underage girls nex t to me. Their complaining ab o u t “ l a m e g u ys ” and the deeds to be done - quite brash and unflattering for t he love ly yo u n g l a d i e s - m a kes m e g ratef ul to be out of t he game. By t he end of t heir chatter, I ’ve g row n to love my g i r l f r i end m ore a n d now fi nally understand why single peopl e d ecr y th ei r n i g ht s o u t on the town. Havi ng to wade t hrough all t he disappoint ment s a n d o n en i ght stan d s m ust be exha usti ng . Wi th t h e c e re m oni ous “ l a st ca l l ” a nd following t he t went y minutes of register joc keyin g , I fi n al l y am o n Joe’s ra da r. He throws a bar rag over his shoulder, and approac h e s m e w i th a t ired b u t professi ona l l ook. After t he pleasant ries, we sett le down in a f re s h ly cl e a n ed b o o t h as the staff put the place back in order for tomorrow ’s brunch. 8


“ Fo r aw h i l e , k i c kba l l wa s my l i fe,” he ex p l a i n s as h e si ps f rom the rem na nt s of a ta l l w h is key s our. Joe wa s the captain o f a fa i r l y wel l -known tea m i n the area, Sci s so r Me T i m bers, for m a ny yea rs. The te a m b o u n c ed between vi c tor y m arches a n d b l a c ko u t s for m uc h of thei r exi stence, a n d eve n co nt i nues on today i n na m e only. B u t t h eir h eyd ay wa s wi th Joe at the helm. Th e J o e in f ro nt of m e resem bl es the one d escr i b ed f ro m previ ous i nter vi ews, but th e re is s o met hi ng m i ssi ng . T he stories o f the “Kar l M a r x m eets C hr i s Farley ” ch a ra c te r m atc hes up i n a ppea ra nce but n o t qu i te i n t he boi sterous nature of his l ege n d . “ I g u e s s t h ere wa s a poi nt w hen I wa s , like, 29 th at I f i n a l l y put dow n the ba l l a nd said ‘h ey, I go tta get ser i ous’,” he says wit h a ra i se d arc h o f the brow. I’ve encountered th i s a lo t - intense g ui l t over som et hing a s ca ref re e a s a pl ayg round ga m e. The d ee p er yo u lo o k, the m ore ser i ous some of th e se te a m s a n d pl ayers get a bout w inning - even ab o u t j u st l i vi ng the l i festyle. “I h a d my t h en - g ir l f r i end tel l i ng m e I can’t kee p s p e n d in g the spr i ng a nd summer mo nt h s l i ke a col l ege ki d, a nd so I ca lled it q u i ts ,” h e co nt i nues, “ but now I wouldn’t even kn ow w h at to do i f I wa nted to get b a c k into i t .”

Honest ly, I wasn’t here to discuss th e gu ilt t hat comes wit h giv ing up somet h in g yo u love. Leave t hat for late-night talk rad io . I wanted “ The Rules of Engagement ”, a my t hical list developed by J oe an d h is cronies during one season as a Tim b e r. It took t he perceived drunken, i nt im ate lifest y le of t he k ick baller to t h e n ex t level, as it was a st rict code of cond u ct fo r teammates. Ranging from init iatio n fo r new recruit s to a specific out line for intersquad “hook ups”, it shocked me wh e n I was told of it s probable existen ce . A s t he Guinness start s filling our glass es , J o e chuckles at what I came for. “It started off as a joke but some rea lly to o k it to heart , but yeah, it is real,” he p ro u d ly proclaims as if we were talking abou t a lo st manuscript . “Do you want a copy ? ” Originally a large pant r y for t he restau rant t hat came before it , t he office is a com p lete mess - so, in a way, it perfect ly match e d it s manager. The shelves are cluttere d wit h pay roll slips, tax informat ion, rec eipt s it is a CPA’s night mare. J oe reach e s fo r a weat hered attache from t he s id e o f t he overflowing desk , remov ing a t h ick notebook computer from it s in s id es . Mov ing clutter to prop it up, it take s forever for t he PC to boot . In t his t im e, I

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f i n d o u t t h at J oe l i ves a l one on the East S ide and he’s t hink ing about hitt i ng t he cas in o i n stea d o f t h e A .B ., but thi s doesn’t feel like it is a whimsical decision. His tone s e em s to e c h o t h at t h i s i s a com m on oc c ur rence, tak ing a st rong t urn into self-dest ruct ive t h at I o n l y t h o u g ht oc ca si ona l l y dur i ng ou r discussion. “It ’s a litt le ridiculous when you first read it , but you can imagine how some people em b raced each rule completely,” he remarked as he f u m b led to connect t he Xerox ’s US B cable to his b r u is ed laptop. “Not ever yone took t hem seriou s ly,” h e prefaced, “but enough did.” Cr y pt ic indeed . The bolded sect ions stood out before J oe even handed me t he list . “Hook ing Up”, “Drin kin g ”, “J erseys”. He let out a sigh and brought m e into his former life. Excusing himself from t h e o ff ice

Dating & Hooking Up 1.1 - You may not date one another! There will be no hand holding , feelings, PDAs, or drama. No exceptions to this rule! 1.3 - Daybreak clause - by 8:00 Saturday morning , encounters are to be reset back to normal pre-hookup behavior. 1.7 - Spin the Bottle is a preferred game and is always encouraged.

Drinking 2.3 - FNGs will be subject to beer bitch for a minimum of 3 games. 2.6 - We must make an appearance at our sponsor bar either before or after each game.

J erseys & Attire 3.1 - You will not be allowed to come up with your own nickname for the back of your jersey. 3.2 - All women’s jerseys will be ordered one size too small.

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fo r a ta p re lated i ssue, i t wa s j ust me and th e ro u g h l y f ive-hundred words I ha d been se a rc h i n g fo r.

for his satchel. There’s more here t h an ju st a list , so it was off to wherever my b e ard ed sherpa wanted to get his rocks off.

“ Th ere w il l b e no ha nd hol di ng - no exce pt io n s ,” it sa i d, a l m ost ex pl odi ng off th e pa ge . Ru le num ber one wa s a cold o n e - s u r p r i s i n g that a nyone found t his to b e fu n ny. T h e seven-subsec ti ons of t he “ H o ok i n g U p ” categor y i l l ustrated proper eti q uette w h en dea l i ng sexua l l y bet ween te a mm ate s . Hookups were onl y a llowed o n Fr i d ay n ig hts but ha d to be di ssolved by eig ht o ’c lo c k the fol l ow i ng m orning. Su bst it u te p l ayers di d not a dhere to t hese co n d i t i o n s an d rom a nti c rel ati on ships co u l d b e p u rs u ed i f desi red, but there was to b e n o inte r- s qua d dati ng other wi s e.

Mov ing from one v ice to anot her, I dis cover quick ly t hat J oe likes to gamble. A n d t h at he’s act ually prett y good at it .

Th e “ D r in k i n g ” set wa s w here the humor ga i n ed a fo o t h ol d a s i t depi c ted the wild n i ght s t h is tea m m ust ’ve ha d. Atten dance o f p ost- ga m e s h ena ni ga ns wa s pra c t ically co m p u ls o r y a n d thi s wa s i n the na me of “ p ro p er b o n d in g ti m e”. It wa s a l so business a s u s u a l , as t h ey were a l so requi red to put i n so m e fac e - t im e w i th thei r sponsor bar. Go tta p ay fo r t he nex t sea son som ehow.

“A fter games, a couple of us use to go from bar to [t he casino],” he exp lain s as he get s dealt a hand in blackj ack. “ I never gambled before play ing k ickb all, but I found out t hat I’m prett y dece nt at cards,” he concludes wit h a shrug o f t h e shoulders, almost confused about his R ain Man-like cont rol over t he deck . He le aves t he table up almost five hundred d o llars , and even I, t he hardened ant i-ga m b lin g advocate, began salivat ing at t he m o u t h . S uddenl y he was t he big man on cam p u s again - untouchable in his realm.

So me o f t h e b est thi ng s found on the ball d i a mo n d are t h e j erseys - be i t f unny n ames o r crazy d es ig ns, they ca n rea l l y link a ra gta g g ro u p and i l l um i nate a personalit y. To p l ay fo r t h is tea m , however, you agreed to gi ve u p s e l f-ex pressi on i n favor of a n i c kn am e vo te a nd m atc hi ng a c c ess ories. Sen i or m e m b e rs of the tea m ha d all t he vo te s an d p i c ked out the gea r.

We sett le down in t he bar area b et wee n games, and I ask him why he t ruly is n ’t o u t t here on t he diamond any more - t h e exgirlfriend explanat ion was a nice sto r y b u t t hat lays guilt at some girl’s door. He co m es around to t he fact t hat his running t h e team ruined one potent ial prior relat ionship , an d he never really recovered. S he was into him, he was into t he rules. He was yo u n g , she was in love. It was like a si cke n in g J ohn Mellencamp song t hat wasn’t ab o u t farming or t ractors or whatever he s in gs about . Damn t he k nowledge t hat h e kn ew t he list was ninet y-five percent b u lls h it , t here was not hing more important in h is world t han operat ing t his team.

Ea ch s ec t io n and ea c h provi si on ec hoed a Jo n estow n - ia n s enti m ent that I ha d never b efo re t h o u g ht of. At l ea st, thi s wa s going to b e a co mi cal rea d, but I di dn’t know t hat th e “at mo st ” woul d be so f r i g hteni ng. One co u l d s e e t h at , ta ken out of contex t and p u t i n t h e h an d s of a m ore psyc hol og icallyd efi c ie nt p l ayer, these r ul es coul d hold water.

“I loved t hrowing stat s online, goi n g o u t , mak ing lineups - it was a huge par t o f my life,” he reminisces. He was good at wh at he did, but it had consequences. “I d o t h in k t hat it got in t he way of a lot of t hin gs , b u t it ’s no different t han going to t he cas in o,” he immat urely compares. I never m istake J oe’s age for wiseness, especially af ter t hat remark .

“ Re a d y to get goi ng ? ” Joe says a s he ret urns

“I got more into cont rolling tea m m ate s 11


a n d st rate g ie s af ter that whol e thi ng ,” he a d m i t s , ta k i n g a si p f rom the f i rst nona l co h o l i c d r in k of the ni g ht. T hose rules b eca me a l i tt l e m ore ser i ous, a nd t hen enfo rc e ab l e . Push Joe ha rd enoug h back th en o n r u l e 2 .3 of “ beer bi tc hi ng ” and yo u were s u d d enl y wi thout a tea m . This ru b b ed s o m e o f the pl ayers the w rong way, a n d o n c e l oyal pa r ti c i pa nts were quick ly u n avai l a b l e t h e nex t sea son. “ It was i nv i go rat i n g to be i n c ha rge, but ever yone h ate s t h e p e rs on at the top,” he strangely b o a st s .

nurt ure somet hing , it will die. J oe cam e close to hav ing realness, but sa cr if ice d it in t he name of comradeship. He t h e n changed completely to accommo d ate a toxic person, and got burned for t h at . I understand his sad cycle of bar, cas in o, bar - he doesn’t want to go home. I can see him wit h a beer in hand watch in g a baseball game and half-heartedly greet in g his significant ot her as she walks t h ro u gh t he door. That ’s probably t he ideal fo r J o e, but he doesn’t even have t hat . I wo u ld n ’t want to go home eit her.

So me h ow in t h e bustl e f rom one ta b le to a n o ther, I l o st hi m i n the a l m ost 80 0,000 sq u a re feet o f s l ot m a c hi nes a nd dea lers. I n eve r wanted to be here - no desi re to lose th e l i tt l e m o n ey I di d m a ke. Even at fourth i rty i n t h e mor ni ng , the ol d bi rds were o u t w i t h t h e ir oxygen ta nks a nd Rascal sco o te rs - I g u ess ea r l y-r i sers get big ger p ayo u t s .

He’s lost what he’s won now, but yo u n ever see frust rat ion flow t hrough his face . I t ’s just somet hing t hat ’s happening , as if h e lacks t he cont rol to just get up a n d q u it while he’s ahead. If I wasn’t here - if h e had no one to impress - god k nows h ow long he would remain in t his zom b ie-like t rance.

I fi n al l y lo cate h i m - af ter nea r l y ten m inutes - si tt in g at an other bl a c kj a c k ta bl e, but ru n n i n g into a l i ttl e m ore resi sta nc e t han l a st t im e. I get ba c k to the root a nd ask a b o ut w h at h e di d af ter sc rewi ng the p ooch o n th at “o n e t r ue l ove”. Joe l a unc hes into a ti ra d e ab o u t the drea ded ex a nd how sh e t h rew d ow n the ul ti m atum of kick ball o r h er. S e ei n g the fa ul t i n hi s l a st quasire l at i o n s h i p , h e gave up som ethi n g he ca re d s o d e ep ly for that he c reated a nearcu l t m e nta l i t y a round i t. Needl ess to say, sh e d i d n ’t f i n d hi s sa c r i f i c e deser ving of co m p l ete d evo t i on. “ Th en I a s ke d h er i f i t wa s hi m or m e,” he q u i et l y p o i nt s out. “ She c hose the ot her g u y. T h ey h ave a ki d now.” Two re lat i o n s h i ps, both i n a shes. On t he su rfa c e , it wa s the sa d- sa c k ta l e of a guy w h o co u l d n ’t catc h a brea k. In a c tualit y, i t was o f an adol esc ent boy who doesn’t u n d erstan d t he pr i nc i pl es of human re sp ec t an d intera c ti on. If you don’t 12

“ You live by t he list , you die by t h e list ,” J oe comment s, completely unprovo ke d . He chuck les, but t hen sadly ret u r n s to his cards. I see now what I didn’t s ee t h e moment I found him t hrough t he b ar f lies , as he jawed commands to his em p loyee s - it was t hat stare. It wasn’t cold , n o r was it inv it ing. There was no pur p o s e o f direct ion or attempt to become lost. I t was a vacancy - somet hing t hat somebo d y get s when t hey go wrong. He helped c reate a simple list for a laugh or t wo, but i t en d ed up wielding greater power t han it s cre ato r meant . Even wit hin t his plast ic p er fect , J oe didn’t feel at home. He had lost t h at long ago. Names, dates, and experiences in t h is p iece have been modified to protect t he s o u rce s .


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CORN H O L E

C ROWN by J o d i N e i tze l

photographs by Daniel B. G las s

CH A SE FOR THE

I t ’s a s u n ny S aturday m or ni ng i n Ap ril and I‘ve just arrived at t he Pett it Nat io n al I ce Ce nter in b ea u ti f ul M i l wa ukee, Wi sconsin. Inside t he cold, windowless build in g are s o me o f t h e n ati on’s best C or nhol ers , and I was about to go in and find out what it to o k to b e a p ro . I wa sn’t sure w hat to expect , but was quite certain I’d see some mo r n in g Wo o d y ’s … a n d a few Sl i c k ones at that . (S ee sidebar) A rmed wit h a long list of qu est io n s a n d a cam e ram an i n tow, the quest i s simple - get answers and get photos. The rest , as th ey s ay, i s a c ra pshoot. I wa l k in , t h e p i ped-i n m usi c nea r l y m uted by t he rhy t hmic t hud of bag hitt ing boa rd . Th e p ro s , p l ayin g in a n a rea sepa rate f rom t he recreat ional compet it ion. S port ing o ff icial s h i rts w it h t h e ir ra nki ng on the col l ar, t hey ’re basically say ing: This Is t he Real D eal. On th e o t h er s i de of the ova l , 80 pre-registered amateurs are wait ing , many wi t h b e e r i n h a n d , fo r t h e rec reati ona l com petit ion to get under way. S o what if it ’s 11 am? Th is is W i s con s in . W h en i n Rom e … A f te r A m e r i can C or nhol e O rga ni zati on (ACO) founder F rank Geers pairs off t he amate u rs , h e too k s o m e t im e to a nswer a few quest ions about t he game and t he organizat io n . Th e ACO b e gan in Ci nc i nnati , O H i n 2005 and originally funct ioned as a product s com p any. Th e go al wa s to provi de ba g s a nd boards to Cornhole ent husiast s play ing t he gam e at b a ckyard b ar b eques a nd ta i l gati ng event s. Geers quick ly recognized t hat Cornh o le was b ecom in g a p o p ul a r rec reati ona l ga m e and saw an opport unit y to develop it into an act u al s p o rt – w it h a ver y sug gesti ve na m e. I addressed t he subject early in our convers at io n , 14


a n d G ee rs d id n ’t m i ss a beat defendi ng t he n a m e o f t h e gam e. “ T he rea son the game i s ca l l e d C o r n h o le i s beca use that ’s the origin o f th e gam e ,” he sa i d, “ T he ba g wa s filled w i th co r n a n d the ba g of cor n wa s thrown i nto a h o l e, h enc e, C or nhol e.” Fa i r en o u g h . Mi nd rem oved f rom g utter. Si x years late r, t he ACO ha s evol ved i nto t he gove r n i n g b o d y for the spor t of C or nhole, o rga n i z i n g re c reati ona l a nd professional to u rn a m ent s n ati onwi de. T hose w h o are se ri o u s ab o u t the spor t com pete in t he “ Ch as e fo r t h e C row n” wi th the ul t imate go a l o f b e co m ing the Ki ng of C or nhole. Th e “c h a s e ” consi sts of f i ve M asters Seri e s to u r n am ents, m ul ti pl e Si g nat ure Seri e s an d S p otl i g ht Ser i es events held a c ro s s t h e co u ntr y. T he 2010 tour began w i th t h e I c e h ol e C l a ssi c i n C i nc i nnat i, Fe b ru ar y 2 7 - 2 8, a nd w i l l end w i t h th e Tu r keyH o le i n C hi ca go, Nove m b e r 2 6 - 27. T he top 40 p l ayers f ro m these events, a l so k n ow n as the C or nyFor ty, ea rn t h e i r s p o t i n the Ki ng of C o rn h o l e co mpeti ti on bei ng h el d in La s Ve ga s, Ja nua r y 2011. Th e Brew C i t y B a g s B a sh i s a Si gn at u re S e r i es event.

for a spot in t he Corny Fort y, and o n ly t wo are women. I sat down wit h Dyana To lliver to find out what it ’s like to be a wo m an in t his male-dominated sport . Dyan a h as t raveled from West V irginia to comp ete in t he Brew Cit y Bags Bash wit h t he go al o f earning more point s for t he season . A f ter play ing recreat ionally for years, t his is t h e first year she decided to officially ch as e t h e crown. A s I ask about life on t he p ro to u r, we’re surrounded by t he men she com p etes against all-year long. The k nowled ge t h at her words would be printed in O bs cu re S port s Magazine for all to read weig h in g o n my mind, I pay close attent ion to her facial expressions, as she list s t he ent ire po s it ive experiences she’s had. Tolliver ’s sin cer it y is obv ious and she jokes wit h some o f h er male compet itors passi ng by. S he says t h at in t he beginning t hey often underest im ate d her, but Tolliver ’s current r a n k i n g as 26t h in t he Corny

Th e c h as e is o pen to a ny ma l e o r fe m al e who ha s p a i d t h e $ 2 0 0 entr y fee, w h i c h in c lu d es; a n ACO me mb ers h ip , a pro j ersey re q u ire d att i re at a l l ACO Pro event s , an d h a s suc c essf ul l y co m p leted a Ski l l s C ha l l enge w i th a s co re o f 285 or m ore. A Ski l l s C h a l l en ge ( SC ) i s used to d eter mi n e ski l l l evel a nd i s ca l c u lated ba sed on the avera ge s co re o f three Fra m e Ga mes . A F ra m e Ga m e i s th i rtee n f ram es, throw i ng fo u r b ag s p e r f ra m e. Th ere a re c u r re ntl y 73 pl ayers com pet ing 15


“. .. the goa l i s si m pl y to pl ay for awhi l e.”

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Fo rty s p e aks fo r i tsel f. D ya na Tol l i ver can certainly hold her own. Wh e n we s p o ke, D ya na ha d j ust f i ni shed t hrowing against Matt Guy, t he current Kin g o f C o rn h o l e , a n d l a ug hs, tel l i ng m e she’s just happy to hold him off. When play ing G u y, t h e go a l i s s im p ly to pl ay for a whi l e. If she can do t hat , Tolliver says, t he match is a v icto r y. M att G u y to o k f i rst pl a c e at the B rew Cit y Bags Bash, and at press t ime was in s eco n d p l a ce fo r t h is yea r ’s cor ny c rown. He was gracious enough to take some t ime ou t o f h is b u sy d ay o f w i nni ng to tel l m e a bout his rise to royalt y. Guy has been play ing fo r over seven ye ars a n d a dm i ts to pra c ti c i ng only a couple t imes a week . But it seem s to b e wo rk i n g fo r h i m . Guy went pro i n 200 6 and has since held t he t it le of King of Cor n h o le. I n fa c t , h e’s t h e f i rst three- peat Ki ng. His adv ice to beer-swilling amateurs, lookin g to ma ke t h eir way i nto the pros i s si m pl e - “ You have to be able to rotate your bag clo ckwis e a n d kee p i t a s f l at a s possi bl e, so that when it hit s t he board it slides st raight .” I n a dd i t i o n to wi nni ng poi nts, pl ayers ta l k i n g p o c ket cha nge ei ther. In 2009, th e to u r. I n 2 0 1 0 pr i ze m oney offer i ngs mi n i m u m o f $ 2 5 ,000.00 i n pr i ze m on ey

also compete for cash bonuses. A nd we’re n o t $52,000 in overall prize money was offered o n already exceed $250,000. The ACO guarantee s a t his year to t he Corny Fort y.

Fo r m o re i nfo r m ati on a bout the ACO, v isit w w w.americancornhole.org. To fo ll ow a l o n g a s the pros c ha se the crown, check out w w w.k ingofcornhole.com.

C ornh o l e : T h e M ovi e A mo c ku m e nta r y f i l m a bout a ca st of misfit s o n t h e i r way to the Nati ona l Cornhole C h a m p io n s h i p . Ea c h tea m i s f i g hti ng to win th e p re st i g i o u s B ronze Sa c k, proving t heir wo rt h i n t h e hi g hl y com peti ti ve world of C o rn h o l e. G et a g l i m pse i nto the i nt riguing subculture of professional Cornhole by visiting http ://w w w. co rnhol ethem ovi e.com

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shutterfold photo s by Jami To p o lo

vich

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8 bitheroes

video games a n d t h e o b s c u r e s p o r t b y michael votto Fu l l di s c lo s u re: I’m a tota l vi deo ga me nerd. Well, not one of t hose people who s it in th ei r d ar k b e d room pl ayi ng Wor l d of Warcraft all day – I don’t have t he t ime or m o n ey to d o t h at – b u t I’m a pretty geeky g uy when you get me around any console. Ever s in ce my fam il y go t u s ki ds a NES, I’ve been hooked. Twent y years and nearly fifteen system s l ate r, I ’m st i l l k ic ki ng a round i n vi r tual lands, but now it is just online wit h peop le b o r n i n th e n in et ies (shudder ) . Eve r yo n e k n ows M a r i o, Soni c , a nd Donkey Kong , but did you k now t hat t here is o n e ga me t h at u n ites them a l l ? If you sa id Mario & S onic at t he Oly mpic Winter Game s , I ’m go i n g to ve nt u re a g uess that you l i ve in your mot her ’s basement . It has not bee n rare fo r p o p u l a r p latfor m c ha ra c ters to sneak into or headline sport games t hrough o u t t h e h i sto r y o f vid e o ga m i ng . Whi l e m ost of t heir appearances simply masked bad mech an ics , th ere h ave b e en m a ny other ga m es that have flown just below t he radar wit hout t h e aid o f a bi g n a m e sta r. I ’ve ro ll e d t h ro ug h so m a ny ca r tr i dges and discs it would make my girlfriend le ave m e. No ser i o u s l y, d on’t tel l her I ever owned a V irt ual Boy. A ny way, going back th ro u gh my catal o g o f P C a nd vi deo ga m es, I’ve discovered some brilliant , and not so b r illiant , sp o rt s . O n e o f them i s even a com pletely fict it ious game – ahh, t he beaut y of v id eo ga mes .

Supe r D o dge Ba l l (A K A You ’ l l H ate It, Th e n Yo u ’ll Love It) Th e l e ar n i n g c u r ve on the NES ga m e Super Dodge Ball was slight ly ridiculous. Yo u d o n ’t kn ow h ow m any ba l l s my poor tea m took to t heir faces as I t ried to master t he co nt ro ls a n d st rate g y o f thi s ga m e, but l i ke a ny cart ridge-blowing gamer, I soldiered on . So o n , 20


I wa s tak i n g o u t the USSR a nd Ja pa n in a batt le for global dominat ion. Honest ly, it is a to u gh gam e to com pl etel y m a ster but once you do, you are rewarded wit h a high-e n e rgy 8- b i t ex p e r ien c e. It wa s rec entl y ported onto t he Wii for download, so I say it is wo r t h th e 5 0 0 p o int s i f you put i n the wor k.

Shuf fle p u ck C afe (A K A L a m e st an d Le ast He lpf u l B ar Re gu lars Eve r ) I re m em b e r getti ng thi s ga m e wi th our family ’s first computer – and t he only re as o n I re me mb er i t is b eca use i t wa s a n a bs olutely infuriat ing game. F irst off, it had t h e m o st ri d i c u l o u s p rem i se of a l l ti m e. You are an intergalact ic solicitor who runs into s o m e i s su es w it h yo u r spa c eshi p. Una bl e to keep on wit h your galaxy-jumping sales m is s io n , yo u lo o k fo r a tel ephone but f i nd the cl osest is in S hufflepuck Cafe. Work ing ou r way p a st t h e fac t t h at you have a spa c esh ip but landlines are st ill t he best opt ions, th e C afe i s fi l l e d w i t h c reeps f rom a l l cor ners of t he universe, and t hey sit hunched over tab les . An d in t h e mo st outra geous deus ex machina for t he plot of a game, you mu st p lay “sh u ff l e p u c k ” a ga i nst the reg ul a rs to earn your right to use t he phone. No…se r io u s ly. Sh u ff le p u c k C afe wa sn’t m uc h ta bl e s huffleboard, but an awk ward version of air h o ckey. An d let m e tel l you, there i s nothi ng less fun t han play ing air hockey on a com p u te r, esp e c ia l l y o n e whi c h ha s the i nf i ni tely-better S nake installed on it . Or t hat weird gam e w h e re t h e t wo monkeys throw ba na nas at each ot her from buildings. A nd I digre s s .

Target To s s P ro: Ba g s (A K A G ol de n Te e With o u t Th e Co u rse ) I n cre d i b l e Tec h nol og i es, the m a kers of Target Toss Pro: Bags, is more a part of yo u r life th a n yo u may k now. Si tti ng at a ba r a nd hearing drunk pat rons smack t heir hands again st th e ca b i n et o f a Gol den Tee m a c hi ne? Thank Incredible Technologies. Lift ing you r s m all ch i l d u p to t h row a vi r tua l g utter ba l l in S ilver S t rike Bowling at a Chuck E. Chees e? H a, yo u j u st p ar t i c ipated i n m a ki ng Inc redible Technologies a litt le richer. A ll t hese gam es a re t ra c k b al l - b ased, so they a re a bit of a one-t rick pony, and Target Toss Pro: Bags is n o exc ept io n . G ol f i ng ca n get ex pensive and bowling is not so much fun when you s u ck, b u t b a g go i s s u c h a n ea sy ga m e to pl ay and have fun for a minimal cost . S o when I s aw th i s arcad e gam e si tti ng i n the m i dd le of a busy arcade, I was apprehensive a b o u t it . Ne ed l es s to s ay, I wa sted som e good tokens t hat could have been used on House o f t h e De a d . P rett y u nresponsi ve a nd nothing close to t he touch of t he real game, p u m p in g q u a rte rs i nto Ta rget Toss Pro: B a g s i s like pay ing Lindsay Lohan for act ing lesson s : s h e ’ll p ro b a b l y n o t s how up, but i f she does , she’ll puke all over you and pass out in a h e ap o f fa i l u re o n t h e f loor. T hat m a de m ore sense in my head. Mov ing on!

Ki ll e r b a ll (A K A OH MY GOD, THIS SOUNDS FLIP P IN ’ AWESOME!) I ’ve never p l ayed thi s Frenc h D O S ga me from 1989, but t his just gave me a nerd freako u t : “Ame r i can fo o t ba l l w i th rol l er- skati ng ”. Holy balls, Megaman! This v iolent spor t o f t h e f u tu re ( w h ic h is a round 2002 i f you are play ing at home) is played on a circular s kat in g ri n k w h ere t wo tea m s of f i ve pl ayers tr y to put a ball into t he hole, which marks a s co re. Oth er p l ayers t r y to di sl odge the ball by absolutely wailing t he crap out of th e m in b ea ut i f u l 1 6 - b i t g l or y. So thi s ga m e is basically roller derby if t he goal of t he gam e was th e s am e a s t h e goa l of the Rebel s i n S tar Wars: A New Hope . Sweet .

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get A grip

this is

dodgeball

join the

ncda visit us at www.ncdadodgeball.com

3 p o T s ’ o n e B e Jo

Hi stori cal Fi gures I wou ld p ick to b e on my D od geb all Team 1. Spud Webb - NBA Point Guard 1985-1998 It ’s been clinically proven that shorter people make for more difficult dodgeball targets. At a height of a mere 5’7”, he’s the shortest NBA Slam-Dunk Champion in histor y. So, not only will Spud make for a difficult target, but he’s also likely able to jump over any thing thrown his way. 2. Zulu Chieftain, Shaka Zulu Shaka is one of histor y ’s most brilliant battle tacticians and fiercest warriors. He strikes fear in all who oppose him, as he seeks the same goal in ever y battle: total annihilation. 3. B.F. Skinner, Behavioral Psychologist If anyone can find predictability in an opponent ’s behavior and exploit it; it would be B.F. He doesn’t hold any thing back either - he even tested one of his inventions on his infant daughter.

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g a t o t o h p

win a t-s hir t

AGAZINE M S T R PO SCURE S ting a caption B O e m o at wri Win s d k c a r c a we’ll sen ke a d t n a g e a r tu sw . nthly pic o m e ick yours h p t e w for f i e t-shirt you a fre submissions to: m ur smag.co t r o p s Send yo e r u g@obsc photota

L a s t m o n t h ’ s W i n n e r ! - n at e w. f rom IOWA “ Th en we ran into a bear. He was a hair y bear, He was a sca r y b ea r, We beat a hasty retreat f rom his lair. And d esc r ib ed h im with adjectives..” phototag@obscuresportsmag.com

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y r ito

r r e T

by Kri s S zatm a r y

Photographs by Natalie McLau gh lin

So me h ow I m ana ged to over l ook or avoid t he sensor y experience t hat is descr ib e d as b ee r p o n g . I wa sn’t doi ng i t when I was 15. I wasn’t doing it when I was 20. I can ’t say t h e o p p o r t uni ty wa s ever m i ne. W hen I t hink about my first night at t he be er p o n g ta b l e, I ca n co nf i dentl y say that thi s is a game t hat can prove what you’re made o f. A n d th en s o m e . Fo r a b r i ef m o ment before hea di ng to t he appropriately named S in Bin bar, I won d ered i f th e c l o t h es and shoes I wore woul d get a beer dousing. One should always k now wh at ki n d o f att i re i s a ppropr i ate for the sport t hey set out to play. I went casual an d f it ri g ht i n t h e s c e n e. It fel t l i ke a wor k in progress, a place for me to get schooled o r f in d h i gh er m ea n i n g . T he ba r wa s em pty, a new bartender working her first shift , and an o ld ch u rc h p ew stati oned a ga i nst the wall stared at me as I sized up t he t wo long , n ar row b ee r p o n g ta b l es si de- by-si de i n the same room. I sip a Blue Moon to warm up and u nwin d . Our opponent s Natalie and Mike ar r ive d ready to play, but Dan and I were in n o hurr y. While ser v ing up a Guinnes s to Mike, t he bartender recogni zes Nata lie an d wit hin seconds t he t wo are talking ab o u t t heir kindergarten connect ion. They as s u re me t hey didn’t learn to play beer p o n g in k indergarten. A fter t he t wo former classmates ca u ght u p on life since learning t he alphabet to get h er, ever yone’s focus shift s back to beer p o n g. S upplies are handed to Mike and he b e gin s arranging ten empt y plast ic cups in t ight fo rm at i o n , star ti ng at the edge of the table. He set s up a row of four, t hen t hree, t wo, a n d on e o n b o t h si des. I coul dn’t ta ke my eyes off t he pitcher as he poured enou gh b e e r i nto ea c h c u p to m eet the f i rst f i l l l i ne. I’m reminded of my junior high science fair d ays a n d fe el li ke t h is i s prep for a n experiment wit h me as a primar y subject . How i s it t h at th e p i tc h e r h o l ds j ust the r i g ht a m ount to fill 20 cups? 24


P i tc h e r O n e – So, t h is is h ow we d o it? Da n an d Mi ke ex pl a i n the i ns a nd out s of th e gam e to m e i n l ess tha n two m i n utes. M i ke a n d Nata l i e ta ke thei r f i rst turn and h i t n o t h i n g . I throw my f i rst pi ng pong b a l l an d it s o ars over the ta bl e. M y nex t sh o t i n c lu d e s a bounc e. D a n i s doing all th e wo r k fo r o u r tea m , whi l e I tr y to figure o u t w h at I ’m d oi ng wrong . I need better a i m a n d mo re l of t to get the ba l l near a cu p . T h e p a c e of the ga m e i s m uc h s lower th a n I i m ag i n ed , but m aybe that ’s because I ’m as k i n g q u esti ons i n- between turns. I th o u g ht b ee r pong woul d be m ore like a f re n zy o f b ac k- and-for th beer c hug g i ng and ra c i ng aro u n d t he ta bl e. I sta nd cor rected. I t d o e s n ’t ta ke long for m e to f i nd ou t t hat yo u r h an d get s wet i n beer pong . Each te a m h as an ex tra c up f i l l ed w i th l ukewarm wate r t h at s it s on the si de for the ball wa sh . O n e i s requi red to subm erge the ball i nto t h e water to ensure “ proper hygiene” afte r t h e b al l rol l s on the f l oor of the bar o r l a n d s i n a b eer-f i l l ed c up. A shake of th e h a n d in t h e a i r doesn’t rea l l y dr y t he b a l l , s o wate r rol l s dow n your wr i st as you ta ke a i m . T h ey wa shed the ba r f l oor today, ri g ht ? Let ’s ke ep the ba l l i n the a i r, a cup, o r i n o u r h a n d s peopl e! Nata l i e an d M ike a re wi nni ng , a s they are d ri n k in g fewer beers tha n us. T he f i rst few cu ps I d r i n k a re ref reshi ng , but i t ’s start ing to l oo k li ke we m i g ht l ose thi s round. I th rew a s h o t a nd watc hed the ba l l t wirl i n th e c u p l i ke a ti l t-a -w hi r l . Getti ng t he b a l l i n t h e c u p af ter j ust a few too many te a sers was a thr i l l . We sta r ted to s hout , “ Pew b al l !” to wa r n Nata l i e a nd M i ke t hat th ey n e ed e d to ac t fa st or rea c h deep under th e b en c h to retr i eve a stray ba l l . Phew! I d o n’t want t h e ba l l to go there or under th e m en ’s ro o m door. We get o u r money ’s wor th on thi s first p i tch er. T h e round nea rs the end as a n eck- i n - n e c k t i e, wi th one c up l ef t on bot h si d es . Nata l i e c l i nc hes the wi n w i th a shot 25


th at d ro ps , n o s pl a sh. P i tc h e r 2 - Te ch n iq u es I ta ke o n s et u p for the nex t round. I get th e c u ps a r ran ged a nd em pty the pitcher eq u a l l y, fe e l i n g l i ke a c hem i st. T he match gets u n d er way a nd I beg i n pra c ti c i ng my d ef l ec t io n an d di stra c ti on ski l l s. When th e ba l l b o u n c es, i t ’s l ega l to swat th e ball i n a n atte mpt to keep i t f rom l a nding in a cu p . I ’m n o t a good swatter, but I do sta rt to ta ke my shots fa ster. D a n and I wo rk o u t o u r s nea k-atta c k ti m i ng a nd t he i n stru c t i o n a l d ia l og ue of the f i rst rou nd is re p l a c e d by l o u der sm a c k ta l k a nd l a u ghter. M i ke ma ke s a dem a nd conc er ni ng cup re a rra n ge me nt , a s Nata l i e el i m i nates t hem - h o u s e, d i a m o n d, l ong duc k dong . I t hrow a b a l l t h at w h i z zes a round the i nsi de rim of th e c u p a n d Nata l i e prom ptl y bl ows on t he b a l l to t r y to keep thei r l ea d. O bviously, th i s is n ’t h e r f i rst tr i p to the beer-pong ta b l e . I t i s n ’t m uc h l onger before Dan a n d I take t h e l ea d. Unex pec tedl y, Mike k n o cks ove r o n e of our c ups. Beer spills al l

over t he table and onto t he floor. D an fetches a wet rag from t he bar te n d er. Game play pauses. My shoes remain d r y. I ponder if you could install a towel b ar to always have a rag on hand to wipe up s p ills . The table took a beat ing t his round an d s o did Mike and Natalie. One cup left an d my shot goes in wit h no hesitat ion or teas in g. I feel like a winner! I am buoyant ! Pitcher 3 – All senses alive We take our t ime sett ing up t he last ro u n d . Bat hroom breaks and a pizza order we re higher priorit ies. During our lull , I as k Mike when he first played beer p o n g. When he reveals t hat he was fiftee n years old, I’m even more curious. This is a gam e t hat needs beer, space, t ime, and leaves behind booze-scented t rash. I gu es s it ’s one way to st retch a case of beer, b u t I don’t recall hav ing t hat much t ime as an underage imbiber to experiment wit h o p e n intoxicant s in a sett ing wit h enoug h s p ace for a ping-pong table. In college , h o u s e part ies had maximum capacit y crowd s . Th e k itchen table was a good spot for q u ar te rs and card games like President , but I d o n ’t recall any house being k nown for b e erpong part ies. Beer pong seem s to be better suited for a gro u p t h at want s to hang out and n o t b e bot hered by ot her dist ract io n s . My enlightened understan d in g of t he game leads me to t h e conclusion t hat halfh ear ted part icipat ion is unacceptab le. A quick scan of t he bar fo r t h e first t ime makes me awa re t h at we’re no longer t he only v is ito rs to t he S in Bin. I’m curious if st ran ge rs ever challenge each ot her to p lay beer pong like dart s or pool ? H ow does one claim dibs on t he beer p o n g table? A re we tak ing too lo n g to decide tonight ’s beer pong c h am ps ? J ust as t he act ion get s under way, t h e bar owner wanders over. A song f ro m his teenage years plays. We all take

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g u ess e s at w h o i s si ng i ng . Nata l i e says, “ In cu b u s ,” a n d i s awa rded a shot for her mu sic - t r i vi a m aster y. M i ke downs t he sh o t an d t h rows the nex t ba l l i n r hy t hmic se q u e n c e . C o nversati on a bout con cert s a n d favo r ite b ands ensues. T he pa c e of t he ga me fe e l s m o re natura l to m e. Anot her p ew b al l n ee d s to be saved. I’m di sgusted w h e n I s ee a p iec e of ha i r f l oati ng in t he cu p af ter Nata l i e wa shes the g r i m e off t he b a l l . I ’m s u r p r i sed the beer- pong supply p a c k d o e s n ’t inc l ude ha nd sa ni ti zer or h a n d i - w ip e s . Woul dn’t a n a utomated Pu re ll d is p en s e r l ook ni c e ta ki ng up space n ex t to t h e j u kebox? Nata l i e i s o n f i re a nd w i ns the last ro u n d w i t h h er sol i d a i m a nd m ost sober d esi g n at i o n . Mi ke ha s been dr i nki ng all o f th e b ee r fo r thei r tea m , but i t doesn’t a p p ea r to b e a puni shm ent. D a n a nd I are l a u g h in g as we ta ke tur ns ti ppi ng ba ck t he l a st stan d i n g c u ps i n record ( for us) t ime. We a l l exc h a n ge exubera nt hi g h f i ves and savo r o u r p iz za rewa rd. C o mfo r tab l y s eated w i th no beer pong ta b l e b et wee n us, we j oke a bout the game

highlight s and chat more about our favo r ite music. Even t hough t he point of t h e n ight out was to play some beer pong , it fee ls more like an effort less double-date. A few days after we played t his historic match , I realized t hat it ’s also a relaxed, fun way to spend t ime gett ing to k now anot her co u p le and t heir beer-pong past . We didn ’t n ee d to call it a date night , but it sure felt like one. My first taste of beer pong – satisf yin g , relaxed, friendly, and headache-free , u nt il t he nex t morning. While I don’t th in k I ’ll sign up for t he nex t beer pong tour n am e nt or bar league, it sure is a fun t ime . L et ’s make plans for anot her foursome s o o n .

Facebook group of the month: PORTOPONG

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Master Debaters Rubber vs. Foam

Ready to be fully wrong, nancy boy? Rubber balls. Hands down.

Alright, old man, prepare to feel the wrath and fury of FOAM. I know you wore a helmet as a kid, but getting hit with a rubber ball makes you feel alive. Because the object of the game is to be hit? Right... The skill comes in the dodge. Try not losing it when a rubber ball is flying at your face. The skill is in the throw, and with foam balls, it requires a true athelete to handle one. Foam also requires a lot more effort. Anyone can throw a rubber ball hard and fast. I don’t like the idea of playing in a league that requires INSURANCE for its participants. Whatever. It’s also old school. Foam dodgeballs sound like something a concerned parent came up with. ‘Cause old equals good? Rubber balls could have been designed by Joseph Mengele for all we know. Dude, what did I say about Nazi references? Enough already. Sorry. That’s the last one. Anyway, foam balls are now standard in most rec leagues. That standard is guided by protecting players from getting injured. And that’s a bad thing? All I have to say is: if it ain’t got that sting, it ain’t the real thing. We’re not ready to decide on this one, so we’ll need a little assist from you the readers. Just jump onto the message board and let your voice be heard. The votes will be tallied and results posted in the July issue. Last month, we pitted Beirut versus Beer Pong, and the winner was unsurprisingly Beer Pong. Despite the valiant defense put up on behalf of Beirut, it was beaten handily like a rented mule. From now on, historical references are no longer acceptable for games involving plastic cups and light beer. Master Debaters message board 29


SP E E D B AL L ! ( not th e d ru g ) by Pa u l O ’M a ra Eve r h eard o f speedba l l ? No, not h eroin a n d co cai n e to gether i n the sa m e sy ringe, a l so s o met im es ca l l ed snow ba l l i n g , or p ower b al l i n g ( or m oonroc ks w hen sm oked). No r a m I refer r i ng to the type of pa int ball ca l l e d s p e ed b al l . Th i s s p e ed b a l l com bi nes, i nto a single sp o rt , t h e d r i b bl i ng a nd ki c ki ng of s occer, th e catc h in g and throw i ng of ba sket ball, a n d t h e k i c k ing , pa ssi ng , a nd catching o f foo t b al l . By bei ng fa i r l y unknown and re q u ir i n g s u c h va r i ed ski l l s, the ga me is a g re at e q u a l i zer for students i n j uni or high a n d h ig h s c h o o l physi ca l educati on c l asses, w h e re i t ’s p r i m ar i l y pl ayed. “ Th o s e ki d s w h o a re athl eti c str ug g l e wit h it b eca u s e o f t h e di fferent r ul es a nd ki ds who a re n o t a s g i f te d thr i ve i n the ga m e d ue to i ts c raz i n e s s ,” sa i d Jen M a rsha l l , physical ed u cat i o n tea c her a nd hea l th tea c her at L ev i P. D o d ge Mi ddl e Sc hool i n Fa r m i n gton, M i ch i gan . “I love the fa st- pa c ed tempo of th e gam e a n d t he students l i ke i t because i t ’s s o met h in g di fferent for them to play.” Perh aps s u r p r i si ng l y, the ga m e ha s been a ro u n d s in c e the ea r l y 1920s. It was d eve lo p e d by E l m er D. M i tc hel l at t he Un i vers i t y o f M i c hi ga n D i rec tor of t he 30

Depart ment of Int ramural S port s at t h e universit y and an A ssociate Pro fe s s o r of Physical Educat ion. It ’s said t h at h e wanted an act ive team game t hat co u ld be played outdoors in t he fall, co m b in e d many of t he element s found in o t h e r sport s, and was inexpensive to admin iste r. His st udent s k new basket ball, but d id n ’t like soccer much. Foot ball, mea nwh ile , didn’t get enough of t he players invo lve d on a cont inual basis. Thus, speedb all was created. How to Play S peedball can be played indoo rs o r outdoors, t y pically by t wo 11 -p ers o n teams. Outdoors, it ’s usually playe d wit h a soccer-t y pe ball, while indoors a r u b b er ball is used. S ome games consist o f fo u r 8-minute quarters, while ot hers t wo lo n ger halves. Players roam around t he field of p lay in cont inuous mot ion wearing flag-belt s like t hose we’ve all used when play ing gam e s like, flag foot ball or capt ure t he flag. Two key concept s wit hin speedball help exp lain what players do while running aroun d : t h e “air ball” and t he “ground ball.” A n air ball means it ’s caught in t he air o ff


o f th e fo o t o f you or a nother pl ayer. Once th e b a l l is in yo ur ha nds, you ca n r un, t hrow i t, p a s s i t , o r t r y to score. If the opposing te a m p u ll s t h e fl a g off your bel t whi le you h ave t h e b al l , t hen the other tea m get s to ta ke a n i n d i rec t ki c k f rom that spot on t he g ro u n d . T h o u g h i f desi red, thi s r ul e can be reve rs e d an d t he ca r r i er keeps possession a n d get s a k ic k . In som e va r i ati ons, players ca n o n ly ta ke one step i f catc hi ng t he b a l l w h il e stat i ona r y a nd j ust two steps if catch in g o n t h e r un. I t ’s wo r t h n o t ing that, a s i s the ca se wit h ma ny o bs c u re and “ unoff i c i a l ” spor ts, rules ca n va r y a n d even be c ha nged ba sed on how p l ay is p ro g re s s i ng w i th those i nvol ved, or th e s p ec if ic s k il l bei ng foc used on. “ We m ake a co upl e of m odi f i cati ons to t he ga me to m ake i t wor k w i th the di fferent d y n a m ic s in a c l a ss, f rom yea r to year,” sa i d Bi l l M il l e r, physi ca l educati on teacher at Th e Wel l i n gton Sc hool i n C ol umbus, Oh i o . A f te r f irst pl ayi ng i t a s a student at Th e O h i o S tate Uni versi ty, M i l l er ’s been te a ch i n g s p ee d ba l l to the sc hool ’s upper a n d mi d d l e P E c l a sses for a bout 20 years. So, th e n w h at about g round ba l l s? A ground b a l l is w h en t he ba l l touc hes the g round a n d is stat i o n a r y, rol l i ng , or bounc i n g. At th i s p o int , s p e edba l l som ewhat tur ns into re g u la r s o c c er. T he ba l l ca nnot be p layed w i th t h e h a n d s or a ny pa r t of the a r m s, and mu st b e k ic ked or bounc ed off the body. Pl ayers d r ib b l e the ba l l w i th thei r feet d ow n t h e f i eld to score or set up a n a ir ball to a tea m mate .

Like in soccer, t he goalie is allowed to p ick up t he ball off t he ground any where in t h e penalt y box. The goalie can run out o f t h e box and attempt to score, but his/ h er f lag belt s can t hen be pulled like any o t h er player. Scoring is done in one of three ways: • F ield goal: 5 point s for k ickin g t h e ball t hrough t he upright s of goa l p o st s (or whatever is being used as goal p o st s , whet her it ’s t he area above soccer go als o r tape on a gy m wall). • Drop k ick : 3 point s for k i ckin g a soccer goal (i.e., k icked under t he cro s s b ar and bet ween t he upright s) from a gro u n d ball or a missed field goal. • Touchdown: 1 point for runnin g ove r t he goal line for a touchdown or t h rowin g t he ball to a teammate behind t h e go al line. In some rules t he point s will instea d b e 3 , 2, and 1, respect ively, or even be revers ed . For example, if a PE teacher want s st u d e nt s to work on t heir running and t h rowin g more t han k ick ing , he or she woul d m ake touchdowns wort h more, and t he st u d ent s would t hereby be more likely to t r y fo r t hose instead. However t he scoring is s et up, t here’s a lot of it . “It is ex t remely high-scoring and on e team is never really out of it , since mu lt ip le

Th ere is o n e fo rm of ba l l m ovem ent unique to s p ee d b a l l : the over hea d dr i bble. A p l ayer ca n t h row the ba l l up a nd then run a n d catc h it b efore i t str i kes the g round. I t ’s e s s e nt ia l l y an a i r ba l l to one’s self. But th e r u l es u s u al l y a l l ow a pl ayer to d o t his o n l y o n c e d u r i ng hi s/her possessi on of t he b a l l . A n d agai n , r ul es va r y, so som e don’t even al l ow t h e over hea d dr i bbl e at all. 31


p o i nt s ca n b e awa rded for di fferent k inds o f go a l s ,” s a i d M i l l er. Th e ga m e sta r t s wi th ei ther a f ree kick or (l i ke in b as ket ba l l ) a j um p ba l l f rom t he ce nte r o f t h e f iel d or cour t. A j um p ball ca n a l s o b e u s ed to put the ba l l ba c k into p l ay af ter t h e score ha s been ti ed up, if th e re are o ff- setti ng pena l ti es, or when th e refe re e cannot deter m i ne w ho get s th e b a l l . A f ter a score, l i ke i n soc c er t he sco red - u p o n tea m gets the ba l l at halff i el d fo r a k i c k off. B eyon d b re ak i n g these va r i ous r ul es, ot her v i o l at io n s are m ostl y of the com m on-sense ki n d . I ll e ga l u s e of the ha nds, pushing , a h a n d b a l l , o r intenti ona l l y pul l i ng off t he f l a g s o f a p layer not i n possessi on of an air b a l l re s u lt in an i ndi rec t ki c k off the g round fo r t h e o t h er tea m . Unspor tsm anlike co n d u c t , d e lay of ga m e, or da ngerou s play p en al t i e s g i ve the opponent a “ f ree play ” w h e re t h ey ca n r un, pa ss, shoot, or kick th e ba l l , u n co ntested. B u t h o ld o n : a m a zi ng l y, that ’s not yet all th e r u le s ! Wh en pl ayi ng outdoors on a so cce r f ield , a few m ore soc c er- l i ke a s pect s a re a d d ed . Fo r exa m pl e, m i ssed sh ot s at th e go al re s u l t i n goa l ki c ks, throw- i ns are d o n e w h en t h e ba l l goes out of bounds, and co rn e r k i c ks are awa rded w hen the defense ki c ks o r t h rows the ba l l over thei r own end l i n e. A ll j u st li ke soc c er. Th ere a re a l s o a few i ndoor- spec i f i c rules. Al l pe n al t y ki c ks a re i ndi rec t rega rdless o f th e i nf ra c t ion. ( For those obl iv ious to so c c er r u les, “ i ndi rec t ” m ea ns t he b a l l h as to to u c h som eone af ter the kick b efo re p o int s ca n be scored.) T he goals a re t yp ical l y t um bl i ng m ats sta ndi n g up at o p p o s ite en ds of the g ym , or large re cta n g l e s o u t li ned by ta pe on the walls. An d w h i l e p l ayers ca n catc h a i r ba l l s off t he si d e wal l s , i f t he ba l l touc hes the c eiling , p l ay sto ps a n d the tea m that di dn’t hit t he ce i l i ng is awa rded a n i ndi rec t ki c k direct ly u n d e r t h e s p o t where i t hi t. 32

Complicated? Yes. But Worth It. “I remember a lot of k ids hav ing pro b lem s keeping t he rules st raight – esp ecially in terms of when you can touch t h e b all wit h your hands,” says J ohn Van S lyke, a Milwaukee resident who played in h is school days. “Of course, when you ’re in junior high, hav ing your classmates m es s up and get frust rated is at least h alf t h e fun of any act iv it y.” The complicated nat ure of speed b all is certainly a challenge, but for it s prop o n ent s t hat ’s far out weighed by t he st re n gt h s : uniqueness, quick and frequent pos s es s io n changes, and t he abilit y to inco r p o rate ever yone into t he flow of t he game . “ The t hing kids like about speedbal l i s t h at it is a ‘new ’ game [to t hem] t hat em p loys a unique and challenging combinat io n o f so many different sk ills t hat t hey lear n growing up play ing various yout h s p o r t s ,” says J ohn Pamperin, teacher in t he Sch o o l Dist rict of Bellev ille, a small rural d ist r ict located in sout h-cent ral Wisconsin. “ I t can be ver y compet it ive, yet encourage s team s to learn to work toget her. The game als o accommodates a variet y of at hlet ic ab ilit y levels.” But wit h complicated rules, no profes s io n al league, and seemingly few int ram u ral leagues, speedball might be one spo r t t h at is dest ined to remain relat ively obs cu re . “It ’s a great sport to t ie a lot o f s kills toget her, but I remember it as som et h in g we learned how to play and t hen o n ly went back to infrequent ly,” says Van Slyke . “Because it ’s a mash-up of sport s wit h many rules, it can be confusing. Wh o want s to have to t hink t hat much when p layin g somet hing for fun? ” If you t hink you’re up to t he challen ge , get a few friends toget her and t r y spee d b all. (But not t he drug. Drugs are bad.)


1/2 PAGE...

by Jodi Neitzel

Kan Jam is played with a disc and two “Kans” aka, goals, set 50-feet apart. The game is played in teams of two, alternating as thrower and deflector. The object of the game is to score points by throwing/deflecting the disc and hitting or entering the goal. A disc toss determines which team throws first; the winner typically chooses to throw last, known as “The Hammer.” An equal number of turns are played, similar to innings in baseball. Partners stand at opposite goals, alternating throwing and deflecting. One partner throws the flying disc toward the Kan and the other partner, the “deflector”, helps guide it towards or into the goal. Teams score points with direct hits to the Kan or deflecting the disc in the goal. A redirected hit by the deflector is called a Dinger- worth 1 point, a direct hit to the Kan by the thrower is 2 points- Deuce, and a drop in the Kan is worth 3 points- a Bucket. Deflectors cannot double-hit, catch, or carry the disc. Deflectors can move anywhere within the playing area to redirect the disc, but throwers must stand behind the goal area to throw. The game ends when a team scores exactly 21 points or an “Instant Win” is scored, which occurs when a disc is successfully thrown through the front slot of the Kan. The 2010 World Championship is being held August 14 in North Tonawanda, New York. Event organizers expect over 250 teams. Go to their website to learn more: www.kanjam.com

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PERSONALS Women Seeking Men

I like to be squished, stepped Let’s play office. I’ll be the on, and squeezed. Tough on the secretary and you are the outside with a soft middle. Use boss. You can jam up my Inbox me for any purpose, but don’t anytime. I take great dictation. treat me like a rubber ball. I like Don’t forget to tell me you need to be held. Let’s make contact. it on your desk in the morning. #85903 #83493 Need a body painter partner for Single-girl looking for someone to the world naked bike ride events help butter her muffins. Seriously, in June. Hoping to cycle nude in I broke my elbow. I need help at least two rides. Would love to ride painted together, but with a lot of things. #9762 understand if you’re not ready to I’m looking for a sugar daddy and bare it all. #54011 I’m not talking about the candy. I like to buy things and don’t like I like foam. Not latex foam. Just to work. Want to support me as I foam. Give me some foamy love work for a magazine that doesn’t and you won’t be disappointed. pay my mortgage? Picking up bar Don’t squirrel around, just call. #492187 tabs is a big plus. #80920 Lost is over and I am looking for my Hurley. Must be big and lovable with an ability to work the word “dude” into any conversation. Being a lottery winner doesn’t hurt. I am serious about the Hurley thing, I am into it. #957312

Men Seeking Men New bar in town I would love to take someone to soon. I’m on the prowl for a big bad grizzly bear. Rarrrr! #73820

Looking for that special someone or want to leave us a message? EMAIL US domination. You- not fat, must be hot, good at sports, willing to take orders and pick me up when too drunk to drive. No naggers.

Group Play Looking for a foursome? Look no further. Cool couple with good table manners seeking M/F or F/F couple to play some beer pong. No experience required, but must be willing to blow or finger for your team. #73820

Missed Connections I showed you my barbwire tattoo around my arm and you told me it was stupid. When the bar closed you gave me a ride home and I must have left my wallet in your car. I never got your name or phone number. I hope to find you. I had to cancel my credit cards because there was an expensive bill from Dairy Queen. #73820

Classified

Get out of my dreams and into Never picked first, ridiculed, or my 1983 Honda Civic. $175 or told to take a shower? We were best offer. #95782 meant to be together. Call me for Men Seeking Women some indoor games. You bring For sale, slightly used Copas. the rubber balls, I’ll steal the Minor wear & tear. Nothing a roll 5 men looking for 3 women who bacon. #21129 of tape couldn’t fix. Asking $50. wouldn’t mind taking some balls #75930 to the face. We might even play Searching for my Kickball Queendodgeball too. #62717 Me- awesome at life: aka - kickball

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


FINAL WORD

TORN

by Daniel B Glass

I s a w y o u lying there.

B e a t e n , worn, torn, tattered a n d t a p e d. T o n g u e h anging out. E x h a u s t e d.

1 5 y e a r s of comfort. Gone.

I t ’ s t i m e. Sorry,

A m a z o n h ad a sale.

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SPORTS OBSCURE magazine Coming Up Next Month: Quitting - A guest contributor quits one obscure sport to play another Mind bender - what goes through this kickballer’s head before he kicks wiffleball - more than meets the eye virgin territory - Jodi gets hooked on kickball

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Obscure Sports Magazine - June 2010