Sports are poorly engineered. Actually, most sports are not engineered at all. Things just evolved over time. That’s why our major sports are unnecessarily dangerous, expensive, and boring – at least by the standards of modern times.
Sports are still fine for watching. Actually, the spectating has never been better. But watching is not playing. It is the playing that is broken.
So I invented a new sport to solve the major problems common to most of the popular sports in America. I will be running tests on it in my backyard this summer to figure out the final rule set. I call it Castleball.
And it is a combination of the best parts of soccer, dodgeball and the video game Angry Birds.
All you need is three (or more) micro-sized soccer balls, some red safety cones, and nearly any type of playing field. Teams can be any size, and you can mix lots of skill levels on the field and still have fun.
The objective of Castleball is to kick the balls (no hands) and knock down the “castle” of the opposing team while they try to do the same. The castles are actually structures you build using little red warning cones. See photo. The castles can be any size, from smallish to gigantic, depending on the event and number of players.
If no cones are available, any durable items that won’t break on impact will work.
[If your firewall blocks this image, it is just a backyard with three micro-soccer balls and two castles made of safety cones.]
Note: Artificial grass.
You play until all cones of one castle are knocked down. Then you go again. You can agree on a winning score if you like, or just keep playing. Continuous substitutions, no stopping. And the size of the teams can change as you play. If you get too many players, add more balls and make the castles larger.
Hand-balls are not a game-stopping penalty unless you use your hands to gain advantage, such as blocking a shot or stopping a ball so you can kick it.
A variation of the game would have the kids trying to knock down castles that adults and older kids try to defend. Another variation is that the cones you knock down from the enemy castle can be added to your own castle. That makes the better team’s castle a bigger target as the game progresses, evening out things a bit.
In Castleball the spectators are part of the play. Spectators and bench players can touch an approaching game ball (but only one touch per time) to redirect it back into play if it would otherwise roll out of the play area. Likewise, they can use their hands to catch or redirect a ball back into the field. And they can do so for the advantage of the team they support. They just have to stay at the boundaries and be immediate about returning the ball to play. And they are not allowed to shoot at the castles. I call this group of boundary players the Tomato Guard because in my backyard I need spectators to keep errant balls from destroying the tomato plants on the sideline. Lots of ad-hoc fields will have some sort of boundary problem such as a busy street or a swimming pool.
Our current major sports have serious problems in the year 2015, at least for adults who want to play. Consider these examples.
Football: Dangerous and expensive. Requires special equipment. Not everyone can play. Not the best option for coed play.
Soccer: Dangerous and too hard for most adults to play. Usually the adults are just spectators while the kids enjoy themselves. And soccer has too many rules, such as off-sides, that stop play.
Volleyball: Need a special court with a special net. It is nearly impossible to get a good pickup game of volleyball because a few bad players ruin the experience. Too many delays and complicated rules about positions and scoring.
Baseball: Need a big field, lots of players, and special equipment. And it is still boring for most people as well as surprisingly dangerous for non-athletes. (Even softball generates lots of injuries.)
Running: Not very social. Surprisingly dangerous. (Distance runners have lots of injuries.) Kids and adults usually do not run together because of different abilities.
LaCrosse: Need special equipment. Dangerous. And not something the whole family plays.
Tennis: It used to be fun until the rackets and strings improved to the point where the game is now mostly waiting for someone to pick up a ball that was either a blistering winner or a big miss. And you need special courts and equipment. It is also expensive.
I could go on, but you see the point. Sports were not engineered to make sense in modern times.
With castleball, the three-ball environment should lead to fewer injuries because it makes the game more about quick reactions and being alert than about two athletes going full force for a single, heavier ball. Shin pads should be enough to keep most players of castleball safe.
That’s the basic idea. Sound fun or not?
Soon your technology will be able to identify you from any body part, not just your fingerprints. I wonder if someday my bike will be impossible to steal unless the thief has my exact ass.
Someone finally figured out a good use for all the old smartphones with cameras. You can build your own monitoring system.
And if you believe it this time, another big breakthrough in 3D camera technology.
In other news, Amazon reviewer Laurie Clarkson reminds us that graduation season is upon us and there is no more perfect gift for a grad than my book about creating systems for success. You are so wise, Laurie Clarkson!