WE present to our readers a new game of ball, which seems to have those elements in it which ought to make it popular among the Associations. It fills the same place in the gymnasium that foot ball does in the athletic field. Any number of men may play at it, and each one get plenty of exercise; at the same time it calls for physical judgment, and co-ordination of every muscle, and gives all-around development. It can be played by teams from different Associations, and combines skill with courage and agility so that the better team wins.
The ground is the gymnasium floor cleared of apparatus (it may be shoved behind the side lines), though it could be played in the open air, at a picnic, etc. When there is a running track around the gymnasium, the ground might be marked out just under the track, and the baskets hung up, one at each end on the railing. All outside of this line is then out of bounds. When there is no running track, the ends may be cleared of apparatus, and the goals fixed on the wall, then a line may be drawn along the sides of the gymnasium about six feet from the walls, or enough to clear the apparatus. Across these lines would be out of bounds.
The goals are a couple of baskets or boxes about fifteen inches in diameter across the opening, and about fifteen inches deep. These are to be suspended, one at each end of the grounds, about ten feet from the floor. The object of the game is to put the ball into your opponents' goal. This may be done by throwing the ball from any part of the grounds, with one or both hands, under the following conditions and rules:—
The ball to be an ordinary Association foot ball.
- The ball may be thrown in any direction with one or both hands.
- The ball may be batted in any direction with one or both hands (never with the fist).
- A player cannot run with the ball. The player must throw it from the spot on which he catches it, allowance to be made for a man who catches the ball when running at a good speed if he tries to stop.
- The ball must be held in or between the hands, the arms or body must not be used for holding it.
- No shouldering, holding, pushing, tripping, or striking in any way the person of an opponent shall be allowed; the first infringement of this rule by any player shall count as a foul, the second shall disqualify him until the next goal is made, or, if there was evident intent to injure the person, for the whole of the game, no substitute allowed.
- A foul is striking at the ball with the fist, violation of Rules 3, 4, and such as described in rule 5.
- If either side makes three consecutive fouls, it shall count a goal for the opponents (consecutive means without the opponents in the mean time making a foul).
- A goal shall be made when the ball is thrown or batted from the grounds into the basket and stays there, providing those defending the goal do not touch or disturb the goal. If the ball rests on the edges, and the opponent moves the basket, it shall count as a goal.
- When the ball goes out of bounds, it shall be thrown into the field of play by the person first touching it. In case of a dispute, the umpire shall throw it straight into the field. The thrower in is allowed five seconds, if he holds it longer, it shall go to the opponent. If any side persists in delaying the game, the umpire shall call a foul on that side.
- The umpire shall be judge of the men and shall note the fouls and notify the referee when three consecutive fouls have been made. He shall have power to disqualify men according to Rule 5.
- The referee shall be judge of the ball and shall decide when the ball is in play, in bounds, to which side it belongs, and shall keep the time. He shall decide when a goal has been made, and keep account of the goals with any other duties that are usually performed by a referee.
- The time shall be two fifteen minutes, halves, with five minutes' rest between.
- The side making the most goals in that time shall be declared the winner. In case of a draw, the game may, by agreement of the captains, be continued until another goal is made.
This game is interesting to spectators as well as to the players, and may be made quite scientific by good judgment combined with good co-ordination. Several good points have been scored by two or three players working together. The number composing a team depends largely on the size of the floor space, but it may range from three on a side to forty. The fewer players down to three, the more scientific it may be made, but the more players the more fun, and the more exercise for judgment.
The men may be arranged according to the idea of the captain, but it has been found advantageous to have a goal paper, two guards, three center men, two wings, and a home man stationed in the above order from the goal.
It shall be the duty of the goal keeper and the two guards to prevent the opponents from scoring. The duty of the wing man and the home man is to put the ball into the opponents' goal, and the center men shall feed the ball forward to the man who has the best opportunity, thus nine men make the best number for a team.
It is well suited for boys. Director Finch has introduced it in his boys' classes with apparent success. We wish that the physical directors would try the game, and report any points that might be amended.
It is intended that this game should be free from much of the reputed roughness of Rugby, and in the framing of rules this has been kept strictly in view. If some of the rules seem unnecessarily sever, it will remembered that the time to stop roughness is before it begins.
A gymnasium is bounded by hard walls, and has a pretty solid floor, and for that reason, any shoving that would injure a person must be stopped, e.g., when a man raises his arms to throw the ball, another might give him the shoulder, and disable him, but if this is stopped there will be an understanding that is it not allowed. It is for the benefit of the physical director that no man be hurt in his gymnasium, so that any director who tries it should make every man conform to the rules strictly at first, and then he would soon get accustomed to playing ball instead of trying to injure his neighbor, when it is nothing but a friendly tussle in which they are taking part.
The very men who are rough in playing will be the very first ones to oppose the game on this account, for there is that in man's nature which will retaliate, and the rough player generally gets the worst of the roughness. If there is need for such a game, let it be played as any other game of science and skill, then men will value it. But there is neither science nor skill in taking a man unawares, and shoving him, or catching his arm and pulling him away, when he is about to catch the ball. A dog could do as much as that.
There seemed to be now way of compensating the opponents for a foul made. A free throw was thought of, but, after a little practice, a good thrower could convert it into a goal almost every time, because of the limits of the ordinary gymnasium. Then the idea was that three fouls would count as a goal, and would be a deterrent to the making of them. This is true, for when a team finds that another foul would count a goal against them, the extra foul is hardly ever made, showing that it is possible to play the game without making fouls.
If men will not be gentlemanly in their play, it is our place to encourage games that may be played gentlemen in a manly way, and show them that science is superior to brute force with a disregard for the feelings of others. The umpire will thus be responsible for much of the roughness if he lets it go unchecked, but if he is firm and impartial in his ruling he will gain the respect even of those who suffer at the time.
We would advise the director to keep a good firm grasp on the ruling for a while at first.