Wireball is an extremely fast and exciting street sport typically formed in urban neighborhoods of the United States, typically formed as a pickup game after dark. The main equipment consists of an inflatable pink or teal ball with a handy location in a parking lot or street where an electrical power line or buried electric power line bisects horizontally. There are generally three rules, the first being “no running”. This is meant to restrict players to their space and speed, since excessive speed will only risk injury.
Two types of balls are used in this game: halfballs and pigs. Halfballs are shaped like a soccer ball with two hollow ends, which makes them very difficult for a ball handler to handle. The second type of ball used in the game of wireball is pigskin. Pigskin is made from strips of skin, which are weighted, and is quite smooth, making it more difficult for the ball to grip.
The game of wireball can be split into two distinct sub divisions: the blindfolded game and the rowhouse game. In a blindfolded game, the players are not able to see one another, and there is only one referee. Each player is designated a “ball” (a small hollow sphere) to carry. The “ball” is then moved around the field by each player until it comes in contact with either a rowhouse or a wall. When the ball comes into contact with either of these obstacles, a ballpoint pen or plastic stick is fired, either on the side of the “ball” or on top of it. The match results are announced through a box score board.
When playing in a rowhouse game, there are no referees to call a foul. There are only the ball, the rohrump (which resemble a cannonball), and the deadbox. The ball is moved by the force of “rummumped” air. The gearbox is simply a box covered in a cloth and filled with a type of powdered substance that prevents the ball from rolling back towards the shooter. There are typically four to six pockets on the inside of the gearbox, which are occupied by balls that have rolled back towards the shooters.
One interesting variation on the wireball theme is the street ball.
In this version, the players wear special costumes (usually skid-resistant ones) and take turns shooting at each other from various distances. They do not have to keep score with a watchful eye in the stands like the game calls for. Instead, each player shoots at the other from a particular area on the street; the winner is the player who fires the farthest distance between two points on the opposing team.
The stickball and rowhouse variations are similar, except for the goal. For the stickball game, each team tries to earn the control of a large “stick” ball, which is colored red and is used to represent the “ball”. The objective of the rowhouse game is similar to the stickball game, except that the players must use the “roof” or bottom of their stick to shoot at the ball. The rules of the game are the same as those of the stickball game.
Since there is no referee in most street games, players are allowed to run up and down the field to try to hit the ball. The exception to this rule is if a player is hit by a ball that is moving faster than they can move. If the hit player stops moving, they are out. There are some variations on these themes, however, including the trench game, where players are required to line up and bang heads until someone hits the ground, or the “trench game”, in which players hide behind a trench or other object until the last man, or team, hits the ground.
In general, playing wireball with friends and family is a lot of fun. Because the game is so fast-paced and active, players can take turns and stay in each others’ company for as long as they want. They can also play to their own skill level, depending on how experienced they feel they are with the particular variations of the game they have chosen.
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