Tales from the pitch: Hallway Beach-ball Soccer

One of the great things about little kids is they can make a game out of anything. Especially if that game involves kicking a ball inside the house. So during the ice and snowmegeddon of this latest Knoxville winter, Hallway Beach-ball Soccer (HBS) was born. In truth Frank and I have played this since he was but a wee lad. But the game finally took official form this winter.

A simple game really. There are a few small scoring intricacies that must be mastered, but all in all anyone can be taught to play HBS in short order. Becoming an All-Star or achieving immortality by being enshrined in the HBS Hall of Fame, well that’s another story all together. While college scholarships abound, only .01 of 1% ever turn pro.

The Pele of Hallway Futbol

The Pele of Hallway Futbol? Maybe

The HBS rules are basic and few. Like all international futbol, no hands, ever. In HBS there is no out of bounds. Walls, kitchen, bedrooms, bathrooms, garage – all in play. This makes the first rule more daunting. No hands ever means just what it says.

If we’re on Frank’s home field, the upstairs hallway, and the ball finds its way down the staircase, oh well. No hands, ever – got to kick it up the stairs. If the ball somehow ends up in the tub, no hands. Gotta use the dogs (feet) to extricate the ball.

If we’re on my home field, downstairs hall between the front and back doors, and the ball gets stuck under the kitchen table, not my problem. No hands, ever.

It’s really not that bad, for me. Sucks for the kid but hey it was all his idea. I’m just enforcing the rules already in place. Now the scoring can get a little squirrely. The rules for scoring vary from pitch to pitch.

Took one in the beak.

Took one in the beak while on camera duty.

Upstairs for instance, Frank scores a goal by kicking it past me into my bedroom. And none of this stupid NFL nonsense of breaking the plane of the goal line. No. Like hockey, tennis, and The Premier League, the entire ball must cross the entirety of the doorway.

Now for me to score the ball must be kicked past Frank and it must strike the wall at the end of the hallway. If some dirty laundry happens to be laying there, as it serves for my staging area on wash day, and the ball strikes the laundry against the wall – no goal. The surface of the ball must make contact with the surface of the wall.

I’m thinking of installing a pressure sensitive device in the wall that would be connected to the hallway lights. Yes I believe the little chooch is cheating me.

Downstairs is a completely different story, a slightly easier story. Since both doors have welcome mats inside the door the scoring system is the same for both of us. An HBS goal is scored when the entirety of the ball crosses the mat. The ball can enter the mat from any direction and the mat extends from the floor to the ceiling. In other words if the ball flies in the air across the mat in it’s entirety a goal is deemed to have been scored. The game ends when a HBS player scores 10 goals.

Hey man Hallway Beachball Soccer ain’t for the faint of heart. You gotta want it. I’ve lost 2-3 pounds during some games and gone dehydrated more than once. Games can go on forever, like a cricket match.

As I said this is a game Frank and I have played from the time he could kick a ball. And yet he seems no better at it. And you’d think by now he would be used to it when I yell GOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL! every time I score. Nope. He still gets mad. Ah well the learning curve is long with this one. The other kid however…

One on the way!

One on the way!

Anne Marie has taken to HBS like a fish to water. Kicking a ball inside, screaming, running up and down the hall, kicking daddy in the leg, what’s not to love? And she can kick it.

Plus she isn’t as sensitive as the other one. She can take me gloating and my commentary as the game rolls on. However she’s not nearly as coordinated as her brother. So every once in a while she follows through too much and kicks a door jam.

But the kid is tough. Of course she has that whole “can’t feel pain in her outer extremities” thing going for her but still she will literally shake it off. I have to sing what’s her name’s Shake It Off song, but the trade off is worth it. AM shakes her foot and the game resumes.

Hey, it’s just one of the elements that separates the HBS men from the HBS boys, or girls in this case. Can you kick a wooden structure full force, shake it off, and get back in the game? Those that can weave a legacy in the annals of Hallway Beach-ball Soccer. Those that can’t end up on the trash heap of HBS history.

Taunting me after a goal. She learns quick.

Taunting me after a goal. She learns quick.

We haven’t figured how to incorporate an audience yet. When we do, season ticket sales will be coming to a Stub Hub near you. Of course our merchandising hasn’t quite got the traction we were hoping for. Beach balls aren’t as popular as they used to be. Go figure.

I think we need a logo. Anyone who knows anything about the NBA knows that Hall of Famer and L.A. Lakers great Jerry West is the figure in the NBA logo. And that’s one of the best in the business.

I think HBS could go that way. The pic to the left is my 3 year old taunting me by yelling GOOAAALLL! after scoring on her old man. That’s logo quality right there.

HBS Action! Shake It Off Baby!