George and Sam Hancock, the Founders of ChairBall.
only real point of playing ChairBall is to splatter the concrete with
the blood of your opponents. I wanted to go ahead and get that out in
the open from the beginning, because I want to leave you with no
illusions. ChairBall isnít a game for the weak-stomached.
When a few guys at my school suggested I take a look at ChairBall, I happily complied. The best article topic I had at the time was about electronic computer-controlled teddy bears slowly crushing humanity under their cushiony-soft grip of terror (see left), and ChairBall sounded far more promising. With a name as generic as ChairBall, though, I feared somebody somewhere would have already taken the name and applied to another (perhaps more legitimate) sport. So I did some research, and discovered that my fears were true.
they were embodied by a group of harmless looking Texas A&M girls. I
found this ChairBall, which predates my schoolís ChairBall, on a
website covered in moving .gifs, animated cursors, and little heart
graphics. Not hardcore. And so I dismissed it as not being a liability
risk, sent a threatening e-mail to the girl holding the bucket in the
picture, and never informed the school's ChairBall community. Instead, I
visited the dorms for a game.
is a fairly simple game. Players split up into small teams, and line up
on a concrete court. Each end of the court has a ramp, a chair, and a
line that the team on offense canít cross.
DropĒ occurs at the beginning of play, or after a goal. When the ball
is dropped, the two teams scramble for control, and are allowed to do
literally anything they want to score, including using bystanders as
human projectiles, and throwing bricks. The ball can be moved down the
court through any means, but scoring is slightly more complicated. The
chairs act as the goals: Hitting the chair from behind the boundary line
earns a team 1 point, though the shot must first bounce off the ground.
Rolling the ball through the legs of the chair earns the team 2 points.
Throwing the ball through the open space in the back of the chair (see
below) gets 3 points. In addition, players can roll the ball up the
ramps at either end, positioned in front of the chairs, and do any of
these things for double points.
Note: Raptor goalie digitally added for increased coolness.
this open-ended method of gameplay leaves much room for strategy, ChairBall
games typically involve little more than the infliction of pain. Our
game was a classic match-up between two classically hardcore groups,
guys who wear camo, and guys who wear Goodwill blazers. One team can
perfectly blend into their surrounding in a ninja-like fashion, while
the other is stylish and has the security of knowing that they paid 50
cents for their clothing.
the camo teamís resounding victory, I returned to the dorms to
interview the players. Several of the boarders joined us as I
interviewed Sam and Walter, though Walter did the majority of the
talking. I sensed a frightening anger deep within Sam from the
beginning, and soon discovered that his ChairBall skill was due to a
lifetime of pent up frustrations.
I pretended to
take notes during the interview, but actually drew little pictures of
animals and a robot. So though the following interview is for the most
part accurate, there may be some slight discrepancies. I had to get that
out of the way beforehand; Iím not going to be accused of being a
total liar over a game of ChairBall
and a drawing of a kitty.
guys, what was it that inspired you to create ChairBall?
Walter: Being a
Sam: Yeah, we
Originally, the game was played with one goal, and was more like
bowling. We decided we wanted something more hardcore.
Sam: We wanted
Walter: We were
all about the hardcore.
brought me a social life. Itís allowed me to pick up the hot women. I
had to fire my old ones.
point, Iíve obviously stopped asking questions. Iím letting them
talk as I continue my artwork Ė Now Iíve moved on from the kitty,
and am carefully crafting a ducky. And while Iím doing this, Iím
wondering why the same song, Van Halenís ďPanama,Ē has been
playing on the computer across the hall since Iíve been in the dorms.
So how has the game evolved since its creation?
we wanted it to be fast, furious, and hardcore. We donít like pansy
sports. It was like professional wrestling, sort of an ongoing redneck
soap opera, but we dropped that for the full-contact approach. Wrestlers
arenít hardcore enough.
Sam: Hey Walter,
why donít you stop talking?
the violent tension that makes ChairBall such a great game was beginning
to show, even through their repeated use of the word ďhardcore.Ē
didnít get much further through the interview, because mere minutes
into it, a full-scale battle erupted, which I suspect tore a wide path
of destruction through that particular dorm. If you were trying to sleep
in an adjacent room, the founders of ChairBall have agreed to pay for
any property damage done.