Championship Slamball Tournament Set to Break Viewership Ratings Record

Wade Nodine

SlamBall is a relatively new sport, created by Mason Gordon towards the turn of the millennium. A first exhibition series was played in 2001 between the Chicago Mob and the Los Angeles Rumble, two teams that still compete today. While still a relatively new and unknown sport, it is quickly gaining traction in popular culture, and more teams are being established, including local teams.

Two such teams, the Philadelphia Four and the Durham Dunkers, will be facing each other over the next few weeks. Being small, local teams, the SlamBall League is hopeful that this is the start of something new, which essentially is for the sport to really take off on a national level. The two teams, meanwhile, are very excited about the games that will take place.

"A common tactic, therefore, is to try and force errors. Obviously, we aren't saying that this is what we will be doing!"

James Jogerst

What Attracted People to the Sport

James Jogerst, handler for the Philadelphia Four, says, "I think SlamBall suddenly came to the attention of the public in 2009, 20 years after the movie Back to the Future Part II, because SlamBall was actually mentioned in it. Then, in 2015, which was the year that Marty McFly actually traveled in the original Back to the Future, there was a hype about the things that were mentioned in the trilogy. In fact, this was what attracted me to the sport at first."

Jeffrey Powlowsky, stopper for the Durham Dunkers, agrees with Jogerst, "I couldn't believe it when I found out SlamBall was actually a game. I was a college football player and was approached by the Dunkers' coach and asked me if I would be interested in playing SlamBall. Always interested in new things, I gave it a go, and the rest, as they say, is history."

What Makes SlamBall Different

Both the Four and the Dunkers have been playing extensively this season, and they have started to attract national attention. The game is very similar to basketball, but changes in certain rules, including number of allowed fouls and length of games, makes it very different. Of course, the real difference between SlamBall and basketball is the addition of the trampolines.

The Four's manager, Wade Nodine, says, "Obviously, the trampolines are what make SlamBall such a unique and fun sport. In terms of participating and in terms of watching it, a lot of people say it reminds them to a certain degree the legendary skills of the Harlem Globetrotters, but they have to remember that SlamBall is serious and not just a display sport."

SlamBall Tactics

The two teams will go head to head later this month, and neither is revealing much about the tactics they will employ. It is quite common in the sport, however, for teams to try to make the other side commit a foul. The Dunkers' manager, James Jogerst says, "Just as with basketball, you are only allowed so many personal fouls, in this case it is three, before you are removed from the match. A common tactic, therefore, is to try and force errors. Obviously, we aren't saying that this is what we will be doing!"

The players of both teams have been training very hard over the last few weeks. The sport requires skill, speed, agility, and an excellent aim. If an offensive player who has the ball is checked in the back by a defensive player, it is classed as a foul resulting in a face-off. Hence, players have been training their movement skills and dodging skills, as this is a kind of foul that is easy to commit.

Jerome Borkan, stopper for the Four, says, "One of the things we have been practicing is to avoid stepping or bouncing on the same trampoline. We've been watching the Dunkers' games, and it seems that whomever they play against seems to commit that particular foul quite often. It is all too easy to force two players towards the trampoline, leaving them with nowhere to go but onto the trampoline."

A range of other fouls and offenses can be committed during a game of SlamBall. However, both teams are focusing on playing their best possible game. This particular match is believed to be an important one, as it will help to raise the profile of the sport as a whole. The Four's manager, Wade Nodine, adds, "We are really hoping to make sure that more people get to know this fantastic sport. There is a huge recruitment drive going on, not in the least because the players we have today have been around for almost 10 years now. We want some fresh blood, and we want to make sure people actually know about the sport as a whole."

The players from both teams agree that there should be a greater focus on marketing the sport, making it more attractive to the general public.

Hans Geise, forward of the four, plans to exclusively guard Elena Escoda, Center for the Dunkers. “By guarding Elena Escoda the entire game, we hope to eliminate her from the competition and focus on scoring instead,” Hans said.

The two teams go head to head next week in what is sure to be an entertaining matchup.

Source: James Jogerst


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