Nelson and I have decided to snatch www.stairball.org while it is still available, and I’ve been working on getting content up today. I’m also updating links around the web that pointed to the old site at ajlvi.net.
Also related, Sunday afternoon at 1.30p during the Activites Fair on the main staircases of Parrish Hall we’re going to be holding a Stairball demonstration. I’ll be teaching the game to new players and explaining some of the techniques for improved play. Mike Rosenberg ’08, the best Stairballer I know (he certainly leads in our lifetime series) will be playing a game against me, and new players will be encouraged to try out the game. Also, I’ll be taking names for the ALASSCA mailing list and will be trying to set up the league for later this year and a weekly Stairball night. Anyone interested, whether you know how to play or not, is certainly encouraged to attend.
Sometime soon I’ll recount the story of the creation of Stairball, but first I have a couple of other word games to go through, including some patternfilling variants.
For everyone who attended our stairball tournament at Ride The Tide, you may be gratified to see that it got us a mention in the NY Times! See At Decision Time, Colleges Lay On Charm by Alan Finder, from the April 26, 2006 issue.
Let others offer simple campus tours or paid transportation. At Swarthmore College here, high school seniors deciding whether to accept the college’s offer of admission can play indoor soccer with the dean. Or a round of stairball, a sport invented on campus. They can go to a French film festival, a feminist dance party (“all genders welcome”) or an “Earthlust Sleepout” all night under the stars. Or else try henna tattooing. And, yes, there are also sessions on financial aid and meetings with faculty members.
I must submit one correction: stairball was not in fact invented at Swarthmore, it was invented by Swarthmore student Adam Lizzi ’08, before he arrived on campus. He has, however, invented more interesting games since he got here, and will no doubt invent many more before he graduates. You may too, if you join ALASSCA!
For the benefit of prospective students and other members of the Swarthmore College community, we are planning a stairball tournament! It is scheduled to take place at
4-5pm 9-10pm on Thursday, April 20th, in the central stairwell of Parrish (right in front of the mail room). Here is what I remember of the blurb that I put in the proposal to Admissions:
Stairball – an game invented right here at Swarthmore! As a bizarre amalgam of bowling, baseball, and billiards, stairball is certain to entertain, if not to exercise. Adam Lizzi ’08 founded ALASSCA to research and invent unusual games, and stairball is only one of many games that we have created and discovered. Come join us!
I was going to ask for money in the proposal to buy food and stairballs, but Adam nixed both: “I have plenty of stairballs,” he said. He’s going to regret that later when the campus is overflowing with stairball players and there aren’t any stairballs to be found 😉
No doubt you are wondering exactly what stairball is! Basically, the goal is to bounce a ball down a flight of stairs, bouncing on progressively more stairs each time you throw the ball. So the first time you throw the ball, it must bounce on one stair, the second time it must bounce on two stairs, and so forth. Each time the ball bounces on an incorrect number of stairs, that’s an out, and after three outs you switch places with the person who was standing at the bottom of the stairs catching your pitches (we use baseball scoring).
You can read the official stairball rules if you want a more thorough (and anal) account of how the game is played. I’ll leave it to Adam to explain some strategies for how to play, if he so desires. 😉