What in the name of ESPN is WhirlyBall, you ask? Well, imagine a combination of jai alai, polo, and basketball - played in bumper cars.
You're laughing already, aren't you?
Apparently, this game has been around (and by "around," I mean, with teams and leagues and trophies and probably beer) since 1980. It was conceived all the way back in 1961 by - you guessed it - a guy riding a golf cart in an automotive shop (probably with beer). Interesting things tend to be created when you let a man drive a motorized vehicle indoors . Why, I bet Al Gore got the idea for inventing the internet while he was riding a fossil-fuel-sucking 4-wheeler from one end of his 8,000 square foot electricity-sucking home to the other end. Then again, it might have been just the inspiration of beer. Whatever.
No, that's not us in the photo above. These people appear to actually know what they're doing. At our WhirlyBall event, there were always at least 2 players who had run their bumper cars, known within the sport as Whirly Bugs, into a corner and couldn't get out. It seems Whirly Bugs don't come equipped with brakes.
Whirly Bugs also don't come equipped with normal steering wheels, having instead a steering rod which you move to the left when you want to turn right, right when you want to turn left, forward to go in reverse, and backward to go forward. Because of this feature, we also had a player who spent a lot of her playing time spinning in backwards circles, nowhere near the action down the court. And, boy, did that make me dizzy.
Anyway. The important thing was that
MY TEAM WON! we all had a great time, and the boys learned some valuable lessons: 1) the importance of teamwork; 2) it can be challenging yet fun to try something new; and 3) stay out of the way of a wiffle-ball-wielding, highly competitive, menopausal mother in a bumper car.