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1. Field of the Invention
The present invention relates to ball games and game courts for ball games, and particularly to games and game courts, such as soccer (simply known as football throughout most of the world outside the United States of America), indoor soccer and basketball, in which points are scored by placing a ball in contact with, in, or through a goal.
2. Description of Related Art
The concept of indoor playing fields, or surrounding a court by walls is known in indoor soccer and hockey. Each sport has different needs for the type of surface and enclosure to play the sport. Games such as hockey, soccer and basketball have grown in public appeal over the years as the general public's enthusiasm has increased for fast paced, exciting games. A brief discussion of several patents and a patent application publication pertaining to different types of playing areas will now follow:
Rothman—Patent Application Publication Number US2004/0132558 A1 describes a training aid for a soccer player to rebound a soccer ball off of nets, each capable of having a different orientation in a different plane. The player stands within an enclosure of four nets and practices repeatedly kicking the ball into any one of the nets to increase the players skill in rebounding a ball and ball handling.
Cagle—U.S. Pat. No. 5,312,109 describes a training court for soccer players. The court is about the size of a tennis court. An actual soccer field measures 120 yards by 75 yards, therefore, the Cagle court is substantially smaller than a standard soccer field.
Saunders—U.S. Pat. No. 5,820,470 describes a portable modular playing area that, according to the inventor, can be utilized for ice skating, ice hockey, in-line skating, ball hockey, basketball or in-door arena style soccer.
Erhard—U.S. Pat. No. 6,394,918 B1 describes a playing-field enclosure having individual band elements joined to each other by connecting elements. Net-holding pins are inserted into a connecting rib. The net-holding pins secure a net.
Balbastro—U.S. Pat. No. 4,260,154 describes a method of playing a ball game in which the ball is moved around the playing surface by only using the sides of a players feet. A player scores a goal by successfully shooting a goal from a designated goal shooting area into an elevated goal.
Gordon—U.S. Pat. No. 6,676,546 B2 describes a game court and a method for playing a game that is similar to basketball, but has several differences and has adjacent surface areas with distinctly different properties.
An apparatus for playing a ball game comprising a playing area comprising a playing surface. The playing surface having a generally planar surface and two short sides and two long sides. The playing surface and said two short sides and two long sides forming a generally rectangular shape. The playing surface having two short walls and two long walls. In one embodiment, the walls are made in a conventional fashion, perhaps out of components known to those skilled in the construction arts. In another embodiment each of the short walls is assembled from a plurality of panels, said panels corresponding to and extending upward a certain height from each of said two short sides. Each of the long walls is assembled from a plurality of panels which correspond to and extend upward a certain height from each of said two long sides. A plurality of support portions attach to and support the plurality of panels. The plurality of panels, plurality of support portions and said playing surface join together to form a playing area, wherein each short wall having an elevated goal area located a certain distance from the generally planar surface of said playing surface and located another certain distance from the intersection of one of said two short walls and one of said two long walls, and said a certain distance and said another certain distance is the same for each elevated goal area.
Additionally, the goal area can be integral to an end wall and/or a panel of an end wall. The playing area can be completely enclosed by netting attached to the side walls and end walls which is resilient and capable of rebounding a ball, especially a number three soccer ball. The netting material is attached to a plurality of post and the netting material extends upwards a certain distance from the plurality of panels. The netting can also extend to form a ceiling joining to the netting attached to the wall panels. The goal area of each panel can have netting attached behind to prevent the ball from exiting the playing area. Curved corner panels can be inserted at either one, two, three or all four corners of the playing area. Since each team switches positions on the playing area after each half, each team would have an equal amount of time on each portion of the playing area. This will be discussed in further detail below. The enclosed playing area is defined by the plurality of panels, two short sides, two long sides, the playing surface and the netting as discussed above. The playing surface is a generally planar surface having a range of elasticity that allows for a ball to bounce from the generally planar surface into an elevated goal area, against a wall panel or netting. The playing area further comprising a first corner panel having a certain radius and the first corner panel joining a panel of a short wall and a panel of a long wall. Additional corner panels such as a second corner panel, a third corner panel and a fourth corner panel can be added to the playing area, all of the corner panels having a certain radius which is equal to the radius of said first corner panel. Each goal panel has an elevated goal area having a generally rectangular shape and a depth defining an empty space of sufficient size to allow a ball to travel through and out of said playing area. The elevated goal area is integral to each of the two short walls, and the panel that it is located on. However, it is possible to design the elevated goal area to locate it a distance away from the goal panel in a parallel plane. Besides netting, clear acrylic, tempered glass or any number of resilient materials known to those in the art can be used to completely enclose the playing area.
A method of playing a game of Triball comprising the steps of providing a playing area of a rectangular configuration having a predetermined length and width having a resilient playing surface and providing a plurality of side wall and end wall having a certain height that are supported by support portions and with the playing area form an enclosed rectangular playing area. Arranging the playing surface by dividing the playing area lengthwise into two halves by a middle line; marking the middle line; providing a middle point located at a mid point of the middle line; marking the middle point; providing a goal area on each end wall of the rectangular playing area; providing a small area on the playing surface and located near each said goal area of said each end wall; marking a perimeter of the small area. The game would start by providing a ball; placing a ball on the middle point; providing a team and an opposing team, each said team having a preselected number of players and assigning each said team and said opposing team to a different one of the two halves of the playing area. A referee would officiate the game, a coach for each team would provide guidance for his team, providing a time keeping means; establishing a duration of the game as consisting of two halves; typically the game would last ten minutes, five minutes per half, with a one minute rest interval in between the halves. The game is started by the referee signaling the start of game; upon the signal, for example, a whistle, at least one of a player of each said team and said opposing team moving to posses the ball; having said at least one of a player attempting to cause the ball to enter an opposing team goal area; having the team not in possession of the ball attempting to prevent entry of the ball into its goal area; and having the team not in possession of the ball attempting to acquire possession of the ball, and if successful at acquiring the ball, having at least one of a player from said team attempting to cause the ball to enter an opposing team goal area; having the referee keeping track of the scoring of the number of goals scored by each team. Time lost due to play stoppage would be added back at the end of each half. Similar to soccer, the ball would be moved with the feet primarily, and the body, but not the hands. Therefore, players would strive to make no-hands contact with the ball in moving it along the playing surface.
Each half is started by placing the ball on the middle point. A winning team is determined as the team with the most goals scored. If each team has the same number of goals scored or each team has no goals scored, then a winner is determined by having each team taking two consecutive penalty kicks and the team having a higher amount of goals scored by penalty kicks is declared the winner by the referee. If the teams have the same number of goals scored by penalty kicks, then each team will take one penalty kick until one team outscores the other team, the team with more penalty kick goals being declared the winner.
Additionally, penalties for various reasons will occur during the course of the game and methods and rules for handling have to be developed. The referee will determine penalizing a player for committing a foul that is careless, reckless or excessive use of force wherein said foul is selected from the group consisting of kicking or attempting to kick an opponent, tripping or attempting to trip an opponent, jumping at an opponent, charging at an opponent, striking or attempting to strike at an opponent, pushing an opponent. As a result of the foul, the referee awards a free kick to the opposing team. The defending team selects the position of the ball on the perimeter of the small area. The players of the defending team must be a certain distance from the ball. Typically, this certain distance from the ball is on the other half of the middle line, that is one their own half of the playing area.
Other penalties can occur. For example, penalizing a player for committing a foul as determined by the referee wherein said foul is selected from the group consisting of tackling an opponent to gain possession of the ball, making contact with an opponent before touching the ball, holding an opponent, spitting at an opponent, intentionally handling the ball, playing in a dangerous manner, impeding the progress of an opponent, attempting to score a goal with any part of a players body being inside the small area, dribbling through the small area. The referee then awards a free kick to the opposing team. The defending team positions the ball on the perimeter of the small area. The players of the defending team must be a certain distance from the ball. Typically, this certain distance from the ball is on the other half of the middle line, that is one their own half of the playing area. The referee can also penalize a player for an occurrence of any of the following event as determined by the referee wherein said event is selected from the group consisting of a defending player standing in the small area, a defending player blocking a kick with any part of said defending player's body located within said small area, an intentional hand-ball, the game ends in a tie. The referee then awards a penalty kick to an opposing team wherein the ball is positioned on the middle point and all said players are located on the half of the playing area not having the goal area of said opposing team.
Additional penalties can be imposed on a player from any of the following event as determined by the referee wherein said event is selected from the group consisting of committing unsporting behavior, showing dissent by word or action, persistently infringing the rules of the game, delaying restarting of play, failing to respect the required distance when play is restarted with a free kick, entering the playing area without obtaining the referee's permission, deliberately leaving the playing area without obtaining the referee's permission. The referee will then show the player a yellow card; and remove the player from the playing area for thirty seconds or until one goal is scored against the team of the player who was penalized.
The referee will penalize a player for an occurrence of any of the following event as determined by the referee wherein said event is selected from the group consisting of committing serious foul play, committing violent conduct, spitting at an opponent or any other person, denying the opposing team a goal or an obvious goal scoring opportunity by deliberately handling the ball with hands, denying an obvious goal-scoring opportunity to an opponent, moving towards the player's goal area by an offense punishable by a free kick or a penalty kick, using offensive or insulting or abusive language and/or gestures, receiving a second yellow card in the same match. The referee will then show the player a red card; and remove the player from the playing area. Inserting a substitute player in place of the player receiving the red card after the earlier of the occurrence of one minute passing or one goal being scored, wherein said player who was shown the red card will not be able to play the next game.
All of the players should adhere to rules of the game; players may not have upon their person any items selected from the group consisting of watch, bracelet, necklace, earring and jewelry. All of the players will wear indoor shoes, shorts, and t-shirt. Additionally, they may wear any item selected from the group consisting of shin guard, knee guard and protective cup. All of the players should avoid entering the small area; and if they don't they will receive a penalty as discussed. Each team can have a coach and a substitute player. The substitute player with the permission of the referee and after a stop in play or after a goal has been scored may enter the game relieving one of the starting player. The starting player who was relieved by the substitute player now assumes a roll of substitute player and may relieve one of the players on the playing area. The coach with the permission of the referee is allowed to manage which player are on the playing area playing the game and which player are substitute player.
It should be understood that certain terms are used interchangeably, the defending team and defenders' refer to the same team. Moving or passing a ball or shooting a ball towards a goal describes the motion of the ball on the playing surface, or against a wall, panel, such as rebounding, netting or another player. Correspondingly, an attacking team can also be described as an offensive team or aggressor. Any attempt to interrupt or disrupt the scoring of the other team is understood to be a game strategy.
FIG. 1 shows a side perspective view of an enclosed playing area.
FIG. 2 shows a top view of the playing area, netting and supports are not shown.
FIG. 3 shows a front view of a goal area.
FIG. 3A shows a perspective view of a goal panel, goal side panels and netting.
FIG. 4 shows a front view of a straight panel.
FIG. 5 shows a side view of a straight panel.
FIG. 6 shows a front view of a corner panel.
FIG. 7 shows a perspective view of a corner panel.
FIG. 8 shows an exploded view of a corner panel attached to a straight panel.
FIG. 9 shows a perspective view of a support portion joining two panel portions.
FIG. 10 shows a side view of a support portion supporting a straight panel.
FIG. 11 shows a top view of the playing area and players for each team in a starting position.
FIG. 12 shows a top view of the playing area with one player passing the ball to his team player and opposing team players attempting to block the shot at goal.
FIG. 13 shows a top view of the playing area with one player striking the ball and causing the ball to rebound off of either the netting, wall, panel and then either striking the floor thereby passing the ball to his team player who takes a shot at the goal area and opposing team players attempting to block the shot at goal.
FIG. 14 shows a top view of the playing area wherein the game is restarted after a goal has been scored, the ball is located along the perimeter of the small area and the players are in a position to resume play.
FIG. 15 shows the position of the players after a rule violation and a free kick just prior to re-start of play, the ball is placed on the perimeter of the small area.
FIG. 16 shows the position of the players after a penalty has occurred, just prior to the penalty kick, the ball is placed on the middle line in the center.
FIG. 17 shows a clip.
FIG. 18 shows a front view of a clip connected to a support section.
FIG. 19 shows a perspective view of a clip attaching a support section to a panel.
FIG. 20 shows a perspective view of a top corner brace.
FIG. 21 shows an enlarged view of a top portion of a post with alternate orientations of an eyebolt with cable.
FIG. 21A shows an enlarged view of a top portion of a post with another possible arrangement having a turnbuckle for holding a cable.
Referring to FIG. 1 the present invention provides a novel game, Triball, to be played upon a novel playing area 2 also referred herewithin as an apparatus 2. In the detailed description that follows, like element numerals are used to identify like elements that appear in one or more of the figures. An embodiment, a playing area 2 for a game, which will be described herein, comprises an assembly of straight panels 4, goal panels 6, goal side panels 8, a door panel 10 (not shown), corner panels 12 having a radius 14, support portions 16, posts 18, barrels 22 (not shown), mounting brackets 24, tumbuckles 26, clamps 28 (not shown), nuts 30, washers 32 (not shown), screws 34 or bolts 36, netting 38, corner braces 39, cables 40 and ties 42 (not shown) so that upon assembly of these component parts a playing area 2 is defined for playing the game described within.
The components for assembling the playing area are packaged as a kit. The kit is easily shipped to a location for assembly. The first step is to take an inventory of all the parts and determine whether any parts are missing. All the panel portions 4, 6, 8, 10, 12 are pre-drilled for ease of assembly. The configuration of the parts is described as follows. Straight panel portions 4 will make up the majority of the side walls 44, a door panel 10 will be located on one of the side walls 44, each end wall 46 will have a goal panel 6. Although the door panel 10 is not shown in the drawings, it is easy to understand that it would operate in a similar manner as a door on a hockey rink. Naturally, the netting 38 and appropriate cables 40, ties 42 (not shown) and clamps 28 (not shown) would work together to enable the door 10 to easily swing via a hinge assembly from an open to a closed position. The panel 4 adjacent to the non-hinged portion of the door panel 10 will have appropriate cables 40, ties 42 (not shown) and clamps 28 (not shown) to maintain a proper tension of the netting 38 whether the door 10 is in an open or closed position. Referring to FIG. 3A, each goal panel 6 will have a net 48 installed to prevent the ball from exiting the goal 50. The net 48 of the goal panel 6 will be attached to goal side panels 8. These goal side panels 8 and netting 48 will thereby form a space for the ball 52 to remain within after the goal has been scored.
The assembly of the playing area 2 will be further described. The panel portions 4, 6, 8, 10, 12 are pre-numbered after fabrication for easy assembly upon arrival at the shipping destination and are assembled utilizing common tools known to those skilled in the art of carpentry and construction. Tools and items typically used for assembly include, but are not limited to: a rotary hammer drill with bit, fifty foot measuring tape, chalk for drawing a chalk line, two rachet drives/sockets, electric impact wrench, open-end wrenches, marking construction crayons, construction string, a large carpentry hammer, a tin snip, a heavy duty pry bar, a screw gun with a #2 Phillips-head screw driver, a forklift, two large sheet metal vise grip tools with six inch grip flanges, electric cords, power sources or generator, two tapered drive pins, three 10′ foot ladders, metal grinder along with assorted carpentry tools for field adjustments.
As previously stated, a smooth level and unobstructed area is needed for a, proper installation. A first step in assembly is to measure and chalk the exact dimensions that are on the drawings as the panel portions 4, 6, 8, 10, 12 are precisely manufactured to meet the specified dimensions. Referring to FIG. 2 and FIG. 3, this includes making a chalk line for: a center line 5, a center point 7, and the perimeter 11 of the small area 9 that is to be located in front of each goal area 50. It is understood that tape or paint commonly used in basketball or indoor soccer will be applied to a playing surface 3 to properly mark the specified areas and points of the playing surface 3 as determined by the rules of Triball. Next, a worker measures from corner to corner to assure that the playing area 2 is a rectangular shape.
A permanent or temporary installation is possible. Referring to FIG. 9, if a permanent installation is desired, support portions 16 anchored to the floor by bolts 36 will be utilized to provide stability, or in the case of a temporary installation, barrels 22 (not shown) of a sufficient size, at least three feet high, and filled with a sufficient quantity of water and placed behind five or six panels 4 should provide sufficient support for the apparatus 2. If barrels 22 (not shown) are used, ratchet straps 54 (not shown) will be used to hold the panels 4 to the barrels 22 (not shown). Again, a permanent installation will not need barrels 22 (not shown) or straps 54 (not shown).
In the preferred embodiment, the straight panel sections 4 are approximately ten feet in length and weight approximately 118 pounds. Two workers should be used to handle each panel 4, 6, 10, 12 during assembly of the playing area 2. After the playing area 2 has been outlined in chalk, it is recommended that placement of the straight panels 4 start at the center point of the side wall 44 that will not have the door panel 10 (not shown). The next step is to stand the panels 4 upright along the chalked markings and attach support portions 16 to each straight panel 4 so that the panel 4 may stand without the aid of a worker holding it in place. Workers are to continue placing straight panel sections 4 adjacent to the previously installed panel 4 working towards each corner. A corner panel 12 is placed at each corner and joins an end wall 46, which has a goal panel 6, to an adjacent side wall 44. In an alternate embodiment, instead of having a corner panel 12 that has a broad curved surface on the interior of the panel 12 that faces the playing area 2, a plurality of corner portions 12 could be used which would be described as two small straight panels joining at 90 degrees, with a small curved portion on the interior surface facing the playing area 2 along the axis of the intersection of the two small straight panels. In yet another alternate embodiment, instead of having a corner panel 12, a panel 4 on a side wall 44 will intersect a panel 4 of an end wall 46, a piece of plastic 47 (not shown) or resilient flexible material 47 (not shown) will be attached to these two adjoining panels 4 on the side of the panels 4 facing the playing surface 3 and would provide a curved surface 47 (not shown) for a ball 52 to rebound. This alternate arrangement could easily be applied to all intersections of a panel 4 of an end wall 46 and a panel 4 of a side wall 44. Referring to FIG. 6, FIG. 7 and FIG. 8, corner panel 12 each have projections 13 that mate with rib 66 and “T's” 62, 64 of an adjacent panel 4. Each corner panel 12 has an identical radius 14 which provides for a different dynamic of the ball 52 rebounding off of a curved surface 58 as opposed to the ball 52 rebounding off of the intersection of two wall sections 44, 46.
Referring to FIG. 4, FIG. 5, FIG. 9, and FIG. 10, a support portion 16 is attached to two corresponding straight panel sections 4 by using two clips 60. One clip 60 is attached through the top “T” 62 of the panels 4, while the other clip 60 gets attached to the bottom “T” 64 of the panels 4. The series of “T's” 62, 64 and rib portions 66 of the straight panel sections 4 provide for alignment of the panels 4 along the length of the side wall 44 and end wall 46. The series of “T's” 62, 64 and rib portions 66 of the panels 4 provide for strength and stability and help join the support portions 16 to each two panels 4. The procedure for fitting a clip 60 into a rib 66 or T 62, 64 of each panel 4 is as follows: A clip 60 is placed up through the bottom of the “T” 62, 64 and is made to fit snug, for example by tapping it into place with a hammer. The clip 60 is then aligned with holes in the panel 4. Referring to FIGS. 17, 18 and 19, a mounting bracket 24, washer 32 (not shown), bolt 36 or screw 34 and nut 30 assembly is used to secure the clip portion 60 to the rib 66 or T 62, 64, which in turn is attached and joined to support portion 16 using a bolt 36 or screw 34 and nut 30 assembly. The top bolt 36 or screw 34 of the support 16 goes through the clip 60 first and then through a leg portion 35 of the support 16. The bolt 36 or screw 34 is not designed to fit with another orientation, i.e. that is with the bolt 36 or screw 34 going through the leg portion 35 of the support 16 first. A washer 32 (not shown) and nut 30 assembly is placed on the clip 60 using a mounting bracket 24 to secure the clip 60. Each support portion 16 joins two panel portions 4. Because the panels 4,6,10,12 are elevated, the playing surface 3 of the playing area 2 can be a sport flooring, tiles, wood, hardwood, plywood, plastic resin composite, concrete, turf or other flooring material. The playing surface 3 has a range of elasticity that provides for the ball 52 to bounce and rebound off of the surface 3. The playing surface 3 is a generally planar surface. After initial assembly any gaps between panels 4,6,10,12 that exist will be eliminated.
Some of support portion 16 have a post 18. The top portion 20 of the post 18 is approximately 11′ feet high as measured from the playing surface 3. Approximately 16 support portion 16 having a post 18 are located around the perimeter of the playing area 2 providing support for the panels 4,6,10,12. Each corner panel 12 is adjacent two support portions 16 containing a post 18. Each goal panel 6 is adjacent two support portions 16 containing a post 18. Not every support 16 has a post 18, however the support portion 16 containing a post 18 do so in that post 18 is integral to the support portion 16. The support portion 16 containing a post 18 are attached the same way to the panels 4,6,10,12 as those support portion 16 not containing a post 18. That is, they are attached using clips 60 in a similar manner to a panel section 4 or corner panel 12 as described above.
A worker should start at the door panel 10 (not shown) and continue installing netting 38 around the perimeter of the playing area 2 until said worker arrives back at the door panel 10. Referring to FIG. 21 and FIG. 21A, the post 18 are approximately 11′ feet above the playing surface 3 and some of the post 18 will have either eye bolts 41 that can assume various orientations in attachment to the top portion 20 so as to enable a cable 40 to thread from post 18 to post 18. Similarly, instead, or in combination, turnbuckles 26 can be used to thread from post 18 to post 18. Ideally, the top portion 20 of the post 18 will be pre-drilled for a cable 40 to be threaded from one post 18 to the next post 18. Initially, the top bolt 36 is not tightened too much because the netting 38 has to be installed around the perimeter. In the preferred embodiment aircraft cable 40 is used and it can be inserted through the top portion 20 of post 18 from which to attach netting 38. Support portion 16 also have a pre-drilled portion that allows for another cable 40 to be inserted and threaded around the perimeter of the playing area 2. The. cable 40 keeps the netting 38 taught and against a handrail portion 43 of panels 4,6,10,12. The cable 40 will provide a force on the netting 38 to keep it in place. Four corner braces 39 are included in each kit. It is a simple matter and well known to attach corner braces 39 to the netting 38. Comer braces 39 attach to the netting 38 using clamps 28 (not shown) and ties 42 (not shown). The corner braces 39, as their name implies connect two adjacent post 18, that is the post 18 surrounding a corner panel 12. There are two pieces of netting, one piece of netting 38 for the perimeter of the playing area 2 and the other piece of netting 38 for the ceiling of the playing area 2. The netting 38 is resilient and attached to the post 18 and cable 40 by fastening means such as zip ties 42 (not shown), rope, thread, velcro and any other materials that are commonly used to secure a resilient net. The tighter the netting 38 is pulled, the more elastic the rebound of the ball 52. One skilled in the art realizes that the tension of the net 38 can be adjusted to change the pace of the game. For example, a combination of turnbuckles 26 and eyebolts 41 attached to top portion 20 can be used to vary the tension of the netting 38. The cable 40 holds the netting 38 down behind the handrail 43 of the panels 4,6,10,12.
The invention of the game and playing area 2 have been designed to provide for a fast action play that can be accomplished in a relatively small space with a relatively small number of players. The game is typically played with two players per team and each team has one substitute player 70. Each team is allowed to have one coach 72 (not shown), who is located outside of the playing area. The game has elements of soccer, indoor soccer, hockey and basketball. The number of players needed is less than a traditional soccer, indoor soccer, basketball or hockey game. Therefore it should be easier to organize a game on short notice as the number of players involved is substantially less. The design of the playing area 2 and method of playing the game eliminate the need for a goalie. This feature levels the playing field, that is a goalie is usually a specialized position, many people do not want to play goalie, it is a high pressure position, the player who defends goals successfully becomes a hero while the one who doesn't can be subjected to harassment and shame for causing his/her team to loose the game.
The novel playing area 2 is smaller than an outside soccer field and is designed for easy assembly and setup within an indoor location as described above. The preferred embodiment has dimensions of the apparatus 2 which are approximately 29.1 feet in length, 20.3 feet in width and a height including netting 38 of 11 feet above the playing surface 3. The radius 14 of the curve of each of the four corner panels 12 is 21.5 inches. The dimensions of the goals 50 are 53 inches wide, 16.5 inches high with the goal area 50 being elevated in comparison to the playing surface 3 of the playing area 2. The goal 50 is located 15.5 inches above the playing surface 3. The goal 50 is integral to the goal panel 6 and is also integral to end wall 46. The goal 50 is also of rectangular shape and parallel to the playing surface 3. The side walls 44 are made up of straight panel 4 and one side wall 44 is made up of straight panel 4 and a door panel 10 (not shown). The end walls 46 are made up of straight panel 4 and goal panel 6. The side walls 44 and end walls 46, whether integral or made up of panels 4,6,10,12 connected to one another as described in the preferred embodiment, are envisioned in the preferred embodiment to be 48 inches in height with netting 38 being attached to post 18 and pulled tight so as to form an elastic surface from which a ball 52 may rebound off of either to a player, wall 44, 46, panel 4,6,10,12, playing surface 3 or into a goal 50. Netting 38 can also be pulled over the top of the apparatus 2 to completely enclose the playing area 2. Similarly, other rebounding means such as tempered glass, acrylic, wood, or a suitable composite material can be used in place of netting 38 to provide for a number of resilient rebounding surfaces. The panels 4,6, 10,12 that assemble to form a wall 44,46 are made of aluminum, but could just as easily be made of wood, plastic or a composite material. One skilled in the art realizes that the dimensions of the apparatus 2 can be changed without deviating from the novel aspects of the game or of the advantages of the playing area 2 as further described herein. While the playing area 2 could be setup outside, it is an advantage that it is smaller and capable of fitting within a building such as school gym or a warehouse. Ideally, prior to assembling the apparatus 2, a level surface should be obtained for placement of the apparatus 2 thereupon. Especially in an urban setting, the smaller size of the playing area 2 and design will prove advantages in increasing the availability of locations that are able to host a game, a series of games, a match or tournament and forming leagues.
For ease of description, when describing the relationship between the two teams, one team will at times be referred to as a team and the other team will be referred to as an opposing team. Similarly, the players on each team can alternately be described as a player 68 and an opponent 68. Other descriptions that also can be used to describe the relationship of two teams are the attacking team and the defending team, along with attacking players 68 and defending players 68. During the duration of a game, teams will switch from attack to defense very quickly and then back to their previous posture several times at random intervals determined by a number of factors such as scoring goals, fitness level of the players 68, strategy and luck. One ordinarily skilled in the art of playing soccer or basketball will have no difficulty understanding the relationship of the players 68 on each team with respect to the players 68 on an opposing team. Referring to FIG. 11, the game is first started with each team of two players 68 having their shoes in contact with the wall that has their goal area located on it. Usually, the heel portion of the shoe of each player 68 is in contact with a panel 4 of the end wall 46 adjacent the goal panel 6. While each player 68 per team could stand next to each other, the preferred arrangement is that shown in FIG. 11, where each player 68 is on an opposite side of their goal panel 6. The ball 52 will be placed on a center point 5 of the playing area along a center line 7 that divides the playing area in half. Similarly, the ball 52 is placed on another line that runs along the length of the playing area 2 from the center of one goal area 50 to the center of the other goal area 50. The location where the ball is initially placed for the start of the game and for each half is defined as the center point 5. In the preferred embodiment the size of the ball 52 used will be approximately seven inches in diameter and this typically corresponds to the size of a size three soccer ball. The entire game typically has two halves not including any overtime. The game, and time clock, is started by the referee 74 (not shown) making a signal, in the preferred embodiment the referee 74 (not shown) would blow a whistle, all players 68 will move or run towards the ball 52 and the game starts. The game time is kept by the referee 74 (not shown) and will be stopped if the ball 52 leaves the playing area 2 because of any unforseen circumstances, after a goal is scored and if the referee 74 (not shown) should blow the whistle indicating a stop of play. After the referee 74 (not shown) blows the whistle again, the ball 52 is in play and the game time has started again.
A referee 74 is used in a similar manner as in soccer or basketball. Each match is controlled by a referee 74 (not shown) who has full authority to enforce the rules of the game in connection with the match to which they have been appointed. The referee 74 (not shown) stands outside, possibly on a stool or elevated surface for better observation of the action occurring in the playing area 2. It is possible to have two referees 74 (not shown) because the game of Triball has a fast pace and may benefit from an additional pair of eyes. The referee 74 (not shown) enforces the rules of the game, controls the match, ensures that the ball meets the requirements, that is, it is a number three soccer ball, ensure that the players' equipment meets the requirements as set forth herein. The referee 74 (not shown) stops, suspends or terminates the match, at his/her discretion, for any violation of the rules, stops, suspends or terminates the match because of outside interference of any kind, stops the match if, in his/her opinion, a player 68 is seriously injured and ensures that they are removed from the playing area 2, ensures that any player 68 bleeding from a wound leaves the playing area 2. The referee 74 (not shown) takes disciplinary action against players 68 guilty of cautionable and/or send-off offenses, takes action against team officials 72 (not shown) who fail to conduct themselves in a responsible manner and may, at their discretion, expel them from the immediate surroundings of the field of play. The referee 74 (not shown) ensures that no unauthorized person enter the playing area 2, restarts the match after it has been stopped. The referee 74 (not shown) allows play to continue when the team against which an offense has been committed will benefit from such an advantage and penalize the original offense if the anticipated advantage does not occur at that time. The decisions of the referee 74 regarding facts connected with play are final and the referee 74 may only change a decision on realizing that it is incorrect or, at his/her discretion provided that play has not restarted. The referee 74 (not shown) also records goals scored, acts as timekeeper and notifies each team by an agreed signal when the time of each half has expired. The referee 74 will keep track of stoppage time and add all stoppages at the end of each half. The referee 74 will supervise the use of rolling substitute players 70.
When the referee 74 blows a whistle all players 68, typically will run towards the ball 52, of course strategy may dictate that one player 68 wait a certain distance from the ball 52 while his teams other player 68 runs towards the ball 52 in an attempt to gain possession. The player 68 who gains possession of the ball 52 using only his feet to touch and move the ball 52, like in soccer, will move towards the opposing teams' goal area 50 or immediately kick the ball 52 towards the goal area 50 in a manner that enables the player 68 to either score a goal or pass the ball to his teams' other player 68. The opposing team players 68 can attempt a variety of tactics utilized in a traditional soccer match and determine how much and what resources to allocate to defense and attack as coordinated with their coach 72.
Referring to FIG. 12, a player 68 from one team can directly pass the ball to his teams' other player 68 to attempt a goal on the opposing team. The opposing team players 68 can both play defense in an attempt to block any ball 52 from going into their goal 50. Alternatively, one opposing team player 68 may decide to guard the goal area 50 while the other opposing team player 68 attempts to steal the ball 52 away from the other team. Likewise, each defensive player 68 may cover a particular player 68 or the two defensive players 68 may decide to engage in a zone defense, as is well known in the game of basketball. Team players 68 can chose to pass the ball 52 directly to another player 68 as is shown in FIG. 12 or, referring to FIG. 13 players 68 can indirectly pass the ball from one team player 68 to another team player 68 by bouncing the ball 52 off of either a wall 44, 46 or panel 4,6,10,12 or the netting 38. As was discussed above, the netting 38 is pulled tight so as to enable a resilient bouncing of the ball 52, similarly, the panels 4,6,10,12, walls 44,46 and playing surface 3 provide for an elastic collision thereby providing what is typically known as a good bounce. The walls 44,46, panels 4,6,10,12 and netting 38 can be used to directly score a goal, that is a team player 68 can shoot the ball 52 towards a wall 44,46, a panel 4,6,10,12 or netting 38 and the rebound from one of those surfaces can propel the ball 52 directly into the opposing teams goal 50. Any combination of passes, whether direct or indirect, either with rebounding or without rebounding is possible, and adds to the fast pace and excitement of Triball. Referring to FIG. 11, a player 68 must pass the ball 52 to his other team player 68 before either the ball 52, the other team player 68 or he 68 crosses the middle line 7.
Referring to FIG. 14, after a goal has been scored, the team that scored the goal will go back to their half of the playing area 2. The team that suffered the goal will place the ball 52 on the perimeter 11 and re-start the play. The re-start of play will occur with the ball 52 placed on the perimeter 11 of a position on the court surface defined as “the small area” 9. The small area 9 is a semi-circular area and each goal area 50 has a small area 9 located adjacent to it. In the preferred embodiment the dimensions of the small area 9 are a semi-circle with a radius of 48 inches or 121.9 inches with the center being the middle of the horizontal line of the goal 50. Certain rules apply to play within the small area 9. No player 68 can stand within the small area 9, no defending player 68 can block a kick within the small area 9 and no attacking player 68 can score with any part of his body being inside the plane of the small area 9. The small area 9 is commonly thought of as an invisible barrier beginning on the perimeter 11 of the semi-circular lines marked on the playing surface 3 and continuing vertically up to the ceiling net 38. Players 68 cannot stand within or pass thru the small area 9. No defending player 68 can block a kick within the small area 9. No attacking player 68 can score with any part of his body inside the plane of the small area 9. The ball 52 cannot be kicked out of the small area 9 by any player 68. If the ball 52 stops within the small area 9 the referee 74 will stop the game and the defending team will have the ball 52 placed on the perimeter 11 of the small area 9, opposing team players 68 must be behind the middle line 7 also known as the half court line. Referring to FIG. 15, at the re-start of play the ball 52 is placed anywhere on the semi-circled line defining the perimeter 11 of the small area 9. The shape of the small area 9 may be any alternate shape besides a semi-circular area, such as a square, rectangle, triangular, pentagonal, circular, elliptical or higher faceted polygonal, without departing from the scope of the invention. The opposing team players 68 have to stand on their side of the court, that is behind the middle line 7. Unlike certain sports, there is no offside in this game. The re-start of play starts with a pass from one player 68 to another player 68 of the same team. If the situation occurs that a player 68 does not pass the ball 52 to another player 68 of the same team before reaching the middle line 5, the opposing team obtains possession of the ball 52 and re-starts the play.
The referee 74 will assess penalties for violation of rules of the game. As Triball is a fast paced game, the strategic use of substitute players 70 is important. A substitute player 70 may be used at any time with the permission of the referee 74 or game leader 73 (not shown). When no referee 74 is available, the game leader 73 takes on the role as referee 74. The game leader 73 is the person who is most knowledgeable about playing the game. Entry into the playing area 2 will only be allowed during a stop in play, for example a goal is scored or the ball 52 rolls into the small area 9 and stops within the small area 9. A player 68 who has been replaced may return to the playing area 2 as a substitute 70 for another player 68. Clearly, then, a player 68 can go into and out of the game a number of times so long as that player 68 has not received a red card or two yellow cards, which will be discussed at a later point. The time clock will stop when the ball 52 leaves the playing area 2 because of any unforeseen circumstances, after goals and after the referee 74 has blown the whistle. The length of the game is currently envisioned with two halves with the preferred embodiment having a time of five minutes per each half. A rest period of one minute in-between halves. After each half, the teams will switch sides on the playing area 2. A match system could be instituted where the winner is declared after playing three games, with the winner obviously prevailing in two of the three matches. When the referee 74 blows the whistle, the time clock runs and the ball 52 is in play. A goal is scored when the whole ball 52 passes through the goal area 50, provided that no violations of the rules of the game by the team scoring the goal have occurred in the process of obtaining the goal. To determine the winner of a game, the team with the greater number of goals is the winner. If both teams score an equal number of goals, or if no goals are scored, the match is a draw and the winner will be determined by penalty kicks. The best of two penalty kicks will be used to determine a winner. If both teams are tied on penalty kicks, each team will then take one penalty kick at a time until one team outscore the other team. The winner being the team that has scored the most goals during the penalty kicks.
To ensure that the game is played in a fair manner the rules have been arranged to anticipate and deal with a wide range of behaviors during the play of the game. If a foul or misconduct, as defined below, is determined by the referee 74 a free kick or a penalty kick is awarded to the team that was fouled or suffered the misconduct. A free kick is awarded to the opposing team if a player 68 commits any of the following offenses in a manner considered to be careless, reckless or use of excessive force: kicks or attempts to kick an opponent 68, trips or attempts to trip an opponent 68, jumps at an opponent 68, charges an opponent 68, strikes or attempts to strike an opponent 68, pushes an opponent 68. A free kick is awarded to the opposing team if a player 68 commits any of the following offenses: tackles an opponent 68 to gain possession of the ball 52, making contact with the opponent 68 before touching the ball 52, holds an opponent 68, spits at an opponent 68, handles the ball 52 (intentionally with hands), plays in a dangerous manner, impedes the progress of an opponent 68, attempts to score with any part of the players body while being located within the small area 9.
All free kicks are taken indirectly, that is similar to the situation that occurs during a re-start of the game or play (See FIG. 14). A penalty kick is awarded to the opposing team if the following situations occur: a defending player 68 stands in the small area 9, a defending player 68 blocks a kick with any part of his body being located inside the small area 9 and any player 68 intentionally touches the ball 52 with his hand anywhere on the playing area 2. Penalty kicks are also used to break a tie when the official time of a game expires and ends in a tie as discussed above. Referring to FIG. 16, the center point 7 is used to place the ball 52 at the beginning of each half of a game and for penalty kicks. FIG. 16 shows the arrangement of players 68 on the playing area 2 when a penalty kick is started. A player 68 from the team that is kicking the penalty kick stands behind the ball 52 ready to kick, his co-team player 68 stands behind him/her 68. Both players 68 from the opposite team stand behind the center line 5, one player 68 on each side of the player 68 taking the penalty kick. The center point 7 is located on the middle line 5.
To ensure that the game is played safely with the understanding that in a contact sport players 68 may and often do run into other players 68 during the normal course of play certain restrictions are placed upon the players 68 those being that they shall not wear or place upon their person 68 the following : watches, bracelets, necklaces, earnings, jewelry. This is for safety of all players. Similarly, players 68 shall wear indoor game shoes, shorts and t-shirts that typically identify the players' team affiliation. To enhance safety and the willingness of the players 68 to aggressively compete during the game, players 68 are encouraged to wear shin guards, knee guards and protective cups, mouth-pieces and other protective gear sanctioned by the referee. If shin guards are wore, they must be entirely covered by socks.
Similarly to soccer, yellow cards and red cards are used to regulate the conduct of the players 68 on the playing area and for the players 68 removal from the game for either a specified time period, a specified event or permanently removed from the game as will be more fully discussed below. A player 68 is cautioned and shown the yellow card if he/she commits any of the following seven offences: is guilty of unsporting behavior, shows dissent by word or action, persistently infringes the rules of the game, delays the restart of play, fails to respect the required distance when play is restarted with a free kick, enters or re-enters the playing area 2 without the referee's permission, deliberately leaves the playing area 2 without the referee's permission. When the player 68 is shown the yellow card, he/she will leave the field for thirty seconds or until one goal is scored against the team of the player 68 who was shown the yellow card. A player 68 is sent off and shown the red card if he/she 68 commits any of the following seven offenses: is guilty of serious foul play, is guilty of violent conduct, spits at an opponent 68 or any other person, denies the opposing team a goal or an obvious goal scoring opportunity, by deliberately handling the ball 52 with hands, denies an obvious goal-scoring opportunity to an opponent 68 moving towards the player's goal 50 by an offense punishable by a free kick or a penalty kick, uses offensive or insulting or abusive language and/or gestures, receives a second yellow caution in the same match. The player 68 who was shown the red card will not be able to play the next game and a substitute player 70 will be able to come in after the earlier of one minute passing or one goal has been scored.
The foregoing description of the preferred embodiment of the invention will so fully reveal the general nature of the invention that others can, by applying current knowledge, readily modify and/or adapt for various applications such embodiments without undue experimentation and without departing from the generic concept, and, therefore, such adaptations and modifications should and are intended to be comprehended within the meaning and range of equivalents of the disclosed embodiments. It is to be understood that the phraseology or terminology employed herein is for the purpose of description and not limitation. The means, materials, and steps for carrying out various disclosed functions may take a variety of alternative forms without departing from the invention.
Thus the expressions “means to . . . ” and “means for . . . ” or any method step language, as may be found in the specification above and/or in the claims below, followed by a functional statement, are intended to define and cover whatever structural, physical, chemical or electrical element or structure, or whatever method step, which may now or in the future exist which carries out the recited function, whether or not precisely equivalent to the embodiment or embodiments disclosed in the specification above, i.e., other means or steps for carrying out the same functions can be used; and it is intended that such expressions be given their broadest interpretation.