Title:
Poolside goal system
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A poolside goal system may allow various games or sports, such as basketball or volleyball, to be played in a swimming pool. For example, the poolside goal system may include a base, a goal support, a basketball goal assembly and volleyball net assembly. The basketball goal assembly is preferably movable between a first position in which basketball can be played and a second position which allows volleyball to be played. Advantageously, the basketball goal assembly may be configured to counterbalance forces applied to the volleyball net assembly. The poolside goal system may also include a wheel assembly to allow the system to be readily moved, or the goal system may be permanently secured in a fixed position. The poolside goal system, however, does not have to be used in connection with a swimming pool and it could be used in other environments or situations.



Inventors:
Nye, Curtis S. (Clinton, UT, US)
Phillips, Gary (Ogden, UT, US)
Application Number:
10/935886
Publication Date:
04/28/2005
Filing Date:
09/08/2004
Assignee:
NYE S. C.
PHILLIPS GARY
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
473/479, 473/485
International Classes:
A63B61/02; A63B63/00; A63B63/08; A63B69/00; A63B71/02; A63B22/00; (IPC1-7): A63B69/00; A63B63/00; A63B63/08
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
CHAMBERS, MICHAEL S
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Workman Nydegger (Salt Lake City, UT, US)
Claims:
1. A poolside goal system comprising: a goal support including at least one elongated support member; and a basketball goal assembly including a backboard and a rim, the basketball goal assembly being pivotally connected to an upper portion of the goal support, the basketball goal assembly being movable between a first position in which the basketball goal assembly can be used for playing basketball and a second position in which the basketball goal assembly is pivoted about the upper portion of the goal support in an at least partially downward direction from the first position to the second position.

2. The poolside goal system as in claim 1, wherein the backboard and the rim face a first direction in the first position, and the backboard and the rim face a generally opposite direction in the second position.

3. The poolside goal system as in claim 1, further comprising a net assembly at least partially connected to the basketball goal assembly, the basketball goal assembly being sized and configured to counterbalance a force applied to the net assembly.

4. The poolside goal system as in claim 1, further comprising a net assembly at least partially connected to the basketball goal assembly, the basketball goal assembly being sized and configured to move from the second position toward the first position when a force is applied to the net assembly.

5. The poolside goal system as in claim 1, further comprising a net assembly at least partially connected to the basketball goal assembly; and means for counterbalancing a force applied to the net assembly.

6. A poolside goal system comprising: a base; a basketball goal assembly including a backboard and a rim disposed near a front face of the backboard; and a support structure including a first support member connected to the base and a second support member connected to the basketball goal assembly, the first support member and the second support member including a first position in which the front face of the backboard and rim are generally disposed away from the base and a second position in which the rim is disposed towards the base.

7. The poolside goal system as in claim 6, further comprising an alignment mechanism that facilitates connection of the first support member and the second support member in the first position, and facilitates connection of the first support member and the second support member in the second position.

8. The poolside goal systems as in claim 6, further comprising a bushing positioned between at least a portion of the first support member and at least a portion of the second support member.

9. The poolside goal system as in claim 6, further comprising a bushing constructed of a compressible material adapted to secure the second support member in a position relative to the first support member.

10. The poolside goal system as in claim 9, wherein the bushing is sized and configured to guide the second support member to a position relative to the first support member.

11. The poolside goal system as in claim 9, wherein second support member includes one or more flared portions adapted to compress at least a portion of the bushing.

12. A poolside goal system comprising: a base; a basketball goal assembly including a backboard and a rim; a goal support including a first support member connected to the base and a second support member connected to the basketball goal assembly; and one or more engaging members integrally formed in the goal support, the engaging members being sized and configured to releasably connect the first support member and the second support member.

13. The poolside goal system as in claim 12, wherein the one or more engaging members include one or more notches.

14. The poolside goal system as in claim 12, wherein the one or more engaging members are sized and configured to releasably secure the second support member in a plurality of positions relative to the first support member.

15. The poolside goal system as in claim 12, wherein the one or more engaging members are sized and configured to secure the second support member in a first rotational position relative to the first support member and to secure the second support member in a second rotational position relative to the first support member.

16. A goal system comprising: a first support structure including a base, a support structure and a basketball goal assembly, the support structure including a first support member connected to the base and a second support member connected to the basketball goal assembly, the basketball goal assembly being movable between a first position in which basketball is capable of being played and a second position; a second support structure including a base, a support structure and a basketball goal assembly, the support structure including a first support member connected to the base and a second support member connected to the basketball goal assembly, the basketball goal assembly being movable between a first position in which basketball is capable of being played and a second position; and a net assembly connected to the first support structure and connected to the second support structure, the net assembly including a net and at least one line connecting the net to at least one of the support structures.

17. The poolside goal system as in claim 16, wherein the basketball goal assembly including a backboard and a rim; and wherein the backboard and the rim face a first direction when the basketball goal assembly is in the first position, and the backboard and the rim face a generally opposite direction when the basketball goal assembly is in the second position.

18. The poolside goal system as in claim 16, wherein the net assembly is at least partially connected to the basketball goal assembly of the first support structure and the second support structure, the basketball goal assembly of the first support structure and the basketball goal assembly of the second support structure being sized and configured to counterbalance a force applied to the net assembly.

19. The poolside goal system as in claim 16, wherein the net assembly is at least partially connected to the basketball goal assembly of the first support structure and the second support structure, the basketball goal assembly of the first support structure and the second support structure being sized and configured to move from the second position toward the first position when a force is applied to the net assembly.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims priority to and the benefit of U.S. provisional patent application Ser. No. 60/501,510, entitled POOLSIDE GOAL SUPPORT, which was filed on Sep. 9, 2003, and this application claims priority to and the benefit of U.S. provisional patent application Ser. No. 60/515,764, entitled POOLSIDE GOAL SUPPORT, which was filed on Oct. 30, 2003, both of which are hereby incorporated by reference herein in their entireties.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention generally relates to a goal system and, in particular, to a poolside goal system.

2. Description of Related Art

Basketball is one of the most popular sports in the United States and throughout the world. The popularity of basketball is so widespread that it is even played in swimming pools. The popularity of playing basketball in a swimming pool has given rise to the development of poolside basketball systems. Disadvantageously, conventional poolside basketball systems may require installation of obstructive, permanent facilities or structures, and conventional poolside basketball systems may require substantial modifications to existing facilities or structures.

Volleyball is also a very popular sport, which has given rise to the development of poolside volleyball systems. Disadvantageously, conventional poolside volleyball systems may require installation of obstructive, permanent facilities or structures, and conventional poolside volleyball systems may require substantial modifications to existing facilities or structures. Known poolside volleyball systems may also be temporary structures that are only used when volleyball is being played in a swimming pool. Unfortunately, many conventional poolside volleyball systems do not securely support the volleyball net and if an excessive force is applied to the net, the net may collapsed and/or portions of the volleyball system may be pulled into the pool. In addition, many conventional poolside volleyball systems may allow the net to break or otherwise be damaged if excessive force is applied to the net.

SUMMARY

A need therefore exists for a poolside goal system that eliminates the above-described disadvantages and problems.

One aspect of an exemplary embodiment is a poolside goal system that may be used to play basketball in a swimming pool. For example, the poolside goal system may include a basketball rim, net and backboard to facilitate shooting a basketball and playing basketball in a swimming pool. Of course, because the game is being played in a swimming pool, a conventional basketball may not be used and other suitable type of balls may be used. In addition, because the game is being played in a swimming pool, the poolside goal system may have different sizes, characteristics and the like than a conventional basketball system. In particular, the poolside goal system may have different heights and dimensions to allow, for example, a ball to be more easily shot at the basketball while in a swimming pool.

Another aspect is a poolside goal system that may be used to play volleyball or other games that use a net. For example, the poolside goal system may be used to support a net or other type of structure to allow volleyball or other games to be played in a swimming pool. In particular, the poolside goal system may include two support structures that are placed on opposing sides or ends of a pool to support the net. On the other hand, the poolside goal system may include only a single support structure and the other end of the net may be connected to another structure such as a wall or pole.

A further aspect is a poolside goal system that may allow one or more games to be played. For example, the poolside goal system may include a basketball rim, net and/or backboard to allow basketball to be played. The poolside goal system may also allow a net or other structure to be supported so that games such as volleyball may be played. Thus, the poolside goal system may allow two or more different games or sports to be played.

Another aspect is a poolside goal system that may include a base, a goal support, and a basketball goal assembly. The basketball goal assembly may include, for example, a backboard and rim. Advantageously, the height of the basketball goal assembly may be varied, if desired. This may allow, for example, persons of different skills, ages and abilities to play basketball. In addition, the basketball goal assembly may include a pivotal or movable type rim, such as a break-away rim, to allow forces applied to the rim to be absorbed. Further, the position of the basketball goal assembly may be adjusted or moved to suit the desires of the user. For instance, the basketball goal assembly may have a first position to facilitate playing basketball and a second position when basketball is not being played. This second position may allow the goal system to be more easily moved and/or stored. This second position may also allow other sports to be played, such as volleyball or other activities.

Still another aspect is a poolside goal system that may include a structure that allows a net to be attached to the goal system. For example, the goal system may include a net assembly that allows a net to be readily attached. This may allow games such as volleyball to be played. Preferably, the poolside goal system includes both the structure that allows a net to be readily attached and a basketball goal assembly so that the goal system may be used to play multiple games or sports, such as basketball and volleyball. Advantageously, the poolside goal system could also be used in connection with other sports that utilize a net and/or backboard.

Yet another aspect is a poolside goal system may include a base, a support structure, and a basketball goal assembly connected to the support structure. The support structure may include a plurality of support members that are interconnected. For example, the support structure may include a first support member that is connected to the base and a second support member that is connected to the basketball goal assembly. Desirably, the first and second support members can be connected in various positions to allow the basketball goal assembly to be connected in various positions relative to the base. This may facilitate positioning the basketball goal assembly in a variety of positions to suit a user's particular purpose. A bushing, or other suitable structure, may be used to connect the support members. In addition, one or more of the support members may include engaging members, which may be sized and configured to selectively secure the support members in a desired position,

A further aspect is a poolside goal system may include a base, a support structure and a basketball goal assembly. The basketball goal assembly may be movably connected to the support structure, which may facilitate positioning the basketball goal assembly in a variety of positions to suit a user's purposes. For example, the basketball goal assembly may be pivotally attached to the support structure.

A still further aspect is a poolside goal system that may include a base, a support structure and a net assembly that is sized and configured to be attached to a net. Advantageously, the net assembly may be directly or indirectly connected to a basketball goal assembly. Significantly, the basketball goal assembly may be used to counterbalance forces applied to the net assembly. This may create, for example, a relatively stable poolside goal system and it may help prevent damage to the net and/or net assembly.

Another aspect is a volleyball system that may include a first support structure, a second support structure, and a volleyball net that is connected to the first and second support structures. The volleyball net may be connected to the support structures by one or more straps and buckles. Advantageously, the volleyball system may be used in connection with a swimming pool to allow volleyball to be played in a swimming pool. The volleyball system may also be used outdoors and in other environments to allow volleyball to be played on surfaces such as sand, grass, cement, pavement and hardwood courts.

Still another aspect is a poolside goal system that may be used in connection with an anchor assembly. The anchor assembly may include one or more anchors and one or more anchor lines. Advantageously, the anchor assembly may help secure the poolside goal system in a desired position and/or location.

Yet another aspect is a poolside goal system that may include a base with a hollow interior portion that provides for a relatively lightweight assembly. The base may include a removable fill/drain plug that allows the hollow interior portion to be filled with ballast such as water. When the hollow portion of the base is filled with ballast, the stability of the goal system may be enhanced.

A further aspect is a poolside goal assembly that may include a basketball goal assembly with a backboard. The backboard is preferably constructed from blow-molded plastic, but other materials with suitable characteristics could be used to construct the backboard. The blow-molded plastic backboard may advantageously be formed as an integral, one-piece structure. The blow-molded plastic backboard may also include one or more depressions formed in the backboard and the depressions may be sized and configured to increase the strength and rigidity of the backboard.

A still further aspect is a poolside goal system that may include a wheel assembly to facilitate movement of the goal system. The wheel assembly may include one or more wheels, rollers, casters, sliders or the like that are sized and configured to allow the goal system to be moved from one location to another location. The goal system may also include two or more wheel assemblies to facilitate movement of the system.

Advantageously, the poolside goal system may be constructed with relative few components and it may be quickly and easily assembled. In addition, the poolside goal system may provide a relatively stationary and secure structure. Desirably, the goal system may provide stable support for a basketball goal and/or a volleyball net. Further, the goal system may be quickly and easily moved from one location or another location.

These and other aspects, features and advantages of the invention will become more fully apparent from the following detailed description of preferred embodiments and appended claims.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The appended drawings contain figures of preferred embodiments to further clarify the above and other aspects, advantages and features of the present invention. It will be appreciated that these drawings depict only preferred embodiments of the invention and are not intended to limits its scope. The invention will be described and explained with additional specificity and detail through the use of the accompanying drawings in which:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of an exemplary embodiment of a poolside goal system, illustrating the poolside goal system configured to play basketball;

FIG. 2 is another perspective view of the poolside goal system shown in FIG. 1, illustrating the poolside goal system configured to support a structure such as a volleyball net;

FIG. 3 is a perspective, exploded view of the poolside goal system shown in FIG. 1;

FIG. 4 is a front view of an exemplary embodiment of a volleyball net assembly, the volleyball net assembly preferably being sized and configured to be attached to a poolside goal system;

FIG. 5 is an enlarged front view of a portion of the volleyball net assembly shown in FIG. 4, illustrating a line and a portion of the net;

FIG. 6 is an enlarged front view of a portion of the volleyball net assembly shown in FIG. 4, illustrating a line and a portion of the net;

FIG. 7 is an enlarged, perspective view of a portion of an exemplary embodiment of a volleyball net assembly;

FIG. 8A is an enlarged, perspective view of an exemplary embodiment of a portion of a frame assembly that may be used in connection with a poolside goal system;

FIG. 8B is an enlarged, perspective view of the portion of the frame assembly shown in FIG. 8A, illustrating a pin removed from frame assembly;

FIG. 9A is a perspective view of an exemplary embodiment of a poolside goal system, illustrating a basketball goal assembly pivoting from a first position to a second position;

FIG. 9B is another perspective view of the poolside goal system shown in FIG. 9A, illustrating the basketball goal assembly in the second position;

FIG. 9C is still another perspective view of the poolside goal system shown in FIG. 9A, including a net assembly attached to the goal system;

FIG. 9D is yet another perspective view of the poolside goal system shown in FIG. 9C, illustrating a force being applied to the net assembly and the basketball goal assembly pivoting upwardly; and

FIG. 10 is a cross sectional side view of a portion of an exemplary embodiment of a support member of a poolside goal system.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

The present invention is generally directed towards a poolside goal system. The principles of the present invention, however, are not limited to a poolside goal system. It will be understood that, in light of the present disclosure, the poolside goal system could be used in connection with other suitable environments and situations. For example, the goal system does not have to be used with a swimming pool. In addition, the goal system could be used in connection with other types of sports, sporting equipment, and the like.

Additionally, to assist in the description of the poolside goal system, words such as top, bottom, front, rear, right and left are used to describe the accompanying figures. It will be appreciated, however, that the poolside goal system can be located in a variety of desired positions. It will also be appreciated that while the drawings are diagrammatic and schematic representations of exemplary embodiments of the poolside goal system, the drawings should not be considered as limiting the scope of the poolside goal system and the drawings are not necessarily to scale.

As shown in FIGS. 1, 2 and 3, an exemplary embodiment of the poolside goal system 10 may include a base 12, a goal support 14, and a basketball goal assembly 16. Thus, this exemplary embodiment of the poolside goal system may be used to play basketball. One of ordinary skill in the art will appreciate that the poolside goal system 10 may be sized and configured for other uses and to play other sports, such as volleyball.

Preferably, the base 12 includes a body with a top, a bottom, a first end, and a second end, but the base may other suitable configurations. The base 12 may also include a hollow interior portion and the base may include one or more fill/drain openings in communication with the generally hollow interior portion of the base. The fill/drain openings may allow the base 12 to be filled with suitable ballast materials, such as water or sand, which may help secure the poolside goal system 10 in a desired position. As shown in FIG. 3, one or more plugs 13a, 13b may be used to seal the one or more fill/drain openings in the base 12.

The base 12 is preferably constructed from plastic, such as polyethylene, and the base is preferably constructed from blow-molded plastic. The base 12 could also be constructed from other suitable type of plastic and other materials, and the base could also be formed using other suitable methods such as injection molding, compression molding, rotary molding, and the like. One of ordinary skill in the art will appreciate that the base 12 can have various sizes and configurations depending, for example, upon the intended use of the goal system 10.

The poolside goal system 10 may include one or more braces that help connect the goal support 14 to the base 12. For example, as shown in FIGS. 1, 2 and 3, braces 18a, 18b may be connected to the base 12 using fasteners 20a, 20b, respectively. The braces 18a, 18b may be connected to the goal support 14 by a fastener 22. In particular, in order to secure the braces 18a and 18b to the goal support 14, the fastener 22 may be inserted through generally aligned holes formed in the braces 18a, 18b and the goal support 14. In greater detail, as shown in FIG. 3, the braces 18a, 18b may include holes or openings 24a, 24b respectively that are aligned with a pair of holes or openings 26 in the goal support 14. One of ordinary skill in the art will appreciate that the goal support 14 could be connected to the base 12 in any suitable manner and using any suitable components. Accordingly, while braces 18a, 18b may be used to secure the goal support 14 to the base 12, the braces are not required.

The poolside goal system 10 may include one or more anchor assemblies 28 to help stabilize and/or restrict the movement of the poolside goal system 10. As shown in FIG. 3, an anchor assembly 28 may be located on opposing sides of the base and each anchor assembly may include an anchor 30a, 30b, respectively. The anchors 30a, 30b are preferably sized and configured to be attached to a support surface such as the ground, swimming pool deck, or the like. Preferably, the anchor assemblies 28 are selectively attached to the support surface to allow the poolside goal system 10 to be moved, if desired. The anchor assemblies 28, however, may be sized and configured to permanently attach the poolside goal system 10 in a fixed position.

In greater detail, the anchor assembles 28 may include anchors 30a, 30b that are preferably sized and configured to be attached to a structure such as a cement floor. The anchor assemblies 28 may also include one or more lines 32a, 32b (such as, chains, rope, cables, cords, and the like) that are sized and configured to be attached to the anchors 30a and 30b. As shown in FIG. 3, one or more fasteners, such as bolts 34a, 34b, may be used to connect the lines 32a, 32b to the anchors 30a, 30b, respectively. Advantageously, the fasteners 20a, 20b, which are used to connect the braces 18a, 18b to the base 12, may also be used to connect the lines 32a, 32b to the base. One of ordinary skill in the art will appreciate that the anchor assemblies 28 may have other suitable arrangements and configurations. In addition, although the accompanying figures illustrate the poolside goal system 10 as including two anchor assemblies 28, the goal system could have any suitable number of anchor systems and the goal system does not require the use of the anchor system. Other exemplary embodiments of anchors and anchor systems that may be used in connection with the poolside goal system 10 are shown in Assignee's U.S. Pat. No. 6,776,734, entitled Ground-Anchored Base for a Portable Basketball Goal Assembly, which issued on Aug. 17, 2004, and is hereby incorporated by reference in its entirety.

The poolside goal system 10 may include one or more wheel assemblies 36 to allow the poolside goal system to be conveniently moved from one desired location to another desired location, which may make the poolside goal system readily portable. As best seen in FIG. 3, the poolside goal system 10 may include a wheel assembly 36 disposed near the front of the base 12 and proximate the goal support 14. The wheel assembly 36 may include two wheels 38a, 38b attached to an axle 40, but the wheel assembly could include any suitable number or type of wheels, rollers, casters, sliders, and the like. The axle 40 may be inserted into one or more holes or openings 42 formed in goal support 14 and the ends of the axle may be disposed within one or more openings or slots in the base 12. One of ordinary skill in the art will appreciate that the wheel assembly 36 may be connected to the base 12 and/or goal support 14 in accordance with other suitable configurations and arrangements. Further, the wheel assembly 36 may be movable or pivotal relative to the base to allow, for example, the goal system 10 to be more easily turned while being moved. Other exemplary embodiments of wheel assemblies that may be used in connection with the goal system 10 are disclosed in Assignee's U.S. Pat. No. 6,432,003, entitled Adjustable Wheel Engagement Assembly for Basketball Goal Systems, which issued on Aug. 13, 2002; U.S. Pat. No. 6,656,065, entitled Wheel Mounted Adjustable Roller Support Assembly for a Basketball Goal System, which issued on Dec. 2, 2003; pending application Ser. No. 10/212,443, entitled Adjustable Wheel Engagement Assembly for Basketball Goal Systems, which was filed on Aug. 5, 2002; and pending application Ser. No. 10/648,174, entitled Wheel Mounted Adjustable Roller Support Assembly for a Basketball Goal System, which was filed on Aug. 26, 2003. Each of these patents and applications are hereby incorporated by reference in their entireties. While these wheel assemblies 36 may help facilitate movement of the poolside goal system 10, the poolside goal system does not require any wheels or wheel assembly.

As discussed above, the poolside goal system 10 is preferably used in connection with the basketball goal assembly 16, which may include a backboard or rebound member 44 and a basketball rim or goal 46. The basketball rim 46 may have a break-away or movable configuration, but could have a fixed configuration.

The backboard 44 is preferably constructed from plastic and is preferably formed by blow-molding. The backboard 44 may include a hollow interior portion that is formed during the blow-molding process. Advantageously, the generally hollow, blow-molded plastic backboard 44 may be relatively lightweight, which may help reduce shipping costs and may make it easier to assemble the goal system 10. The interior portions of the backboard 44 may optionally be filled with materials, such as foam, if desired. Of course, the backboard 44 need not be hollow and it could be constructed from a variety of other materials having any desired characteristic. In addition, the backboard 44 could be constructed from other suitable materials and processes.

As shown in the accompanying figures, the backboard 44 may include one or more depressions 48 that are formed on the rear surface of the backboard. The depressions 48 are preferably sized and configured to increase the strength and/or rigidity of the backboard 44. Advantageously, the depressions 48 may help create a backboard 44 with more uniform characteristics, which may create a backboard that provides a more consistent rebound. The depressions 48 may extend from the rear surface of the backboard 44 toward the front surface of the backboard. The depressions 48 may contact or engage the front surface of the backboard 44, but the depressions may also be spaced from the front surface of the backboard. It will be appreciated that the backboard 44 does not require any depressions.

The backboard 44 may include one or more bosses. For example, as shown in FIG. 3, the backboard may include bosses 50a, 50b, 50c, 50d that are preferably sized and configured to receive one or more screws, bolts, or other suitable fasteners. The bosses 50a, 50b, 50c, 50d are preferably sized and located to facilitate attachment of the backboard 44 to the goal system 10. Of course, the backboard 44 could include any suitable number of bosses 50a, 50b, 50c, 50d, including zero, and the bosses could be in any desired locations.

The goal support 14 of the poolside goal system 10 may include one or more posts or elongated support members. For example, as shown in FIGS. 1, 2 and 3, the goal support 14 may include a first elongated support member 52 and a second elongated support member 54. The first support member 52 may be connected to the base 12 using any suitable means and in any suitable fashion, and the second support member 54 may be connected to the basketball goal assembly 16 using any suitable means and in any suitable fashion. The first and second support members 52, 54 preferably comprise generally hollow tubes with a generally circular cross-section, but the support members need not be hollow and could have an oval, square, or other suitable configurations depending, for example, upon the intended use or purpose of the goal support 14.

The first support member 52 is preferably movably coupled to the second support member 54. For example, a portion of the second support member 54 may be inserted into the first support member 52, and the second support member may be rotated relative to the first support member. This may allow the second support member 54 to be positioned at any number of suitable locations relative to the first support member 52. In addition, this may allow the basketball goal assembly 16, which is connected to the second support member 54, to be positioned at any number of suitable locations relative to the first support member 52. For example, the support member 54 may be rotated or otherwise moved from a first, use position (such as the position shown in FIG. 1) in which the basketball goal assembly positioned for use and a second position (such as the position shown in FIG. 2) in which the basketball goal assembly is positioned away from the first position. Similarly, when desired, the support member 54 may be rotated or otherwise moved from the second position to the first position. Of course, the support member 54 and/or the basketball goal assembly 16 may be positioned in any other desired position depending, for example, upon the intended purpose of the poolside goal system 10.

Because the support member 54 and/or the basketball goal assembly 16 may be positioned in a variety of positions, a user may position the basketball goal assembly 16 for playing basketball and, when finished playing basketball, may reposition the basketball goal assembly 16 in a less obstructive position. This may also allow the goal system 10 to be used for purposes other than basketball. For example, as discussed in more detail below, the poolside goal system 10 may also be configured for playing volleyball. It may be advantageous to move the basketball goal assembly 16 to a position (such as, the position shown in FIG. 2) that will less likely interfere with the volleyball play or other activities.

The support members 52, 54 are preferably selectively locked in a fixed position so that the support members do not inadvertently move relative to each other. For example, the support member 52, 54 may include one or more engaging members that are sized and configured to prevent, hinder, obstruct, lock or otherwise restrict the relative movement of the support members 52, 54. In particular, as best shown in FIG. 3, the engaging members may include a pair or grooves or notches 56 formed in the lower portion of the second support member 54. The notches 56 are preferably sized and configured to engage the fastener 22 such that the fastener is disposed within the notch. Thus, when the second support member 54 is inserted into the end of the first support member 52, the fastener 22 is preferably disposed within the notches 56 and that prevents the second support member from rotating relative to the first support member. To move the second support member 54 relative to the first support member 52, a user may lift the second support member such that the fastener 22 is no longer disposed within the notch 56. The user may then rotate the second support member 54 relative to the first support member 52 into a second position. The user can then insert the end of the second support member 54 into the first support member 52 such that the fastener 22 is disposed within the notches 56 in a different orientation.

The first and second support members 52, 54 are preferably movable between a first position in which the basketball goal assembly 16 is in a first, use position and a second position in which the basketball goal assembly is positioned away from the first position. As shown in FIG. 1, the first, use position of the basketball goal assembly 16 may include the basketball rim 46 disposed away from the base 12 to allow basketball to be played. The second position, as shown in FIG. 2, may include the basketball rim 46 disposed towards the base 12 and the second position may be generally opposite the first position. One of ordinary skill in the art will appreciate that the first and second support members 52, 54 may have other suitable positions. One of ordinary skill in the art will also appreciate that a variety of different types of engaging members (such as, protrusions, bumps, grooves, channels, edges, surfaces, and the like) may be formed in the first support member 52 and/or second support member 54, and the engaging members may be used to restrict the movement of the support members 52, 54 in any suitable fashion. It will also be appreciated that the engaging members may be integrally formed as part of a support member or could be connected to a support member.

Advantageously, the engaging members may help avoid misalignment of the support members 52, 54. The engaging members may also facilitate assembly and/or use of the goal system 10. Additionally, the engaging members may facilitate use of the goal system 10. For example, a basketball player might inadvertently contact or intentionally hang on the basketball rim 46 and that could twist the support member 54 and the basketball goal assembly 16 to a position unsuitable for play. If this occurs, play must be halted while the basketball goal assembly 16 is being located in the proper position. Thus, the engaging members may restrict the movement of the basketball goal assembly 16 and may help avoid unintentional misalignment of the basketball goal assembly. It will be appreciated, however, that engaging members are not required and the support members 52, 54 could be connected in any suitable fashion. Further, the goal support 14 could include a unitary, one-piece support structure, if desired.

A bushing 58 may be positioned between the first and second support members 52, 54. In particular, as shown in FIG. 3, at least a portion of the bushing 58 may contact the upper end of the first support member 52 and at least a portion of the bushing may contact the second support member 54. The bushing 58 may be sized and configured to facilitate connection of the first and second support members 52, 54, and the bushing may help position the first and second support members in the desired locations. The bushing 58 may be constructed of a compressible material, which may be used, for example, to provide a compression fit between the first and second support members 52, 54. Thus, for example, the second support member 54 may compress at least a portion of the bushing 58 into the inner wall of the first support member 52. The second support member 54 may also have one, two or more portions that are sized and configured to compress at least a portion of bushing 58. The compression fit may advantageously help restrict the relative movement of the first and second support members 52, 54, which may help prevent unintentional movement of the basketball goal assembly 16. In addition, the bushing 58 may provide a bearing surface between the first and second support members 52, 54. For instance, if the bushing 58 is not used, the first and second support members 52, 54 could rub against each other as they are rotated, which could wear down or damage the support members. Thus, the bushing 58 may advantageously reduce the wear and deterioration that could occur when the first and second support members are in contact. One of ordinary skill in the art will appreciate that other suitable types of bushing 58 and other similar structures could be positioned between the first and second support members 52, 54, but the poolside goal system 10 does not require any bushings.

A frame assembly 60 is preferably used to connect the goal support 14 and the basketball goal assembly 16. As shown in FIGS. 2 and 3, the frame assembly 60 may include a frame 62 with one or more support arms, such as, support arms 64a, 64b. The frame 62 is preferably connected to the goal support 14 by fasteners such as bolts 66a, 66b. In particular, the support arms 64a, 64b may include holes or openings 68a, 68b, respectively, and these openings may be generally aligned with corresponding holes or openings 70 in the second support member 54 of the goal support 14. Accordingly, the fastener 66a may be inserted through the openings 68a, 68b and 70 to attach the support arms 64a, 64b to the second support member 54. Similarly, the support arms 64a, 64b may include holes or openings 72a, 72b, respectively, and these openings may be generally aligned with corresponding holes or openings 74 in the second support member 54. Accordingly, the fastener 66b may be inserted through the openings 72a, 72b and 74 to attach the support arms 64a, 64b to the second support member. Thus, the fasteners 66a and 66b may be used to connect the support member 54 and the frame 62. It will be appreciated, however, that the frame 62 may have other suitable configurations depending, for example, upon the size and configuration of the backboard 44 and/or the support member 14; and the frame can be attached to the be connected to the goal support 14 in other suitable manners and using other suitable devices or means.

The frame 62 is also connected to the basketball goal assembly 16. For example, the support arms 64a and 64b of the frame 62 may have one or more openings that are sized, positioned and configured to align with one or more bosses formed in the backboard 44, such as the bosses 50a, 50b, 50c, and 50d. One or more fasteners, such as screws, bolts or the like, may be inserted into the openings in the support arms 64a and 64b and engage the bosses 50a, 50b, 50c, and 50d to attach the frame 62 to the backboard 44. It will be appreciated that the frame 62 may be connected to the basketball goal assembly 16 in other suitable manners and using other suitable devices or means.

As shown in FIGS. 4-6, the poolside goal system 10 may include a net assembly 76 that allows a net, such as a volleyball net 78, to be attached to the goal system. The volleyball net 78 may be about thirty-nine (39) inches wide and about thirty-two (32) feet long and may be constructed of square mesh; however, the volleyball net 78 could have any other suitable dimensions and/or construction depending, for example, upon the intended use of the goal system 10. The volleyball net 78 may include one or more sleeve members 80 that extend along all or a portion of length of the volleyball net 78. The sleeve member 80 is preferably disposed proximate the top and/or bottom portions of the volleyball net, but the sleeve member may also be located in other suitable locations. In greater detail, a first sleeve member may be disposed proximate to the top of the volleyball net 78 and a second sleeve member may be disposed proximate to the bottom of the volleyball net 78. One of ordinary skill in the art will appreciate that any suitable type and/or configuration of net may be used with the goal system 10.

The net assembly 76 may include one or more strap members that are sized and configured to suspend the volleyball net 78 at a desired height and/or to provide a desired tension in the volleyball net 78. For example, at least a portion of a strap member 82 may be inserted through at least a portion of the sleeve member 80 and may be used to suspend the volleyball net 78 at any desired height. It will be appreciated that one or both ends of the strap member 82 may each be connected to a portion of a poolside goal system 10, such as the goal support 14, or other suitable support structure.

In greater detail, a first poolside goal system may be positioned proximate a first side of the pool and a second poolside goal system may be positioned proximate a second side of the pool. One end of the strap member 82 may be connected to the first poolside goal system and the other end of the strap member may be connected to the second poolside goal system. One or both ends of the strap member 82 could also be connected to other suitable structures. In addition, a single poolside goal system may be positioned on one side of the pool and one end of the strap may be connected to the goal system while the other end of the strap may be connected to another suitable structure.

The volleyball net 78 may be slidably or otherwise movably coupled to the strap member 82. For example, with the strap member 82 inserted into the sleeve member 80 and the ends of the strap member connected to one or more support structures, such as the poolside goal system 10, the volleyball net 78 may be slid into a desired position. The volleyball net 78, however, does not have to be slidably or otherwise movably coupled to the strap member 82.

The strap member 82 may be constructed from a nylon webbing and may have a width of at least about one (1) inch; however, the strap member could be constructed of other suitable materials and could have other suitable dimensions. Of course, the volleyball net assembly 76 does not require the strap members 82 and other suitable devices could be used to position the volleyball net 78.

The net assembly 76 may include one or more lines that are sized and configured to suspend the volleyball net 78 at a desired height and/or to provide a desired tension in the volleyball net 78. For example, as shown in FIGS. 4 and 5, the lower portions of the volleyball net 78 may include rings 84a, 84b through which lines 86a, 86b may be connected. Of course, the lines 86a, 86b could be connected to the volleyball net 78 in any suitable manner.

It will be appreciated that the net assembly 76 may be connected to a poolside goal system 10 or other suitable support structure in a variety of fashions. For example, as discussed above, the net assembly 76 may include one or more strap members 82 and the strap members may be connected to the support member 14. In particular, as shown in FIG. 7, a clip or bracket 88a may be connected to the second support member 54 by a fastener 90 and the strap member 82 may be inserted through the clip. The clip 88a is preferably pivotally or otherwise movably connected to the fastener 90 so that the clip may pivot or move about a joint 92. The net assembly 76 may also include a buckle 94 that is attached to the strap member 82 and the buckle may be used to adjust the length and/or tension of the strap member 82. Advantageously, the strap member 82, buckle 94 and the clip 88a may allow the net to be quickly and easily attached to the goal system 10. Additionally, as best seen in FIGS. 2 and 3, the lines 86a, 86b may be connected to a clip 88b that is connected to the goal system 10. The clip 88b, for example, may be connected to the wheel assembly 36. In particular, the clip 88b may be connected to the axle 40 of the wheel assembly by a fastener. Of course, the net assembly 76 could have other suitable arrangements and configurations depending, for example, upon the size and configuration of the goal system 10 and/or net 78. Further, while the straps 82, lines 86a, 86b, clips 88a, 88b, buckles 94 may be used to connected the net 78 to the poolside goal system 10, the goal system does not require the use of any or all of these various components.

It will be appreciated that these and other aspects of the net assembly 76 are not limited to poolside goal systems or volleyball systems. For example, the net assembly 76 may be used to construct a volleyball system to play outdoors (such as on grass, concrete, asphalt, or sand courts) or indoors (such as on hardwood or sport courts). Also, as an example, the net assembly 76 may be used to construct a badminton system or other sporting systems that may use a net. Indeed, it will be appreciated that these and other aspects of the net assembly 76 may be used in a variety of contexts other than poolside systems and used for a variety of sports other than volleyball.

FIGS. 8A and 8B are perspectives view of an exemplary embodiment of a portion of a frame 162 that be used to connect a goal support to a basketball goal assembly. The frame 162 may include one or more support arms, such as support arms 164a and 164b, and the frame 162 may be connected to an elongated support member 154 of a goal support 114 as shown in FIG. 9A. The frame 162 may be connected to the goal support 114 by one or more fasteners 166a, 166b, such bolts, nuts, pins, screws and the like.

As shown in FIGS. 8A and 8B, the support arms 164a, 164b may include a first set of one or more holes or openings, which may be generally aligned with one or more corresponding holes or openings in the support member 154 of the goal support 114. The fastener 166a may be inserted through the opening in the support arm 164b, through the corresponding openings in the support member 154 and through the opening the support arm 164a.

As shown in FIGS. 8A and 8B, the support arms 164a, 164b may include a second set of one or more holes or openings, which may be generally aligned with one or more corresponding holes or openings in the support member 154 of the goal support 114. The fastener 166b may be inserted through the opening in the support arm 164b, through the corresponding openings in the support member 154, and through the opening the support arm 164a.

Thus, the fasteners 166a and 166b may be used to connect the support member 154 and the frame 162. However, it will be appreciated that the frame 162 may be connected to the goal support 114 in any suitable manner and using other suitable devices or means.

As shown in FIGS. 8A and 8B, the frame 162 may be connected to the basketball goal assembly 116 and the basketball goal assembly may include a basketball backboard 144 and a rim 146. Preferably, the support arms 164a, 164b of the frame 162 includes one or more openings that are sized, positioned and configured to be aligned with one or more bosses formed in the backboard 144. This may allow one or more fasteners, such screws or bolts, to be inserted through the openings in the support arms 164a, 164b and the fasteners may engage the bosses to secure the frame 162 to the backboard 144. It will be appreciated that the frame 162 may be connected to the basketball goal assembly 116 in any suitable manner.

The frame 162 may be pivotally or otherwise movable relative to the support member 154 to allow the basketball goal assembly 116 to be moved into different positions. For example, the basketball goal assembly 116 and/or the frame 162 may be pivoted or otherwise moved between a first position (such as shown in FIGS. 8A and 8B) in which the basketball goal assembly is positioned for use and a second position (such as the position shown in FIG. 9B) in which the basketball goal assembly is positioned away from the first position. Desirably, the basketball goal assembly 116 is positioned such that the backboard is generally perpendicular to the ground, the rim is generally parallel to the ground, and the rim is positioned away from the base in the first position. This first position allows basketball to be played. In order to move the basketball goal assembly 116 into the second position, the basketball goal assembly may be pivoted about the top portion of the second support member 154 so that the front face of the backboard and rim are now generally disposed towards the base. Thus, the basketball goal assembly 116 and/or the frame 162 may be positioned in a pair of generally opposing positions (such as facing about 180 degrees from the other). Of course, the basketball goal assembly 116 and/or the frame 162 may be positioned in other desired positions depending, for example, upon the intended purpose of the poolside goal system.

Advantageously, because the basketball goal assembly 116 and/or the frame 162 may be positioned in a variety of positions, a user may position the basketball goal assembly 116 for playing basketball and may reposition the basketball goal assembly 116 in a less obstructive position when finished playing basketball. In addition, the user may position the basketball goal assembly 116 in a different position so that the goal system 110 may be used for different purposes. For example, the goal system 110 may be configured for playing different games or sports such as volleyball. Thus, the basketball goal assembly 116 may be moved so that it is less likely to interfere with playing volleyball such as shown in FIGS. 9B and 9C.

In greater detail, as shown in FIG. 9A, the poolside goal system 110 may include a basketball goal assembly 116 and the rim 146 and front face of the backboard 144 may be disposed away from the base 112 to allow basketball to be played. The basketball goal assembly 116 may be pivoted from this first, use position to the second position shown in FIGS. 9B. As shown in FIG. 9B, the rim 146 and the front face of the backboard 144 are now disposed towards the base 112 in the second position. When the basketball goal assembly 116 is in the second position, the goal system 110 may be used for other purposes, such as supporting a net. As shown in FIG. 9C, a net assembly 176 may be attached to allow games such as volleyball to be played.

Advantageously, the net assembly 176 and the basketball goal assembly 116 may be configured to interact or work together. For example, the basketball goal assembly 116 may be configured to counterbalance forces applied to the net assembly 176. For example, as shown in FIG. 9C, the net assembly 176 may include a volleyball net 178 and a strap member 182, and the strap member may be directly or indirectly connected to the basketball goal assembly 116. In particular, the strap member 182 may be connected to a portion of the frame assembly, such as the frame 162 or the fastener 166b, which is connected to the basketball goal assembly 116. When a force is applied to the net 178, as shown in FIG. 9D, the force may be transmitted to the strap member 182. The force on the strap member 182 may be used to move the basketball goal assembly 116 from the second position towards the first position. Accordingly, as shown in the accompanying figures, the basketball goal assembly 116 may pivot upwardly and forwardly, as shown in FIG. 9D, to counterbalance the force applied to the net assembly 176. It will be appreciated that springs and other devices could be used to counterbalance forces applied to the net assembly 176.

Accordingly, the basketball goal assembly 116 may be configured to absorb forces applied to the net assembly 176. This may help avoid damage or breaking of the net assembly 176, net 178 and/or the strap member 182. Further, this may help to avoid portions of the poolside goal system 110 from being misaligned or toppled. For example, a volleyball player might inadvertently contact or intentionally strike the net 178, which could move the goal system 110 to be moved from its desired location. However, because the basketball goal assembly 116 may be used to counterbalance and/or absorb forces applied to the net 178, that may prevent the goal system 110 from being unintentionally moved.

As discussed above, the poolside goal system 10, 110 may include a support structure 14 that include one or more support members, such as a first support member 52, 154 and a second support member 54. The support members 52, 54, 154 may be constructed from metal tubes that have a generally circular cross section. The support members 52, 54, 154 may also have other suitable shapes and configuration depending, for example, upon the intended use of the goal system 10, 110.

In addition, as discussed above, a bushing 58 may be positioned between and may be used to connect the support members, such as the first and second support members 52, 54. The bushing may be constructed of a compressible material to provide a compression fit between the support members. For example, when the support members 52, 54 are connected, the bushing 58 may be compressed between the first and second support members. In particular, as shown in FIG. 10, the support member 54 may have one or more flared portions 198a, 198b that are sized and configured to compress at least a portion of bushing 56. Of course, the second support member 54 may compress at least a portion of the bushing 58 with structures other than the flared portions 198a, 198b, and the support member 54 does not require any flared portions. Further, the support member 54 does not have to compress the bushing 58 and any suitable type of bushing may be used to connect or may be positioned between the support members. It will be appreciated, however, that the bushing 58 is not required.

One skilled in the art will also appreciate that although the exemplary embodiments discussed above have been described with respect to poolside goal systems, these aspects and features may also be used in connection with other types of sporting equipment and for sports other than basketball and volleyball.

Although this invention has been described in terms of certain preferred embodiments, other embodiments apparent to those of ordinary skill in the art are also within the scope of this invention. Accordingly, the scope of the invention is intended to be defined only by the claims which follow.