Title:
GAME PLAYING EQUIPMENT AND METHOD
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
Embodiments of the present invention described herein relate to sport game play procedures and rules, game arenas and/or equipment used for sports games. The game play method includes a face off procedure to begin a game by placing a ball between the shoulder blades of two players, each from an opposing team, and allowing each player to contest for the ball once signaled. The game play stick can be formed using a hollow tubular handle with a bottom and a top end the handle can be coupled to a base on the bottom end, and the top end of the handle can be connected to a ball receiving region.



Inventors:
Maki-petaja, Jaakko (Helsinki, FI)
Simola, Keni (Helsinki, FI)
Application Number:
12/166277
Publication Date:
06/04/2009
Filing Date:
07/01/2008
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
473/415, 473/517
International Classes:
A63B67/00; A63B47/02
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
KLAYMAN, AMIR ARIE
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
ZIEGLER IP LAW GROUP, LLC. (WESTPORT, CT, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A system for game playing comprising: a tubular structure having a bottom and a top end; the top end configured to receive and propel at least one ball; a handle located closer to the bottom end of the tubular structure configured to receive the at least one ball and inhibit the at least one ball from passing through the bottom end.

2. The system of claim 1, further comprising a ball handling region located at near the top end of the tubular structure; the ball handling region beginning at an apex located at approximately at the center of the length dimension of the tubular structure; the opening at the apex becoming wider towards the top end of the tubular structure.

3. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the handle and the ball handling region have an angle of less than 180 degrees.

4. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the ball handling region and the tubular handle are formed of a unitary body.

5. An arena for game playing, comprising: a floor with a length and a width dimension; two substantially parallel walls located at each end of the length dimension of the floor; a curved side wall located at each end of the width dimension of the floor.

6. The arena of claim 5, wherein the curved side wall configured to allow a player to climb onto at least a portion of the side wall.

7. The arena of claim 6, wherein the curved side wall forms combined with the floor to form an elliptical shape.

8. The arena of claim 5, further comprising a goal located at each end of the length dimension of the arena.

9. The arena of claim 5, wherein the curved portion of the arena is divided into a zone using a marking where a player is allowed to run.

10. A method of playing a game comprising: providing a tubular structure having a bottom and a top end; the top end configured to receive and propel at least one ball; providing a handle located closer to the bottom end of the tubular structure configured to receive the at least one ball and inhibit the at least one ball from passing through the bottom end providing more than two players on two teams; and passing a ball from one player to another player in order to score points by throwing the ball through at least one goal located on each end of an arena.

11. The method of claim 10, wherein a subsequent goal scored by a player who scored a previous goal, are worth a greater value than the point value of a regular goal.

12. The method of claim 10, further comprising penalizing a player for intentionally contacting the ball with at least one of a feet, legs, any part of their arm below their elbow.

13. The method of claim 10 further comprising using a face-off procedure comprising providing two player from an opposing team; placing a ball between the shoulder blades of two players; and each player allowed to contest for the ball once signaled.

14. The method of claim 10, further comprising providing a plurality of markings on a game playing surface to designate a function.

15. The method of claim 14, wherein one of the plurality of markings is a central marking located at the center of the game playing surface used for at least one of a: face-off procedure or a free shot at the goal.

16. The method of claim 10, further comprising providing a linear marking along a curved side wall of the arena to designate a wing zone, wherein the player is free to move while in possession of the ball.

17. The method of claim 10, further comprising providing a defensive zone near each goal defined by a dividing line and the ends of the arena; providing a game play rule where when a player is in the defensive zone the player is restricted from shooting directly at the goal.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED PATENT APPLICATIONS

Priority is claimed from U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 60/991,667 entitled “Game Playing Equipment and Method”, which is incorporated herein by reference in its entirety.

BACKGROUND

Embodiments of the present invention relate generally to game playing equipment, game playing methods and arenas for playing games. Particular, embodiments of the present invention relate to athletic team competition games and sports and equipment and arenas used for such games and sports.

Throughout history, people have engaged in various types of sports for fun, competition and business. Sports from hockey to golf have been developed with specific games, rules and procedures, equipment and, in some cases, game playing areas or arenas.

SUMMARY OF THE DISCLOSURE

Embodiments of the present invention described herein relate to sport game play rules procedures and, game arenas and/or game equipment used for sports games. While embodiments are described herein with reference to sports games involving a particular game stick and ball equipment, particular game play rules and procedures and particular game arenas, other embodiments may employ one or more of the particular equipment embodiments, game rules and procedure embodiments and/or game arena individually or in combination with other suitable equipment, rules, procedures and arena configurations without departing from the scope of the invention. Thus, embodiments of the invention also relate to individual components of sports games as described herein (including, but not limited to equipment, rules, procedures and arena configuration), as well as various combinations of those components.

For example, while game equipment described herein may be used in a designated arena, such as, but not limited to the arena described herein, the game equipment can also be used without an arena configuration described herein but, instead, in an open field, beach, park or other suitable open space. Similarly, the game playing rules and procedures described herein can be used with the equipment and arena described herein or with other suitable equipment and play areas. Also, the arena configurations described herein can be used in combination with the game play equipment, rules and procedures described herein or with other suitable game play equipment, rules and procedures. The description herein is intended to describe example embodiments and is not to be construed in a limiting manner.

In one example embodiment, the game is a contest between two teams of up to ten players, where only four players from each team can be on the playing surface at any given time. The game is played with a game play stick that is used to catch and throw (pass or shoot) the ball. In general, the game is played by throwing the ball to other members of one's team to move the ball toward the opposing team's end of the arena and into or through a goal located at or near that end of the arena. A predefined point value is awarded when a team successfully moves the ball into or through the appropriate goal. When the player has possession of the ball while in certain defined zones of the arena, that player cannot run. If the player is running when the player receives the ball then the player stops running as soon as possible or within a predefined number of steps or distance from location of receipt.

The team that acquires the highest number of points wins. In one example, points are scored by shooting the ball through circular goals located high in the air at each end of the arena, as described in further detail below. In that example embodiment, each goal is worth a predefined point value, such as but not limited to, one point, unless one of the following conditions occurs: i) Goals scored by a “hot-player” (defined below) are worth a bonus, such as but not limited to one or more additional points, and ii) Any goals scored as a result of a shot initiated in the “wing zones” of the arena are worth a bonus, such as but not limited to one or more additional points.

The game play equipment can be a tubular stick structure having a handle, a base and a ball catching region. The tubular handle has a diameter and length to hold one or more balls. The base of the stick may be sealed or otherwise configured in size or shape to inhibit the balls from falling to the ground. The catching end may be split open from about half the length of the stick to the end of the stick. At the catching end, the stick may be in a semicircular shape.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a front view of a player holding a game play stick and a ball thrown by the player.

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of the game play stick shown in FIG. 1.

FIG. 3 is a cross-section view of the game play stick from FIGS. 1 and 2.

FIG. 4 is a perspective view of an arena that can be used to play a team sport.

FIG. 5 is a top-down, cross-sectional view of the arena from FIG. 4.

FIG. 6 is a flow chart of a face-off method for beginning the team sport

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

Embodiments of the current invention relate to athletic sport, including team games and individual games, associated with the sport, equipment and arenas that may be used with embodiments of the sport. Team games may be conducted such that each player can use a game play stick 10 to propel and receive a ball 18 as shown in FIG. 1. The athletic game may be played with game sticks as shown and described with respect to FIGS. 2 and 3, on an arena as shown and described with respect to FIGS. 4 and 5.

In the embodiments of FIGS. 2 and 3, the game play stick 10 is formed as a unitary tubular structure composed of a generally cylindrical tube that is open at least one end to form the ball handling region 16 and closed or otherwise restricted at a second end to inhibit the ball from passing through the end. The second end of the tubular structure can form a handle 12. Various structures can inhibit the ball from passing through the second end of the tubular structure, such as but not limited to, a narrowing tubular structure, a tubular structure changes into a rectangular or an oval shape, a net like structure or a seal.

As shown in FIG. 2, the game play stick 10 can have a tubular structure having a handle 12 and a ball handling region 16. FIG. 3 shows a cross-sectional view of the game play stick 10 from FIG. 2. In the cross sectional view, the hollow handle is configured to receive and/or retain one or more balls 18. A bottom end 14 of the handle can be sealed or otherwise configured in size or shape to inhibit a ball from passing through the bottom end 14. A top end 13 of the handle can extend into or be coupled to the ball handling region 16. The ball handling region 16 can have curved edges, the ball handling region can form a tubular member having a larger diameter than the diameter of the handle 12. In the embodiment shown in FIGS. 2 and 3 the ball handling region 16 is shown having an angle A of the handle 12. Other embodiments of the tubular structure can be straight and thus have no angle. In other embodiments, the game play stick 10 can be formed of multiple coupled tubular section structures.

In the embodiment of FIG. 3, a game play stick 10 having a tubular handle 12 with the hollow tube extending the entire length of the handle is shown. In other embodiments, the hollow tube of the handle 12 can extend less than the entire length of the handle 12. FIG. 3 shows the tubular structure in the handle 12 retaining at least three balls 18. In other embodiments, the handle 12 can retain more or less than three balls 18. The balls 18 can enter the handle via the opening in the tubular structure that provides the ball catching region 16.

In one embodiment of the current invention, the ball can be spherical in shape and have a diameter of approximately 30 to 50 millimeters. In one preferred embodiment the ball can have a diameter of 48 millimeter with a range of 35 to 50 millimeters. The ball may be made of a material and constructed, such that when the ball is at a temperature of 20 degrees Celsius and dropped from a height of 1 meter onto a hard surface the ball should bounce to a height of about 40 to 50 centimeters. In other embodiments, other projectiles such as other balls having other suitable materials, shapes, sizes and weights may be used.

In the above equipment, the ball 18 and the game play stick 10 can be utilized for various games to propel the ball. In one embodiment, the equipment can be used to play a game in any suitable game playing area or arena. In another embodiment, the equipment can be used in an arena 20 as shown in FIG. 4.

Embodiments of the present invention can include an arena 20 in which a game is played, where the game may involve one or more players (such as two or more teams of players) using game play sticks 10 and one or more balls as described above. Other embodiments include an arena as described herein, used with other types of game equipment, balls, catching and throwing devices or the like. Described below with reference to FIGS. 4 and 5 are non-limiting examples of arenas and team sport games played in such arenas that involve game playing sticks and balls as described above.

The arena 20 can be defined by a playing surface and walls surrounding the playing surface. There can be side walls and end walls extending from the playing surface. The side walls can be curved walls extending from the playing surface. A goal may be located at or near the end walls. A passage located at or near the end walls can allow players to enter or exit a central playing surface.

In one embodiment of the current invention, the playing surface of the arena 20 can be generally flat and can be the floor of the arena 20. The playing surface can have a length and a width dimension and at least one wall attached to or otherwise extending from each of the four sides of the floor. In one embodiment, the playing surface can be generally rectangular. The playing surface can be have markings that designate various zones and areas. In an example embodiment, the playing surface can be about 50 meters long and a width of about 20 meters. In further example embodiments, the playing surface can be have a ceiling height above the playing surface ranging from about 40 to about 60 meters and a width raging from about 15 to about 25 meters. The playing surface can be constructed from any suitable material that allows a player to run and a ball to bounce.

In one embodiment, the arena includes curved side walls wherein a curved side wall extends laterally outward and upward from each side of the width dimension of the floor. The curvature of the side wall can allow a player to climb and run up and onto at least a portion of the side wall. In one embodiment, the curved side wall can form an elliptical shape. The curved side walls can gradually extend outward and rise to the height of about 5 meters at the widest portion of the arena 20. In other embodiments, the height of the curved side wall can have an a range of about 4 to 8 meters. Other embodiments may have other suitable side wall heights. After reaching the widest point of the area the curved side wall can go higher and curve back towards the top of the arena. In the embodiment as shown in FIG. 4 the curved side walls can connect the playing surface to the a roof. In one embodiment, the width of the curved side wall can be about 8 meters having an approximate range of 6 to 10 meters.

In one embodiment of the current invention, the end walls can extend upward from or adjacent to each end of a length dimension of the arena 20. Each end wall can have at least one opening or passageway for the entrance and exit of players to and from the playing surface. The opening for the players can be located at the playing surface height of the arena. In other embodiments, the end wall can connect with the curved side walls of the arena 20 or in other embodiments, the entire structure of the end walls and the side walls can be formed of a unitary body. At least one goal 22 may be provided on or near each end wall.

In one embodiment of the current invention, two goals can be arranged in the arena 20, one on each end wall, on opposite ends of the lengthwise dimension of the playing surface. In the embodiment shown in FIG. 4, each goal 22 can be an opening in the end wall. One example goal can be a round opening in the end wall that can be up to 2 meters in diameter, through which the ball 16 may pass. In other embodiments, each goal 22 can be a ring located on or near an end wall, through which the ball 16 may pass. In other embodiments, the goal 22 can be an opening, receptacle, hoop or other suitable structure having any suitable shape including, but not limited to, a rectangle, oval, hexagon, or a parallelogram into or through which the ball 16 may be received or passed.

The roof and each wall of the arena 20 can be constructed of any suitable material, such as, but not limited to a transparent (including partially transparent) polycarbonate or other transparent material. In other embodiments the floor can be constructed from the same materials as the walls or other suitable materials.

The arena 20 can be utilized for a variety of game playing methods and procedures. Described herein is one example embodiment of the game play method and arena configuration. The object of one example game can be to score the highest number of points. Points can be scored when the ball passes through the opposing teams goal. In one embodiment the players can pass the ball to team members in an attempt to move the ball closer to or into the goal.

The game playing surface can be marked with lines, shapes or other visible indicia that can designate zones, lanes, or other areas of significance in certain game embodiments. An example embodiment of markings on the game playing surface and games that use such marking are described below with reference to FIGS. 4 and 5. However, other embodiments may employ other suitable markings and games.

Markings including lines can be utilized to divide the playing surface. The game playing surface in one embodiment can be divided into two halves using a marking, for example a dividing line also referred to as the central line 46. The center line 46 extends across the width dimension of the playing surface, near the center of the playing surface. In one example embodiment, during game play each half can be defended by a respective one of the two teams. In one embodiment, a defensive zone is designated near each goal, an area where a team can defend its goal. The area near each goal can be referred to as the defensive zone 38, defined by a dividing line also referred to as a defensive line 40. Each defensive line 40 extends across at least a portion of the width dimension of the playing surface, and is located between the center line 46 and a respective goal 22. Each defensive line 40 has right and left end points on respective right and left side zone lines 48. Another set of lines is used to mark the playing surface such that opposing end points of the defensive line are connected to form an X shape on the playing surface. The set of lines can be referred to as wedge lines 44. Each central area enclosed by two wedge lines 44 and a defensive line 40 can be in the shape of a triangle and can be referred to as a wedge 32. Zone lines 48 extend parallel to the length dimension of the playing surface and can be located at the right and left outer sides of the width dimension of the playing surface.

In one example embodiment, the center line 46 can be a solid red line, approximately 8 centimeters in thickness and span the width of the arena. In another embodiment, the center line 46 can have two other markings for example, but not limited to, open circles and can be referred to as break points. In one embodiment, the two break points can be approximately 0.5 meters in diameters about 5 meters from the center of the playing surface. The line that forms the break points in one example embodiment can be about 3 centimeters thick.

Each defensive line 40 can be a solid line of any suitable color, for example a red line, that is parallel to the center line 46. Each defensive line 40 can be located approximately 8 meters from a respective end of the arena 20 and can connect to the zone lines 48 at each end. The defensive line can be further marked with other markings, for example, but not limited to, two black circular in shaped spots. The black spots can be used as locations to restart the game after a penalty. The area between the defensive line 40 and the closest goal 22 can referred to as the defensive zone 38. In one embodiment the players may not shoot at the closest goal while standing in the defensive zone.

In one example embodiment, the playing surface can have two wedge lines 44 that can be approximately 3 centimeters thick ending at locations on the defensive lines 40. The wedge lines can intersect each other by connecting at the central marking 34 opposing ends of the defensive lines discussed above. The intersecting wedge lines described in the above embodiments can create various zones.

In one example embodiment, the wedge lines 44 can form a wedge 32. The wedge 32 can be an area on the playing surface extending from the center of the playing surface to the ends of the wedge lines 44. In the drawings, the wedge 32 has a triangular shape. However, in other embodiment the wedge lines 44 and wedge 32 can be modified to form any suitable shape.

In one embodiment, the zone lines 48 can define a boundary at which the generally flat floor of the playing surface curves upward to form the curved side walls. The curved side wall portion of the arena can have a wing zone 30. During the game a player in the wing zone 30 can be allowed to move or perform certain actions not allowed in the central zone 42 or flat area between the two zone lines of the playing surface, according to the games rules. In one embodiment, players may move freely for up to five seconds within the wing zone

The central zone 42 can be formed between the above mentioned zone lines 48 and defensive lines 40. The central zone 42 can be rectangular in shape. In one example embodiment of a game, a player in the central zone 42 may not take more than three steps within the zone while controlling the ball, without passing or shooting the ball. However, in other embodiments, a player may move without restriction. Rules regarding the player's conduct and scoring may be applied differently in the various different zones marked on the playing surface.

In an example embodiment, the center of the playing surface can be marked with a center marking 34 that can designate an area of a size that allows at least two players to stand within it. In an example game, the center marking 34 can be referred to as a mental spot. The center marking 34 can be for example in a circular shape of about 3 meters in diameter. In other embodiments, the center marking can be other suitable sizes and shapes.

In one embodiment, team benches 70 can be located in an area outside the playing surface, past each teams respective goals. Players may enter and exit the playing surface from the team bench area conveniently through an open passage in the end walls.

In one embodiment of the current invention, a game can be played using the above described arena 20, game play stick 10 and/or ball 16. In another embodiment of the current invention other game play sticks, arena or ball can be used to play a game using rules and procedures as described herein.

Embodiments of the present invention can include team game sports, as well as one on one game sports. Another aspect of the present invention relates to manners of starting the game play using a face off procedure as described herein. The duration of the game may be divided into periods and sub periods that occur after the face-off procedure. During the game, players can score points and obey the rules and procedures of the game or be penalized by a referee. A referee can be present to control the players conduct and keep official time. In one embodiment the referee can use various body and/or hand signals to communicate infractions and events during a game to the players and the audience of the game. In further embodiments of the game, by following certain rules and scoring in succession or being in certain zones, a team or player can score bonus points. In other embodiments, an arena is not required and the game can be played on a street or other suitable locations.

In one embodiment a team can be formed with a plurality of players. In an example embodiment, a team can have at least five players. In another embodiment a team can have no more than ten players. In one example embodiment, each team must have no more than four players on the game playing surface at any time. A game can begin with a number of players on game playing surface. As part of the game play a team may substitute players at their discretion during the game and during game breaks. However, in one embodiment once the match has entered an over-time period, no substitutions are permitted.

Once the players are on the game play surface a game can begin. In one embodiment, a game can begin using a face-off procedure, for example, as shown in FIG. 7. The example face-off procedure of FIG. 7 can start by standing two players from opposing teams adjacent one another, but facing an opposing directions, back-to-back (F1). Next, a ball is placed between the shoulder blades of the two players (F2). Then, the two players are given a signal (F3) to separate and contest for the ball (F4). This procedure ends when the ball exits the mental spot 34, described in greater detail below.

In another embodiment of the face-off procedure a referee can place the ball between the two players while the players face each other. Then the referee can signal the two players to contest for the ball. The signal can be a whistle or other audible sound made by the referee or other game official. Each team may select one player to compete in the face-off. In another embodiment various rules can govern players conduct during the face-off procedure, for example, players competing in the face-off are permitted to bend slightly at the knee but must, in the match referee's opinion, be standing upright. The players support the ball above the playing surface by pressing the ball between their respective back. Players competing in the face-off may not separate or try to dislodge the ball until the referee has blown the whistle to indicate play has begun. As the players separate the ball may fall toward the playing surface, while the face-off players contest for the ball by trying to grab the ball and place it in the player's game stick. In one embodiment, players competing in the face-off may not touch the ball, or use their stick or clothing to touch the ball, until it has at least dropped below a player's knee. If a player fails to comply with the face off procedures then the player or the player's team can be penalized.

The face off procedure is completed when the ball leaves the central marking 34 such as, but not limited to, when a player in possession of the ball leaves the central marking 34.

During the face-off the players not competing in the face-off must stand outside the central marking perimeter until the face-off has ended. Players must stand on their team's side of the center line until the face-off has ended. The penalty for failing to conform to the above rules, is that the opposing team is awarded a free-throw from the central marking 34.

In situations where the match referee deems it necessary to stop the game for injury or reasons not clearly defined in the rules of the game and one team clearly has possession of the ball, the game will be started by a free-throw award to the team in possession of the ball at the time of stoppage and from the nearest break or black point to the ball carrier (a player in possession of the ball) when play was stopped. In other embodiments, if the match referee deems it necessary to stop the game for reasons not covered by the rules of the game when neither team has clear possession of the ball, the game can be restarted using the face-off procedure.

A game can have matches of limited duration. The duration of one match can be determine before the beginning of the match. In one example embodiment, a match between two teams can be divided into three periods. In an example embodiment each period can be fifteen minutes long and can be further subdivided into rounds. In an example embodiment, each round can have a five minute duration. In further embodiments, between each round, a team can be allowed to take a one minute time-out, and between each period, there can be an intermission of up to fifteen minutes. In one embodiment, a time-out is the ability of a team to stop the clock for tactical discussion or to take a break for one minute once per period. An over-time period can be provided, if at the end of regulation time the score is tied. In one embodiment, the over-time period can be five minutes long. In another embodiment, the overtime period can end when one team has scored a goal, where the scoring team will be declared the winner. If neither team has scored at the end of the over-time period then the game can be decided by a mental shot competition discussed in greater detail below. In one embodiment, the mental spot competition can be a best-of-five with the team scoring the most goals during this time being declared as the winner. The best-of-five can be a method where each team takes five shots on goal and the team with the highest number of successful goal sis declared the winner. In other embodiments each team can take different number of shots such as but not limited to 3, 4, 6, 7 or more. If the scores are tied after the mental shot competition then the teams will continue taking mental shots under sudden-death regulations discussed in greater detail below.

In one embodiment, teams can change sides of the arena at the end of each period. In further embodiments, the players are allowed to leave the playing surface during the intermission between periods. During the one-minute time-out between rounds players will be permitted to congregate on the playing surface or at their respective team benches 70. However, in one embodiment the players may not be allowed to leave the arena 20 during the one-minute time-out period.

In one embodiment of the current invention, game play can be stopped for various reasons, such as but not limited to team timeouts, injury or consultation with the officials. Each team can have one team timeout per match which can last for one minute. During the timeout teams may congregate on the playing surface or at their respective team bench, but in one embodiment teams can be prohibited from leaving the arena 20. In order to take a team time-out, a team signals its intent to a match official who must then prevent play from restarting.

In one embodiment, a match referee can be provided to regulate the game. A match referee can be the default time-keeper but can delegate the duty to an assistant referee or an official time-keeper. In another embodiment, if the match referee elects to delegate time-keeping responsibility, the match referee remains responsible for signaling any stoppages to the new time-keeper.

In one embodiment of the present invention, if time expires after the match referee has awarded a mental shot, then time shall be extended until the shot has been taken and either a goal is scored or the ball has rebounded off the backboard. In another embodiment, the match referee has the authority to discontinue the match at any time if the match referee believes that it would be dangerous to continue.

The team with the greater number of points at the end of the game wins. One or more points can be scored for a team when the ball passes through the opposing teams goal. In one embodiment, the players can pass the ball to team members in an attempt to move the ball closer to the goal. A pass can be an attempt to transfer possession of the ball from one player to another by throwing the ball using the game stick. In the game play method, an objective is to win the game by scoring the highest number of points.

Various different methods of scoring could be used in embodiments of the invention. In one embodiment, each ordinary goal is worth one point. In other embodiments, each ordinary goal may be awarded any suitable defined number of points. In one embodiment, various conditions must be met for a goal to count. For example, the ball must pass completely into the goal for a goal to count. As a further example, for a goal to count, the ball must be delivered into the goal through the use of the game play stick described above. In such embodiments, if a player delivers the ball into the goal without use of the stick, then the opposing team will be awarded a free-throw from the spot nearest to where that player was located when the ball left the player's possession. In a further embodiment, if a player delivers the ball into their own team's goal, with or without use of the stick, then the goal will be credited to the opposing team. In a further embodiment, for a goal to count the ball must be delivered into the goal from the opposing team's side of the center line and not within the defensive zone.

In a further embodiment, bonus points can be awarded for scoring a goal under certain game play conditions. A goal can be worth more than an ordinary goal (and for example, may be worth multiple points, such as two points), if the opposing team is operating under a hot-time period, described below. If the player who scored a current goal also scored the latest previous goal, then the current goal can be worth more than an ordinary goal (and for example, may be worth multiple points, such as two points). In one embodiment a player who scores one goal is referred to as a hot-player and any additional goals scored by that player are worth more than an ordinary goal (and for example, may be worth multiple points, such as one or more additional points). In another embodiment, a goal scored as a result of a shot initiated in the wing zones can be worth more than an ordinary goal (and for example, may be worth multiple points, such as one additional point). Hot time ends when the period expires, after the hot player as scored another goal, after a goal is scored by another player on either team, or when the hot player is substituted.

In one embodiment, after a goal has been scored, the game can be restarted by a free-throw. In other embodiments a face off procedure can be used to restart the game after a goal. If a free-throw is used to restart the game, then the free-throw can be taken by the non-scoring team from one of the two black points nearest to the goal in which the goal was scored. In one embodiment, the players on the scoring team should stand on their own side of the center line until the free-throw has been taken.

In one embodiment of the present invention, a player can gain the designation of a special player by meeting certain requirements. A player who scores a goal is considered to be a special player. The special player can be referred to as the “hot player.” Any goals scored by that player will be worth more than the normal allocation (such as, but not limited to, one point over the normal allocation) until one of the following occurs, at which time, the player's hot-time will expire, the period ends, the hot-player scores another goal, a goal is scored by another player from either team or the hot player is substituted out.

In embodiments of the current invention decisions made by the match official can be final and, in one embodiment may not be disputed. The match officials can be a match referee and one or more assistant referees, appointed by the match organizers. If the match referee is unable to complete the match, then the most senior assistant referee will be appointed as the new match referee for the duration of the match.

In one embodiment of the game play rules, the match referee can have multiple duties before the match that can include the coin toss or other procedures for selecting a side, ensuring that the arena 20 is safe, ensuring that the match ball meets the ball specification requirements and also ensuring that the players' attire meets game requirements.

In one embodiment of the present invention, prior to the beginning the game, the match referee can organize a coin toss before the match. In an example coin toss, one team player tosses a coin and the other team players chooses a side of the coin. The team players whose chosen side or declared side lands facing up is declared the winner of the coin toss. The team players involved in the coin toss can be team captains. The winner of the toss in one embodiment, is granted the right to choose which end of the arena to play from in the opening period. The winning team can inform the match referee of their decision at least five minutes before the start of the match. Alternatively, the match referee can randomly assign teams to each end of the arena.

In one embodiment of the current invention, a player can be allowed to shoot an uninhibited shot at the goal from a particular location on the playing surface. The shot can be referred to as a mental shot. The mental shot is a free shot at the goal, awarded by the match referee, and taken by one player from within the central marking 34 or the mental spot. A mental shot is awarded to a team when a player catches a ball thrown by a member of the same team and the catching player has at least one part of one foot within the mental spot.

However, in further embodiments, a mental shot may not awarded if the ball is caught from a free-throw. The player who caught the ball which resulted in the mental shot award must take the mental shot. If the catching player is injured in the process of catching, or is otherwise unable to take the mental shot, then play will restart with a free-throw from the mental spot. The team that was awarded the mental shot will take the free-throw. In one embodiment, during a mental shot the player must shoot at the goal. The player taking the mental shot must have both feet within the mental spot when the ball is released from the game play stick 10. The player taking the mental shot must wait until the match referee has blown the whistle to signal that play has begun before taking the shot. The mental shot ends if the ball leaves the mental spot.

Players on the opposing team can stand relatively still with their hands by their side until the mental shot has been taken. If the mental shot was successful then there is no penalty, but if the shot was not successful then it is retaken. In one embodiment, players on the opposing team must make no effort to distract the player taking the mental shot, through motion, sound, or otherwise. In further embodiments, players on the opposing team must not stand in the wedge in front of the goal being targeted or in the defensive zone under the goal being targeted until the mental shot has been taken.

In embodiments of the present invention, the match referee can have multiple duties such as but not limited to, enforcing the rules of game in a fair and impartial manner, operating as a judge or the sole judge of fact and interpretation of rules during a match, grant permission for medically trained persons to enter the playing surface, record the score, track the time, identify and time hot-players (discussed in greater detail below), stop the match following outside interference and ensure that no unauthorized persons enter the arena.

In further embodiments, an assistant referee can have various responsibilities during the match, such as but not limited to, assist the match referee as required by the match referee, and govern the penalty box. Moreover, the assistant referee can also inform the match referee of any incidents of foul which the match referee has not seen, advise the match referee when requested by the match referee and to communicate with the teams before and during the match, when asked by the match referee.

In further embodiments of the game, both the match referee and the assistance referee can consult with one another before making a decision. In further embodiments, to facilitate a faster communication the match referee and the assistant referee may use a telecommunication device, such as but not limited to a two-way radio, ham radio or cellular phone.

In one embodiment, if the ball contacts the match referee, then the play can continue as long as one side has not gained an advantage due to the contact. However, if one side gains an advantage from the contact, the referee can stop the play and award a free-throw (free-throw procedure will be discussed in greater detail below) to the disadvantaged side.

In one embodiment, the match referee can have a duty to communicate the score to a representative of both teams. However in other embodiments an electronic score board can be used to keep track of the score. The electronic score board can be controlled by the match referee or other authorized individuals who can be instructed by the match referee.

The player's conduct may be regulated by the match referee. The match referee regulates the player conduct by penalizing the player or the team. There are multiple penalty classes that can be used by the match referee. In one embodiment, the match referee is the sole judge of the severity of a foul and therefore in determining the class of penalty which shall be awarded to a player or team as permitted by rule. In yet another embodiment the assistant referee or other authorized individuals can judge the severity of a foul and therefore determine or participate in determining the class of penalty. Penalties can be assessed as actual playing time and are divided into the following classes: free-throw, minor penalty, major penalty and serious misconduct.

When a free-throw class of penalty is declared, a free-throw can be awarded to the non-offending team. In another embodiment, a free-throw can be a least severe penalty class. A free-throw can be taken from the nearest break point or black point to the incident which resulted in the free-throw award as determined by one of the referees. In one embodiment, any player on the team that is awarded a free-throw may take the free throw. During the free throw procedure the player can attempt to pass the ball and not shoot directly at the goal from a free-throw penalty. However, if the free throw shooting player accidentally scores, then a free-throw is awarded to the opposing team from the same spot. During the free throw the players not taking the free-throw must stand at least two meters from the player taking the free-throw.

When the match referee declares a minor penalty, a mental shot can be awarded to the non-offending team. Any player from the non-offending team may take the mental shot. A minor penalty can the fourth least severe penalty. Misuse of a game play stick can be deemed a minor penalty. When the referee declares a major penalty, a mental shot can be awarded to the non-offending team. In other embodiments, the referee can choose between awarding a mental shot or a free throw for a minor penalty or a major penalty. In addition, an offending player can receive a penalty suspension for a specified period of time, such as, but not limited to one minute.

If the referee declares serious misconduct, then a mental shot can be awarded to the non-offending team. In addition, in one embodiment, the offending player can receive a penalty suspension for a specified period of time, such as, but not limited to three minutes, after which that player may be ejected from the game for any subsequent misconduct. In other embodiments, the player can receives more than three minutes or less than three minutes for a serious misconduct penalty.

When a player receives a penalty suspension, the player can proceed immediately to the penalty box. A penalty box is an area of the arena where the players serving temporary suspension can sit. A player in the penalty box is considered to be on the playing surface and so he may not be replaced by the offending team until the player's suspension has finished. A player in the penalty box may not leave the penalty box until given permission by a match official or until the period ends. However, the player can return to the play area of the play surface at the beginning of the next period. However, if the non-offending team scores a goal while an opponent is under penalty suspension then the player's suspension will immediately end.

A player who has been ejected from the game can immediately leave the arena 20. This includes the playing surface, the penalty box, and the team bench. Although the player will not be physically in the penalty box, the player is still considered as serving a three minute penalty suspension and therefore may not be replaced until the penalty suspension period (for example, three minutes) has expired.

In one example embodiment of the current invention, a team may have no more than two players under suspension at any one time. If a third player receives a penalty suspension, then that player can be permanently replaced until the end of the round and the player's penalty suspension time will be added to the time of the player in the penalty box with the longest time yet to serve. If both players in the penalty box have an equal amount of time to serve, then the match official can randomly assign the additional time to either one of the players in the penalty box.

If the non-offending team scores a goal while players on the opposing team are serving concurrent penalty suspensions, then the suspension of the player with the least amount of time left to serve can end.

The referee can use any suitable variation of gestures to signal events during a match. A referee can use the signals that are preferred by the referee, so long as they communicate the same concept to each team and the audience. In one embodiment, a goal can be expressed as arms outstretched pointing to the goal in which the points were scored. In another example embodiment, a free-throw can be expressed as an arm outstretched pointing to the end of the arena that the team awarded the free-throw is playing toward.

The referee can signal a face-off by open palms held together. A minor penalty mental shot can be communicated by an arm bent with open hand positioned behind the ear then the arm straightened while pointing toward the goal at which the mental shot will be taken. Arms held laterally away from the body can represent a major penalty. Serious misconduct can be represented by arms crossed at the forearm above the head.

When a player takes more than the allowed number of steps, the match referee can signal by fists rotated in front of the body. To signal holding, the referee can outstretch arms in front of the chest and their pull them back into the body. A holding can be the act of restraining an opposing player by use of the hands or arms. Obstruction can be signaled by palms held facing out in front of the body. If a player has illegal contact with the ball below the waist, a foot swept back and forth can be the signal for the associated infraction or penalty. A player conducts an illegal contact with the ball by deliberately using a foot, leg, hands, or lower arm, to manipulate the ball.

If a player has illegal contact with the ball above the waist, the referee can signal that by fingers of one hand tapping against the palm of the other. Ball holding can be represented by the arms pulled down into the chest from a vertical position.

The match referee can signal an illegal pass by sweeping an arm back and forth to the side of his body. An illegal pass can be defined as intentionally rolling or bouncing the ball on the playing surface, or causing the ball to leave the game play stick and then initiating contact with the ball before it has been touched by a second player.

An illegal re-entering of zone can be signaled by and open hand swept back and forth with fingers pointing away from his body. If the ball is unplayable, the match referee could signal by holding the knuckles of each fist together. To signal time-wasting, the referee can use an open palm taping the left wrist of the other arm. The misuse of the stick can be signaled by chopping the forearm in front of the body.

An illegal tripping can be signaled by a knee lifted and hand moved in a slashing motion down the side of the shin. Tripping can be an act of using the feet, stick, or hands, to cause another player to stumble or check their run. A punching can be signaled by first smacking an open palm. Punching can be an action of using the fist or elbow to intentionally hit an opponent. Kicking can be signaled by lifting one foot behind the body and tapping the ground with the toe. Kicking can be the act of using the foot or knee to intentionally hit an opponent. A dissent can be signaled by and outstretched hand opening and closing to mimic talking.

If a player sustains an injury and is bleeding, then the referee can order that player to leave the playing surface until the bleeding has stopped and the wound has been covered. Once play has been stopped in order to allow an injured player to receive treatment, that injured player can leave the playing surface before the game has been restarted. If a player is sufficiently injured and cannot continue to play, then in one embodiment, the game shall not be stopped until the injured player's team has secured possession of the ball. However, if the injured players' team has possession of the ball at the time of injury then the game can be stopped immediately by the match referee. An only exception to the possession rule can be when the match referee or an assistant referee judges that a player has sustained serious injury. In that event, the referee or assistant referee can stop the game immediately and instruct the appropriate medical team to enter the playing surface.

If the match referee believes that a player is sufficiently injured and should no longer play, then the referee can ban the player from the playing surface. The match referee also has the power to demand that a player leave the playing surface to receive medical attention.

During a match, different rules can apply to a player when in different zones of the playing surface. Different modes of play can apply within each zone. In one example embodiment, a player in the central zone who is in possession of the ball may not run. If a player receives the ball while running then the player should make every effort to stop as quickly as possible. Once a player has stopped, then the player is permitted a preset maximum number of steps such as, but not limited to three steps to assist the player in playing the ball. In further embodiments, the maximum steps must be taken in quick succession. A player may, upon catching the ball on the run, choose not to immediately stop but instead attempt to play the ball or enter another zone. If the player fails to enter the other zone, then in one embodiment of the current invention, the player has a maximum of three steps in which the player must either pass, shoot, or otherwise surrender possession. In another example embodiment, a player may not be in possession of the ball for longer than five seconds in the central zone.

A player in the wing zone 30 can be mobile within the wing zones. A player may retain possession of the ball indefinitely within the wing zone. However, if the referee deems that a player is not attempting to gain an advantage to shoot or deliver a favorable pass then the player can be subject to a penalty for time wasting.

In one embodiment a player is considered to be in the zone that contains the largest portion of the player's body. In another embodiment, once a player in possession of the ball has left a zone, then the player may not return to that zone prior to losing possession of the ball. Violation of the above rule can lead to a free throw penalty. If a player in possession of the ball is forced to re-enter a zone due to the movement of a player from the opposing team, then the player in possession of the ball should immediately rid themselves of possession of the ball.

In one embodiment of the current invention, players and team officials may not dispute the decision of the match officials. A team official is any representative of a team who is permitted on the team bench but who is not eligible as a player in the match. Violation of this rule can lead to a major penalty. Players and team officials may not direct threatening or offensive language or gestures at the match officials before, during, or after the match. Players may not aggressively make contact, or use any foreign object to contact, the match officials, before, during, or after the game. Violation of this rule can lead to serious misconduct penalty. Players and team officials may not interfere, or attempt to interfere, in any manner with the duties of the match officials. Players and team officials may not intentionally attempt to deceive the match officials in any way during the course of their duties.

Players and team officials may not direct threatening or offensive language or gestures at other players, team officials, or spectators, before, during, or after the match. Violation of this rule can lead to a major penalty. Players and team officials may not contact, or use any foreign object to contact other players, team officials, or spectators at any point before, during, or after the game in a violent manner.

Players should stop play immediately after hearing the match referee's whistle or receiving a match referees signal. Players may not throw the ball away or otherwise prevent a player from the opposing team from collecting the ball after hearing the match referees' whistle. A player is not permitted to deliberately trip an opposing player by using the feet, stick, or hands.

A player may not bring a game play stick into contact with another player or team official. A player may not bring a game play stick into contact with another player's stick. A player may not throw a stick. A player may not use a stick to intentionally hit any part of the arena floor or wall. A player may not use their hands or arms to hold or otherwise restrain a player from the opposing team. A player may not shield a teammate in possession of the ball from an opposing player or prevent an opposing player from contesting a loose ball. A ball is considered loose when neither team has possession or control of the ball. Obstruction can be shielding a teammate in possession of the ball or preventing an opposing player from fairly contesting a loose ball. A player may not kick the ball or deliberately trap the ball with the player's feet or legs. A player may not deliberately use any part of the player's arm below the elbow to contact the ball. A player may not roll or bounce the ball along the playing surface. A player may not pass the ball to themselves. Once the ball has left a player's game play stick, it must be touched by another player or another player's stick on either team before the passing player, or that player's game play stick, may contact the ball again.

A player may not deliberately waste time or delay game play. In an example embodiment, time wasting can include a player in possession of the ball for a defined period of time while inside a wing zone. Time-wasting can be deliberately trying to delay the game or not engaging in the spirit of the sport with the purpose of allowing time to pass on the game clock. A player may not deliberately shoot the ball out of the arena. If a player accidentally causes the ball to leave the arena then the opposing team will be awarded a free-throw from the spot nearest to where the player was standing when the player initiated the action that caused the ball to leave the arena.

A player may not repeatedly violate any rule regardless of the player's intent. A team may not repeatedly violate any rule, regardless of intent. A player may not participate in any act of bad sportsmanship.

In one embodiment, a ball is considered loose if neither team can be said to have possession or control of the ball. Any player may collect a loose ball. A player may use their hands to collect a loose ball if the ball is below the player's knee, but the player must immediately return the ball to the player's game play stick.

If the ball becomes wedged in the game play stick and is subsequently unplayable then a player may use the palm of a hand to slap the ball into the shaft of the stick. This may be done above knee-height. Players contesting for a loose ball may use reasonable shoulder-to-shoulder contact with another player when contesting for the ball.

In one embodiment of the current invention, acts contrary to good sportsmanship can be defined as an action of trying to gain an advantage over an opponent by methods against the spirit of the sport.

In yet another embodiment, the game play stick can be used in a street version of the game. The street variations of the sport are variations that can be self-regulated and to encourage enjoyment, while not compromising the physically demand or skill aspects of the game.

Playing is performed by throwing the ball to other members of the player's team and trying to work the ball toward the opposition's end of the designated play area. When a player has possession of the ball, the player cannot run. In this embodiment, if the player is running when the ball is received then the player needs to stop as soon as possible, but the player is allowed to move one foot or to shuffle their feet to help the player pass the ball. In a street version game, the players can choose to mimic some or all of the rules discussed above for the arena sport, for example, by using three 15 minute periods, and change of goals halfway through the game.

A first embodiment of the street version of the athletic sport is described below. To begin the game, eight marks or objects can be used to mark the four corners of two rectangular end zones. The end zones should be relatively equal in size and a desired distance apart.

As street version of the game can start by a face-off in the middle of the street arena. Two players stand back-to-back and someone puts the ball between their shoulders. A designated person shouts ‘go’ and then the players standing back-to-back are allowed to separate and compete for the ball. If the ball is loose (i.e. bouncing around on the floor) then the player can pick it up using a hand to return it to the game stick, so long as the ball is below knee-height. When competing for the ball, a player should not intentionally knock an opponent or the opponent's game stick out of the way.

Catching the ball with one or more feet in the end-zone is sufficient for the goal to be awarded. Once a goal is scored the game is restarted by a free-pass for the non-scoring team from inside that team's own end-zone. In other embodiments, the possession of the ball could be given back to the scoring team. Fouls can result in the non-offending team having a free-pass from where the foul took place.

In another embodiment, two objects of substantially equal size are hung at each end of the street arena to serve as the goals. These goals should of a reasonable size and unlikely to break when hit. The center of the street arena should be marked as described above by using a marking mechanism, such as but not limited to, paint, color, powder or other objects.