Most people that show up to a basketball game expect to see a fast-paced competitive sport with at least five players on both teams. However, if you show up to a basketball game during season three intramurals to cheer on your peers, you may be surprised to see that the game you watch is exactly the opposite of what you expected.
Five years ago in the winter of 2015, the men’s social club Adelphi birthed the idea of “Whose Ball.” The inspiration for the name of “Whose Ball” came from the improvisational comedy television show titled, “Whose Line Is It Anyway?” which aired on ABC from 1998 to 2007.
Just like any other team signing up for basketball in season three IMs, the team responsible for “Whose Ball” signs up to “compete” in an unpredictable manner.
Many of the founders and captains are members of Adelphi, but membership in Adelphi is not required to participate. The current captain, which is mostly just a formality, is senior political science and national security major Carter Haupt.
“The game of ‘Whose Ball’ is played with the same rules as basketball,” said Haupt. “At the start of each game, every athlete draws a card. There are a myriad of things that could be on the cards, but to summarize, they can be weird quirks, characters and rules.”
Basically, a group of men join together and make fools of themselves for their own amusement. The team enjoys taking part in the IM program in a fun and athletic environment, despite them not being traditional athletes.
However, the game is not necessarily dysfunctional. The team facilitates different plays throughout the game. One of their favorite plays is the catapult, where one person holds the ball above their head while three other people lower him at an angle. The fifth person cranks an invisible lever and yells “fire!” as the person who is holding the ball is flung forward and releases the ball.
“People enjoy how unpredictable it is,” said Haupt. “It is similar to improv comedy; you will never see the same thing twice. Each time, a group of funny guys joins forces to make the strangest game of basketball that people can imagine.”
Although the point of the game is to entertain, and, in doing so, giving the other team an automatic win, it is possible there are some teams that do not enjoy quirky the style of play. According to senior computer engineering major Caleb Conrad, some people either get the joke behind their style of play or they do not.
“I enjoy when we play against other teams that are willing to have fun with us,” said Conrad. “I do enjoy protecting my players from other unfriendly teams. Some players will get rough if you invade their personal space.”
However, the possibility of opponents not liking their style of play is not the only issue with the game.
Two years ago there was a mercy rule that was implemented. At half-time, if the winning team is up by 40 points or more, the game must end.
“‘Whose Ball’ doesn’t put up very many points,” said Conrad. “Mercy rules are meant to protect teams from getting slaughtered. We just want to play the full 40 minutes.”
But Conrad is not alone in his desire to play the full game. The point of “Whose Ball” is to have a good time and entertain the audience, and that is exactly what the team aims to do with their fun and comedic style.