Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Rumble Ball

Let's start with a history lesson:

Rumbleball is a sport that was birthed at the turn of this century. It began in Southeast America and has spread across the country in the span of just a few years. Rumbleball is a sport of outlasting endurance and extreme determination. It is a combination of water polo, basketball, football, and wrestling.

To play Rumbleball, all you need is a pool, a ball, and some "Rumblers", or people that love to wrestle, compete, and work as a team. There are many different types of pools, but the ones that are best fitting for this game are your standard rectangular pool, with a shallow and deep end.

Now, this standard pool shown has a brick boarder, which is not ideal, for reasons you will soon read about. The court size is mainly limited to the shallow end. Outside of the pool is out of bounds. No one is allowed to get out of the pool during play. The deep end is playable, but is not in the scoring zone. The ball is a standard Wal-Mart ball that you get in the big bins at the toy section. They are about a foot in diameter with no texture(like a kickball), and very slippery when wet.
This sport is played with two opposing teams, equal in number and hopefully physical size and ability. The object of the game is to take the ball and pass/swim/carry/muscle it to the other side of the pool with the help of your teammates and place/slam the ball down on the concrete edge of the shallow end. In order to score, one must have complete control of the ball(no bouncing out or sliding out of your grip) and must be held on the boarder of the pool for a noticeable half second. The other teams' job is to do whatever they can to stop the other team from scoring, take the ball, and score it on the other side. In order to accomplish these goals, both teams can wrestle, push, dunk, hold, drag, or man-handle one another. It is considered unsportsmanlike, however, to slap, scratch, punch, or gouge your way to victory. Such offenses can lead to an ejection of the game.

There is a coin toss at the beginning of each game to determine which side gets the ball first. The team receiving the ball first will stand touching their wall. The other team(standing at the opposing wall) will then throw the ball to the other team to begin the round(like Kickoff of a football game). The throw must be in bounds and easily catch-able. After the team receives the ball, the round can begin.
If a team throws, knocks, or places the ball out of bounds, the ball is then in possession of the other team. When either team scores, the losing team of that round walks to the other side of the court to receive the ball, starting the next round. The first team to score 7 goals wins. There is no time limit for rounds or games.

There are multiple strategies that have evolved. You can pass the ball around, swim it under water, or have blockers lead the way for the ball carrier. In order to take the ball back, you can double-team a person, throw blockers out of the way, have all 5 people go straight for the ball, or hold a key player and wrestle them to take them out of the play. The possibilities are almost endless. In order for general safety, however, the cardinal rule is that while attacking or defending, if a person is forced underwater, they must be allowed to come right back up for air. There is no holding anyone underwater for any length of time. I repeat: Once you dunk, you must let them back up.

Rumbleball was first played at a Rumble family reunion in northern Georgia in the early 2000s. Its creator is the notable and esteemed gym teacher David Matthew Rumble.

After its birth, Rumbleball was a staple played regularly at following reunions. The sport was then brought to backyard pools and local churches in Tennessee, namely North Cleveland Baptist Church and First Baptist Church in Cleveland, TN. In the summer of 2004, the sport was introduced
by Matthew and Nolan Rumble to multiple churches from across Amercia at a summer missions camp called TEAMeffort, stationed in Gatlinburg, TN. Today, there are seemingly countless games going on every summer in Southeast America and beyond. Some have said that Rumbleball may become the new American pasttime, and should be considered as an Olympic sport.

The purpose of this post is to inform the public of this amazing game, and to educate those that may be unaware of this growing competitive and challenging sport. I encourage all that know and play Rumbleball to continue to play and spread this great game.


  1. i still have yet to play this game. that should be corrected as soon as possible.

  2. the rumble's are one crazy people group!!!