Have you heard of Smurfball?
August 23, 2015 3:47 PM   Subscribe

The post about Smear the Queer made me think about a dodgeball-like game I played growing up called Smurfball. I don't know any other school that played it, and I can't find any information online, so I thought I'd see if a description of it sends anyone else down memory lane.

Smurfball is similar to dodgeball: Two teams on opposite sides of the gym throwing playground balls at each other (I think we used nerf soccer balls). If you get hit you're out. If you catch a ball, the thrower is out. Goal is to get all the other teams' players out before they can do the same to you.

There were two things unique to Smurfball:
1. When a player is knocked out, they go line up on the sideline. If someone on their team catches a ball, not only is the thrower out, but the first person on the sideline gets back in.
2. Each team elects a secret "Angel Buddy" before gameplay starts. If the Angel Buddy catches a ball, everyone on the team is back in.

Did you play this game? If so, what did you call it (and where/when did you grow up)? Any idea why it was called Smurfball?
posted by radioamy to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (10 answers total)
Sounds like Bombardment (sans the Angel Buddy)
posted by General Malaise at 3:50 PM on August 23, 2015 [1 favorite]

Well, that Wikipedia entry actually describes Bombardment differently than how we played it (no pins, what's that all about?)

P.S. in both southern New Jersey and Vermont.
posted by General Malaise at 3:51 PM on August 23, 2015

Except for Unique Thing #2, that's how we played dodgeball in elementary school (early 90s, just outside Philadelphia).

The Angel Buddy reminds me a bit of Dr. Dodgeball. Instead of being "out," a hit player sat down immediately. Each team had a secret doctor who could tag the player, bringing them back into the game. If the doctor was hit then the game ended.

I liked those games. Good times.
posted by lharmon at 4:02 PM on August 23, 2015

Yep, we had that growing up at my elementary school in New Jersey in the 80s. We played it inside, on gym days when it was raining. It was called "yarnball" (you can guess what the projectiles were). The rules changed slightly from year to year, and I remember us using your rule #2 a few times. I don't remember anyone calling it Smurfball, though.
posted by Sibrax at 4:27 PM on August 23, 2015

This was dodgeball in my school in CT in the 1980s and early 1990s. Never called it Smurfball, though. Are you sure it wasn't just because you were using a blue ball, or something like that?
posted by NotMyselfRightNow at 4:54 PM on August 23, 2015 [1 favorite]

Those were the rules I learned for Dodgeball in the early 80s in the Midwest.
posted by erst at 6:20 PM on August 23, 2015

I've played Dodgeball with these rules, though I don't remember it being called Smurfball. This in was Michigan in the early 90s.
posted by base_16 at 7:46 PM on August 23, 2015

I've played Smurfball. I definitely remember calling it that. I've never heard it being called Bombardment or yarnball. I grew up in various places around the US during the mid-'70s to the early '80s and can't pinpoint where I would have played it. My guess, though, would be in Ocean Springs, Mississippi, where I lived in the early '80s.
posted by misozaki at 8:35 PM on August 23, 2015

Response by poster: Glad to hear that these rules were used at more places than just at Marin Country Day School!

Those of you who played with these rules, did you call the person an Angel Buddy or something else?
posted by radioamy at 9:42 PM on August 23, 2015

At my school in a suburb of Seattle in the '70s it was called "Soak 'em". I have no idea why.
posted by under_petticoat_rule at 10:19 PM on August 23, 2015

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