Patent application title: TUGBALL AND GAME
Matthew G. Henzie (Valencia, CA, US)
IPC8 Class: AA63B6700FI
Class name: Playing field or court game; game element or accessory therefor other than projector or projectile, per se having at least two different types of game elements used in same game for game using goal or target for projectile (e.g., football, rugby, etc.)
Publication date: 2011-09-15
Patent application number: 20110224030
Tugball is a field sport that combines the best elements of tug-of-war,
rugby and American football without their disadvantages. Tugball requires
simple equipment to play, namely a tugball which is a ball constrained
within a harness containing tug-ropes. Each player also wears a flag belt
having pull away type flags like those used in flag football. In tugball,
kicking, running and throwing are allowed to advance the ball towards an
opponents' goal. The game is started with a tug-off, i.e. a tug-of-war
type contest with the winning team receiving possession of the ball.
Forward motion of the ball carrier is stopped by pulling flags which
avoids the inherently dangerous activity of tackling. The field size
needed to play the game is substantially smaller than that required by
rugby or American football. Therefore, the game of tugball well suited
for play in crowded urban areas.
1. A tugball for use in playing the field sport of tugball, comprising a
ball, a harness assembly which surrounds and constrains the ball, the
harness assembly including at least two tug-ropes.
2. The tugball of claim 1, wherein the harness assembly comprises 12 straps and eight tug-ropes, the harness assembly being cube-like in shape having eight corner points, wherein each corner point forms the attachment for the ends of three of the straps and one tug-rope.
3. The tugball of claim 1, wherein the harness assembly comprises 12 straps wherein each strap has a loop at each end, and eight tug-ropes wherein each tug-rope has a loop at one end and a knot at an opposing end, the harness assembly being cube-like in shape having eight corner points, wherein at each corner point the loop end of one tug-rope is threaded through the loop ends of three straps and wherein the knotted end of the tug-rope is also threaded through the loop end of the tug-rope and pulled snug.
4. A field sport game comprising: a field having out of bounds lines, a tug zone and a goal zone at one end of the field; a tugball; a flag belt for each player having at least one pull-away flag; a first team of players having as an objective moving the tugball towards the goal-zone by running, kicking or throwing the tugball, a goal being scored when a player from the first team is in the goal zone while in possession of the tugball; and a second team of players having as an objective preventing the first team of players from scoring a goal and to obtain possession of the ball from the first team of players.
5. The field sport game of claim 4, wherein play is conducted in rounds, each round beginning with a tug-off, wherein the team winning the tug-off is awarded possession of the ball, and ending when a goal is scored.
6. The field sport game of claim 5, wherein a round further includes an extra point tug-off after each goal is scored.
7. The field sport game of claim 4, wherein the forward motion of the ball carrier is stopped by pulling a flag from the ball carrier's flag belt.
8. The field sport game of claim 7, wherein a duel is initiated when the ball carrier is stopped by the pulling a flag from the ball carrier's flag belt.
9. The field sport game of claim 5, wherein each player on each team is ranked according to size from largest to smallest and assigned a size number wherein the smallest player is size number 1 wherein the size numbers increase by increment of one for each succeeding larger player.
10. The field sport game of claim 9, wherein the first and second team's smallest players are selected as lead tuggers in the initial tug-off starting the game and wherein in each subsequent round the next largest size players are selected as the lead tuggers in the tug-off.
11. The field sport game of claim 10, wherein a coin toss determines which team chooses the size number of the assistant tuggers at the initial tug-off for the first round of play.
12. The field sport game of claim 11, wherein the scored upon team selects the size number of the assistant tuggers at the tug-off which begins each subsequent round after the initial round.
13. The field sport game of claim 4, wherein the field is a rectangular field having long-side and short-side out of bounds lines and a centrally located tug zone, the field also having a goal-zone at each of the lengthwise ends of the field.
14. A method of playing a round of a field sport game comprising the steps of: providing a field of play having out of bounds lines, a tug zone having tug lines and at least one goal at an end of the field; providing a tugball; providing a first and a second team of players; providing the players with a belt having at least one pull-away flag; the first team taking possession of the tugball and advancing the ball within the field of play towards the goal by running, kicking or throwing the tugball, wherein a goal is scored when a player from the first team is in the goal while in possession of the tugball; the second team of players attempting to prevent the first team from scoring by pulling the flag of the ball carrier to stop forward motion of the ball carrier; and initiating a duel for possession of the tugball when the forward motion of a player on offense is stopped by the pulling of a flag.
15. The method of playing a field sport game of claim 14, further including the step of starting play by conducting a tug-off and awarding possession of the tugball to the team that wins the tug-off.
16. The method of playing a field sport game of claim 15, further including the step of ranking each team's players by size from largest to smallest and providing each player a size number.
17. The method of playing a field sport game of claim 16, further including the steps of starting every round with a tug-off, and selecting the first and second team's smallest players as lead tuggers and in each subsequent round selecting the next larger size players as the lead tuggers in the tug-off.
18. The method of playing a field sport game of claim 15, further including the step of having a coin toss determine which team chooses the size number of the assistant tuggers at the initial tug-off for the first round of play.
19. The method of playing a field sport game of claim 15, further including the step of allowing the scored upon team to select the size number of the assistant tuggers at the tug-off which begins the next round.
20. The method of playing a field sport game of claim 14, further including the step of engaging in a tug-off after each goal is scored and awarding an extra point to the winning team.
CROSS-REFERENCES TO RELATED APPLICATIONS
 This patent application claims priority to U.S. Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 61/339,993 filed Mar. 12, 2010, which application is incorporated herein by this reference thereto.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
 1. Field of the Invention
 The present invention relates generally to the field of athletic team sport games and more particularly to a new team sport game which combines aspects of tug of war, rugby and American style football.
 2. Background of the Invention
 The conventional tug-of-war game is likely one of the oldest games known to mankind, for it requires only participants, a length of rope, and a relatively level playing field to ensure fairness. At the beginning of the game, the rope is laid out such that its midpoint is centered over an identifiable finish line or object. Typically, an equal number of contestants line up on each side of the finish line usually grasping the rope with its midpoint still centered. When the signal to begin the game is given, each side attempts to pull the other side over the finish line. When one side is pulled over the finish line, the game is considered won and is therefore completed. Despite its advantages as a sport, tug-of-war has several disadvantages principally only a low level of athletic skill is required as the game depends almost entirely on brute strength and any given tug-of-war match lasts for a relatively short duration. Typically, a tug-of-war match is over in a matter of minutes.
 The game of rugby football developed over several centuries from a version of football played at Rugby School in Warwickshire, England. The game of rugby as played at Rugby School in the 18th century permitted handling of the ball, but forward movement was limited to kicking the ball only. In the 19th century, the game was modified to allow forward advancement by either kicking the ball or running the ball. Even in its modern form, passing the ball forward is not allowed.
 Rugby is presently played in more than 100 countries around the world. The rules of the game, number of players and size of the field differ somewhat by region, but generally each team is composed of between 13 to 15 players and the field size is about 140 yards long and 70 yards wide. Rugby has advantages in that it requires the development of a high degree of athletic skill and a rugby match lasts sufficiently long, i.e. about 80 minutes to give the participants a good workout.
 Rugby however, has specific disadvantages those primarily being that forward progress of the ball is stopped by tackling which given the lack of protective padding or other equipment often leads to minor and occasionally serious injuries to the participants. Another disadvantage to Rugby is the relatively large field size required.
 American football is a further development of rugby with the primary innovation being the addition of the forward pass. The first recognized American style football game which included use of the forward pass was played in 1869 between Rutgers and Princeton. The sport is played between two teams of eleven on a field 120 yards long by 53 yards wide. In its modern form, the sport requires that participants wear a substantial amount of specialized and costly equipment such as helmets, shoulder pads and hip pads. Variants of the American style game are also played in Canada and Australia.
 Like Rugby, American football has advantages in that it requires the development of a high degree of athletic skill and a match lasts sufficiently long, i.e. about 60 minutes to give the participants a good workout. American football, however, also possesses the same disadvantages as rugby, i.e. forward movement of the ball is stopped by tackling which can and frequently does lead to injury among the participants. The addition of protective equipment to American football, not found in rugby, has largely failed to reduce the risk of injury. This may be due to the participants being willing to make contact with each other with greater force due to the protective padding and likely also due to the helmets being made of hard plastic which, if anything, have tended in increase the seriousness of head injuries incurred by participants. Like rugby, American football requires a relatively large field and the cost of the protective equipment may limit access to the game by poorer members of the community.
 What is needed therefore is a sport that combines the best elements of tug-of-war, rugby and American football without their disadvantages. Such a sport would require simple equipment to play, like rugby or tug-of-war. Such a sport would allow kicking and running to advance the ball, like rugby, and would also allow the forward pass like American football to develop a well-rounded degree of athletic skill among its participants. Such a sport would avoid the use of tackling with its inherent risk of injury to stop forward motion of the ball. Ideally, such a sport would also use a playing field substantially smaller than that of rugby or American football so that it could more readily be played in crowded urban areas.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
 The present invention tugball and game solves the problems of the aforementioned field sports by providing a team sport wherein the ball may be moved forward by kicking, running, or passing and forward movement is stopped by pulling flags (similar to flag football) rather than by tackling, and transfer of the ball from one side to another is determined by a tug-of-war contest. The game is played with the tugball of the present invention. The tugball is a round ball constrained within a cube-like harness. In one exemplary embodiment, the harness includes 12 straps with loops at each end which form the main body of the cube. Like a cube, the harness has eight corner points. At each corner point, three straps meet and are joined together by a tug rope which is threaded through the loops at each end of the strap. One tug rope is used to connect the straps at each corner of the cube. Therefore, the completed harness and tugball assembly will have eight (8) tug ropes which may be grasped by the game's participants.
 The game is played on a field of about 60 yards in length and 30 yards in width. The field includes a central tug zone and goal zones at each end of the field. The game is played by two teams of eight (8) players each. In general, the games starts with a "tug-off" which takes place in the center of the field. In a tug-off two teammates from each team attempt to pull the tugball across their own tug line. When one set of teammates has successfully pulled the ball across their tug line, then the ball is thrown backwards to their other teammates and that team is now on offense. The team on offense then tries to advance the ball by running, throwing or kicking it towards their opponents' goal. Goals can be scored by a player on offense running the tugball into the opposing team's goal or by throwing or kicking the tugball to another player on offense inside the goal. Unlike in rugby or American football, a player on offense running with the ball cannot run through the defensive players but must run around them. This feature of tugball greatly reduces the chances of player injury.
 Each player wears a belt with having at least one pull-away flag. When a flag is pulled from a player fielding the ball, that player's forward motion is stopped and the team on defense can then attempt to get the ball away from the player by tugging. Points are awarded whenever a goal is scored. In the exemplary embodiment, three (3) points are awarded for each goal. Once a goal is scored, an extra point tug-off takes place in the center of the goal. Unlike for example, American football, either team can win the extra point tug-off. The winning team is awarded one (1) extra point. Once the extra point tug-off is completed, the tug-ball is returned to center of the field for another tug-off to determine which team will gain possession of the ball. Unlike in most field sports, the scoring team does not automatically turn over the ball to the other team.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
 FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a tugball showing the ball within the harness assembly which comprises 12 straps and eight tug ropes, the tug ropes shown extending outwardly.
 FIG. 2 is a perspective view of a tug rope as shown FIG. 1 and is representative of all of the tug ropes shown if FIG. 1.
 FIG. 3 is a side view of a strap as shown FIG. 1 and is representative of all of the straps shown in FIG. 1.
 FIG. 4 is a top view of the strap of FIG. 3.
 FIG. 5 is a detail perspective view of one of eight corners of the harness surrounding the ball as shown in FIG. 1.
 FIG. 6 is a schematic representation of a tugball field including representative dimensions for the field.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE EXEMPLARY EMBODIMENT
 The present invention will now be described more fully hereinafter with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which preferred embodiments of the invention are shown. The invention may, however, may be embodied in many different forms and should not be construed as being limited to the embodiments set forth herein. Rather these embodiments are provided so that this disclosure will be thorough and complete, and will fully convey the scope of the invention to those skilled in the art. Like numbers refer to like elements throughout.
 Referring now to FIGS. 1-3, a tugball and harness assembly 10 is a ball 12 constrained within a harness 14. The harness 14 is composed of a plurality of straps 16 which are joined at multiple corner points 20 by tug ropes 18. In the exemplary embodiment, the ball 12 is a round inflatable ball. The harness 14 comprises twelve straps 16, each of which has a loop end 22 (best shown in FIG. 3) and eight (8) tug ropes 18. Each tug rope has a loop end 26 and a knotted end 28 (see FIG. 2). The assembled harness forms a cube-like structure (best shown in FIG. 1) which constrains the ball 12 within.
 Referring now to FIGS. 1 and 5, the cube-like harness 14 has eight (8) corner points 20. The harness 14 is assembled by threading the loop end 26 of one of the tug ropes 18 through the loop ends 22 of three of the straps 16. After the loop end 26 of one of the tug ropes 18 is threaded through the loop ends 22 of three of the straps 16, the knotted end 28 of the tug rope 18 is then threaded through the loop end 28 of the tug rope and pulled tight. This procedure is completed at each of the corner points 20 to form the completed harness 14. Thus, at each corner point 20, three straps 16 meet and are joined together by a tug rope 18 which is threaded through the loops 22 at each end of the straps 16. One tug rope 18 is used to connect the straps at each corner 20 of the cube. Therefore, the completed harness and tugball assembly 10 will have eight (8) tug ropes 18 which may be grasped by the game's participants.
 Typically, the harness 14 will be assembled separately and the ball 12 will be placed inside the harness 14 in a deflated condition and will then be pumped up to complete the harness and tugball assembly 10. Alternatively, the harness 14 could be constructed around an already inflated ball 12.
 In the exemplary embodiment, the harness and ball assembly 10 comprises an 8'' diameter ball; the twelve straps 16 are about 11/2'' in width and about 12'' in length; and the eight tug ropes 18 are approximately 3/8'' thick by about 36'' in length. The ends of each 12'' long strap 16 are folded inwardly about 3'' and are sewn together with a suitable pattern of stitching (see FIG. 4) as is known to those of skill in the art. Each tug rope 18 is twisted leaving a loop 26 at one end with the opposite end having a knot. (See FIG. 2.)
 As discussed above, each corner point 20 of the harness is formed by threading the loop end 26 of one of the tug ropes 18 through the loop ends 22 of three of the straps 16, wherein the knotted end 28 of the tug rope 18 is then threaded through the loop end 26 of the tug rope 18 and pulled tight. This procedure is repeated to form each of the corner points 20, after which the ball is placed within the harness and inflated to form the completed assembly.
 The straps 16 may be comprised of any strong webbing material such as that used in the safety belts of automobiles. Typically, such straps are composed of polypropylene, nylon and like materials which can be woven to form straps. The tug ropes 18 may be formed from any suitable rope material such as polypropylene, hemp, sisal and the like. The ball 12 may be formed of leather as in the case of ruby balls and foot balls, as well as plastic or any other material suitable for making balls.
 Additionally, each player will require a belt 30 (not shown) with at least one flag (32) that can be readily attached to and pulled from the belt. Equipment of this type is commonly used in the game of flag football and is well known in the art.
Detailed Description of the Tugball Field
 Referring now to FIG. 6, in the exemplary embodiment, the game of tugball is played on a field 33 of about 60 yards in length and 30 yards in width. However, other field sizes are also suitable. The field is generally rectangular and includes short sides 34 and long sides 36. The field 33 includes a central tug-zone 38 having tug-lines 39 and goals 40 at each end of the field. The central tug-zone 38 and the goals 40 are approximately 10 feet by 10 feet square. The goals 40 are spaced inwardly from the field's short side out of bounds lines 34 by about 20 feet and are centrally located with respect to the width of the field. The field 33 also includes sub-lines 42 along the field's long sides 36. The area between the sub-lines 42 defines a substitution zone from which players sitting on the bench or sidelines can be substituted for players in the game.
Detailed Description of the Game of Tugball
 The game of tugball is played in rounds by two teams of (generally) eight (8) players each. Each player is designated a "size" number based on their size in relation to their own teammates. The largest player is given the largest number and the smallest player is given the smallest number. Prior to starting play, each player puts on a flag belt 30 equipped with at least one pull-away flag 32 (not shown). A round of tugball starts with a "tug-off" which takes place in the tug-zone 38 in the center of the field. In a tug-off two teammates from each team attempt to pull the tugball 10 across their own tug-line 39. A referee starts the tug-off by blowing a whistle, shouting "go" or the like. When one set of teammates has successfully pulled the tugball 10 across their tug-line 39, then their team gains possession of the ball 10 which is then thrown backwards to their teammates and that team is now on offense.
 As mentioned, for tug-offs, one set of two players from each team competes in each tug-off. The players are selected as follows: One set consists of a lead tugger and an assistant tugger. To start the game, typically, the lead tuggers will be the smallest players from each team, i.e. both will be size no. 1 players. For the second round, the size no. 2 players will be the lead tuggers, for the third round the size no. 3 players will be the lead tuggers and so on until the largest tuggers, i.e. size no. 8 are reached. If more than eight (8) rounds are played, the rotation starts over. At the start of play, the size number of the assistant tugger is determined by an opening coin toss, i.e. the team that wins the coin toss gets to choose the size number of the assistant tuggers. For each subsequent round, the assistant tugger is chosen by the team that was scored upon. Therefore, the scored upon team announces the size number both teams must use for the next round.
 In all tug-offs, size numbers must be the same, i.e., numbers 1 and 2 from one team versus numbers 1 and 2 from an opposing team. Generally, no uneven matches, for example numbers 1 and 2 from one team versus numbers 1 and 3 or from the opposing, team are allowed.
 After each tug-off, the team on offense then tries to advance the ball by running, throwing or kicking it towards their opponents' goal. Goals can be scored by a player on offense running the tugball into the opposing team's goal or by throwing or kicking the tugball to another player on offense inside the goal. Unlike in rugby or American football, a player on offense running with the ball cannot run through the defensive players but must run around them. This feature of tugball greatly reduces the chances of player injury.
 The ball carrier's forward motion is stopped by a defensive player pulling the flag 32 from the ball carrier's flag belt. Each player wears a belt having at least one pull-away flag. When a flag is pulled from a player fielding the ball, i.e. the ball carrier, that player's forward motion is stopped and the team on defense can then attempt to get the ball away from the player by means of a "duel." That is once an offensive player's forward motion is stopped, a defensive player can attempt to gain possession of the ball by tugging. Only one defensive player at a time can attempt to tug the ball away from the stopped offensive player. In a duel, either team can hand off the tug-rope to another player when a player gets tired or is overmatched. The duel continues until one of the players lets go or the tugball is dragged into a goal.
 Points are awarded whenever a goal is scored. In the exemplary embodiment, three (3) points are awarded for each goal. Once a goal is scored, an extra point tug-off takes place in the center of the goal. Unlike for example, American football, either team can win the extra point tug-off. The winning team is awarded one (1) extra point. (The players which compete in the extra point tug-off are the same as those which started the round.) With the completion of the extra point tug-off, each round of play is completed and the tugball is returned to center of the field for another tug-off to determine which team will gain possession of the ball. (As discussed above, when a new round starts, the lead tuggers move down one size number.) Unlike in most field sports, the scoring team does not automatically turn the ball over to the opposing team.
 Out of Bounds Situations
 If a player in the possession of the tugball either steps out of bounds or throws the ball out of bounds, the ball is awarded to the opposing team. That team, then, throws the Tugball back into play from the point the ball went out of bounds.
 Substitute Guidelines
 Substitution of players is allowed in tugball. A substitute may not enter the field until the player being substituted for exits the field. All substitutions must take place between the sub-lines near that team's bench. Once the substitute replaces the player, they become that player's "size" number.
 Guidance for Physical Education Teachers and Coaches
 In order to make the games as enjoyable as possible, teachers and coaches are encouraged to make any needed modifications. For example, ensuring that teams are evenly balanced in terms of size makes the game fairer and thus more fun for the players especially when it comes to the tug-offs. With regards to substitution, substitution is generally not recommended for physical education classes as the goal is to have everyone playing for the duration of the class. Adjustments to the field size may also be desirable to accommodate younger players or where less then eight (8) players per team are available.
 The foregoing detailed description and appended drawings are intended as a description of the presently preferred embodiment of the invention and are not intended to represent the only forms in which the present invention may be constructed and/or utilized. Those skilled in the art will understand that modifications and alternative embodiments of the present invention which do not depart from the spirit and scope of the foregoing specification and drawings, and of the claims appended below are possible and practical. It is intended that the claims cover all such modifications and alternative embodiments.
Patent applications in class For game using goal or target for projectile (e.g., football, rugby, etc.)
Patent applications in all subclasses For game using goal or target for projectile (e.g., football, rugby, etc.)