Thursday, September 28, 2006


Literally it means "Burnball"... and that's what you do. You burn the runners caught between the bases by throwing the ball to the "burner" who catches the ball, stands on the "burn plate" and yells "BURN!" But here's the catch... you're not "out". You go back to first base and try again. I use hula hoops for bases and put them in a sqare about 25 yards apart. There can be as many people as you have on your team on first base too. And there is no pitcher. You pick up a bat, any bat really. .. and I give my students a choice of 4 different bats; a regular baseball bat, a cricket flat bat, a tennis raquet or a wooden paddle. The Swedes say to use a tennis ball, but we use a racketball... it goes father when hit into the wind. When it's your turn to hit, and everyone on your team gets a turn, you stand in between 1st and 4th base (not called home plate) and hit the ball anywhere you want as long as it goes in between 1st and 4th base. You get three tries to hit the ball with whichever bat you choose, but after three misses just pick the ball up and throw it and run as if you hit it... just don't be the idiot who misses the ball on purpose 3 times in order to take advantage of the throw it rule. After the ball is hit you go to first base and decide, 'can I make it to 2nd base before the defense can throw the ball to the burner?' If you don't think you can make it, stay where you are. If you run and get burned the defense scores a point for every runner caught not on a base... and all that are burned go back to first. You don't ever have to run either. You could pitch a tent on first base if you want, but that would be lame. The object of the game is to get as many runners all the way around to 4th base without getting burned. Anyone who hits the ball and runs all 4 bases gets 4 points in addition to however many runners also make it to 4th base. Oh, please don't stop on 4th base. Keep running after you step on it to prevent a pile up. And the burner needs to roll the ball to the next batsmen to prevent stupid injuries or drama.
The defense can also score points by catching a fly ball with both hands (1 point), right hand (2 points), left hand (3 points)... and if you are willing to risk big humiliation - catch it between your legs for 5 points and the admiration of all who saw you risk the family jewels. Even after you catch a fly ball throw it to the burner to prevent the runners from advancing. And if the burner doens't say "BURN!" and rolls the ball to the next hitter, technically the runners can advance... I think one base is fair. Hard core middle school students think they can run all the way to 4th base. After everyone hits, switch sides. The batting order stays the same once it is established in the beginning of the game. It makes sense to have your best hitters go last to clean off the bases, so to speak. If you're a smart burner you'll keep the ball, give it to your first batter and let them hit before the defense can set up... this really keeps the game moving. No one says you can't start right away.
It is easier to understand with a drawing and stick figures on a white board and having situations explained like John Madden explaining an NFL game, but I think the explaination above gives you a good picture... it's quite fun actually and all but one group of apathetic 8th graders loves it. I just don't like the down time waiting in line for your turn to hit so I put out a box of resistance bands for students to work with when they are just standing around... they may as well pump their little muscles so they are not flabby like marshmellows.
Any Questions?


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