The sporting world awaits, on edge, for March 2 and the first public exhibition of Ultimate Tazer Ball (UTB). The contest will be held in Thailand. Our hometown San Diego Spartans will be tasering the breath out of ancient and hated arch rivals, namely: Philadelphia Killawatts, L.A. Nightlight, and Toronto Terror. The UTB will be putting on exhibition games as a part of a Bangkok professional paintball tournament.
The UTB consists of four franchises; one is based in Toronto, where it is illegal to own a taser or stun gun. Thus, the Toronto Terror cannot practice or play games in its host city, or country, for that matter. This may be a statement about global integration or a belief that a Toronto franchise sounds good on paper or, perhaps, somebody’s mother lives in T-town.
So what? It’s about tasering people, people. Who cares where the taserees come from? Who cares whether the UTB has a business office? They have a website.
UTB is a ball sport with one exceptional exception: players carry stun guns (which sounds so much better than “players carry a 300,000 volt electroshock device”). Other than that, it’s four players on each team who run around on a 200'-by-85' field and mess with a big ball (think beach ball painted like a soccer ball). The object of the game is to get the big beach ball into the opposing team’s (soccer) net.
It’s full contact. You can tackle, you can throw the ball and roll the ball. You can’t kick or punt the ball. You can’t move it with your lower body. There are three periods in a game. Each period lasts seven minutes. Only the player in possession of the ball may be tasered. The tase must be applied between the shoulders and the waist and must occur in a designated “shock zone,” located around each goal.
“It’s not technically a police-grade taser,” said Eric Prum, 25, a Canadian and one of three UTB founders. “The reason it’s really cool in game play is because it causes your muscles to spasm; therefore, you’re going to drop the ball, you’re going to trip, you’re going to fall over. And it’s fun.”
Great fun. Sit back and watch a stranger spaz out on the ground, legs kicking uncontrollably, perhaps foaming at the mouth, perhaps his bowels giving way. BOFFO BOX OFFICE, people! “There’s no risk of a heart attack or someone’s brain exploding,” says Mr. Prum.
I hate that exploding brain stuff. And if you look deep inside, you’ll see that you don’t like it, either.
“The game guns are all configured to deliver five to eight milliamps of current — well below the lethal dose of one amp,” writes Jesse Mirsky of Canada’s National Post. Ignorant contrarians, like the Ohio State Physics Department, say any dose over ten milliamps can cause serious shock.
What’s the problem? You’ve still got a two-milliamp safety buffer!
I don’t mean to say there aren’t real-deal athletes involved in this. UTB may not be a real-deal league, but the athletes are true athletes. San Diego Spartans front man, Scott Kemp, 25, is a professional paintballer with muscles big enough to be a fitness model. His website says, “I began traveling across the U.S. to compete in national tournaments. At age 17, I joined the Los Angeles Ironmen, the most storied and successful paintball team in history.
“Things skyrocketed for me. I began getting paid to travel and compete for the sport I love, just like those figures on the TV I saw years ago. I stamped out my passport by age 23. After bouncing around the globe with a few different paintball teams, I’m back home with the Ironmen.”
UTB may begin and end on the playing fields of Thailand, but what UTB has proved is that they are one king-hell of a fine public relations machine. For a league that hasn’t played a single game or announced a season schedule, a league that aspires to being successful enough to have a six-man team roster, they have succeeded in getting enough free publicity to float a dozen Kardashians, six dozen Paris Hiltons, and four presidential elections.
The league’s YouTube videos have had more than one million views. Running a query of “Ultimate Tazer Ball” on Google returns ten-million-plus hits. The league was featured on the Colbert Report, has been written about in The Telegraph (UK), Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Albany Times Record, NBCSports.com, Washington Times, Miami New Times, Huffingtonpost.com, buzzfeed.com, USA Today, and everywhere else.
Here’s their final certification of legitimacy: My two most trusted sources of information, Police News and Weekly World News, have written up the UTB.
Godspeed, Ultimate Tazer Ball.