Ultimate Tazer Ball
(Image via Ultimate Tazer Ball)

Ultimate Tazer Ball Deserved So Much More Love

The best part of what I am about to write is that I think the vast majority of you reading it will be completely new to it. I don’t even know how I remembered it, but I’m so glad I did. The best introduction I can give you to the beautiful idea that is Ultimate Tazer Ball is to watch this video:

I’m not joking. This is equal parts hilarious and awesome. It’s time to bring it back.

What Is Tazer Ball?

UTB was created in the United States (no surprises there) by Leif Kellenberger, Eric Prum, and Erik Wunsch. It first came onto the scene in California around 2012 after the three friends recruited professional paintball players to come play the game for the first time. The league started out with four teams: the Philadelphia Killawatts, San Diego Spartans, Los Angeles Nightlight, and Toronto Terror. Initially, the plan was to expand the league and secure a TV deal.

What Are the Rules?

The game is played by two teams of four players each on an indoor soccer field. Teams attempt to score an oversized ball into the goals on either side of the arena. The catch is that each player carries a stun gun they can use on a player in possession of the ball. UTB is full contact, encouraging tackling and checking as defensive plays. A former Tazer Ball player says the league rules were never really formally decided on:

Like we didn’t really know what to do, especially those first couple games, because nothing was very crazily developed. [We knew] you didn’t have to give up the ball, you’re supposed to score the ball, and if you have the ball you’re open to being tasered. It was just all about your willpower. If you could fight through it and keep running with the ball, then you could keep going.

But then the rules kept fluctuating. The game was in its infancy, so it was kind of expected. The first day, we played with three different-sized balls because they didn’t know the size of the balls they wanted to use. Eventually, there was a basketball key in front of the net called the Shock Zone. So if you were in that area, whether you had the ball or not, you could be shocked. Outside of that you could only be shocked if you had the ball. There were also rules around not shocking each other in the junk, but we also avoided doing that since we were all friends. Plus the areas like your ribcage, where your skin is a bit softer, getting shocked there actually sucked, so we’d try to avoid that too.

That was really it for rules.

Derrick Weltz, formerly of the Toronto Terror, via MEL Magazine

Was UTB Dangerous?

The stun guns obviously raised some questions about the safety of Tazer Ball. The creators maintained that the tasers were relatively harmless and used at the lowest setting. They emitted a current of three to five milliamps, enough to sting without causing any internal damage.

The stun guns make this an exciting sport for everyone. [Using them] equalizes the game so a small, fast player can handle a bigger player. It feels like a rubber band snap. It’s shocking but will only make you twitch or drop the ball. And it works on the nervous system so no one will get immune to it, so we won’t have to raise the level in the future to get the same effect.

Leif Kellenberger, creator of UTB, via HuffPost

There was some concern early on regarding whether or not the Toronto team could train with tasers given that they are banned for civilian use in Canada. UTB decided that the Terror would not use the stun guns until they played matches back in the United States.

What Happened to UTB?

Within a few years of its inception, UTB became defunct, which wasn’t shocking (this joke has layers to it). The league website is no longer around, but I was able to find an archived version of the homepage here. Yeah, it was super gimmicky and ridiculous, but the idea was still cool despite that. We already glorify dangerous sports like the UFC, so I think it’s time to give Tazer Ball another chance.

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