- The Washington Times - Saturday, March 23, 2002

It's called TsegBall. And it's a combination of basketball, handball, volleyball, rugby and hopscotch. Go figure.
The new game looks more like chaos on a basketball court.
TsegBall (seg-ball) is the brainchild of Sebastian Bruce, a graphic artist, who wanted to design a sport that men and women could play together. He succeeded with the gender aspect of TsegBall, but whether it's a game either would actually want to play is another question.
It requires a lot of running, a lot of sweating and a lot of falling almost as if the worst elements of all the aforementioned games had been thrown together.
It all revolves around a big (maybe not so big) squishy ball. And you can only hang onto the big squishy ball for so long kind of like the 24-second clock in the National Basketball Association. And you can only take one step before passing the ball to a teammate. If the ball hits the floor, there's a change of possession.
"Some of the rules we were unsure about," said Joey Kruger, who nonetheless admitted he loved the idea behind TsegBall. Mr. Kruger, 19, is a freshman at Columbia Union College in Takoma Park, where he is on the gymnastics team. He was eager to try TsegBall.
Six young men and women mostly athletes who attend Columbia Union played TsegBall nonstop for over an hour yesterday while Sandy Smith, the college's basketball coach for men and women, officiated.
"It's a real workout," Mr. Kruger said before returning from a timeout to the high-energy game.
"I think it's great because finally one person can't dominate the game like they can in basketball. … It's nonphysical. This is one sport you don't have to worry about one person being stronger or faster. Everyone's equal," said Mr. Smith, also the school's assistant athletic director.
That's the whole point of TsegBall, said Mr. Bruce, 27, who watched with a smile from the sidelines as the students played his game.
"I wrote the rules of the game so that nobody would have an unfair advantage," said Mr. Bruce, who lives in Hagerstown, Md.
For instance, he said players can only hold onto the ball for three seconds before passing it to another teammate. Players are allowed to take only one step before releasing the ball. There is no body contact with other players, and teams are made up of 12 men and 12 women, Mr. Bruce said.
"I wanted a nonviolent game so that men and women could play together," he said.
It took the native of Togo, West Africa, four years to perfect the game. The game, according to him, doesn't require any tweaking.
"I don't think the game needs any refinement this is the way it's played. [The teams] are playing like they've played for years," he said.
The game did draw a pretty nice crowd inside the college gym. One group of students who knows hoops critiqued the game from the bleachers. They looked. They talked. They smiled.
"I'd say this is a sport on the rise," said Kevin Kelsey, 18, a freshman at the college and a diehard sports fan from Glenndale.
"You've got to have a lot of stamina and agility. I'd sit down and watch a game of TsegBall just as intensely as if I were watching an NBA playoff game," Mr. Kelsey said.
Mr. Kelsey's buddy, Joshua Johnson, a freshman and computer science major weighed in on the game from an athlete's point of view. "It's a fun game to watch and it makes the spectator want to get involved," said Mr. Johnson, 18, who plays basketball with the Columbia Union College Pioneers.
"The game encourages creativity and teamwork," Mr. Johnson said.
Asked if he thinks it will catch on, he said. "It has a chance."


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