"O-M-G! This is so much fun to watch!"
~Lex, after discovering DerbyballDerbyball is a high intensity contact ball game, being easy to learn but hard to play. It is the major sport in the world of Hoep, and accounts for about 25% of all television viewership and over 50% of overall sport viewership. It is played in a waxed hardwood arena with ramps for walls, and is played on rollerblades. It combines the major aspects of football, basketball, and soccer, yet simplifies them.
The biggest reason as to why Derbyball is popular is because of its fast-paced, frantic gameplay. Since the game is a contact sport, players are allowed to attack ball carriers or people trying to get the ball, whether they're punching, kicking, pushing, grabbing, throwing, or even clotheslining them, as long as they do not hit a downed opponent or goalkeeper or force them against a wall. While hits to the groin are not allowed, hits to the legs are, which means shin kicking is a popular strategy.
Players play in two teams of ten, with four attackers, four defenders, and two goalkeepers. The game starts with the derbyball being dropped into the center of the arena, where the first to catch it gets to play. Players will then attempt to rush for their opponents' goalset, avoiding attackers and defenders. The game starts in Carry Mode, with the carrier carrying the ball. They may switch modes at any time; bouncing the ball, like in basketball, enters Shoot Mode, while kicking the ball, like in soccer, enters Kick Mode.
While Carry Mode is the most effective way to transport the ball, it is the worst mode for gaining points, since touchdowns only score two points, and a throw into the goal only counts as one. In this mode, players may only pass via throwing the ball directly to another player; bounce passes, or passes by kicking, are not allowed in this mode. However, one good strategy is rolling the ball onto the ground to score a goal, since as long as a kick is made before the ball makes it to the goal, it will count as a Kick Mode goal.
While the ball is mostly free in this mode, it is the best for scoring, since a hoop inside the red zone counts as two points, and a hoop shot outside it counts as three. In this mode, players bounce the ball instead of carrying it, and can pass by either throwing it directly to someone, which transitions into Carry Mode, or bounce it to someone. You may not transition into Kick Mode from Shoot Mode, however; you must first transition into Carry Mode. Along with this, opponents are forbidden from kicking the ball away from you.
Kick Mode is a risk versus reward mode. While the ball is free, it is the most diverse for scoring; a kick into the goal counts as one, a kick from the other side, over the bar, or through a side ring counts as two, and a kick into a side ring from the other side counts as three. Along with this, being in Kick Mode makes you immune to shin kicking. You can transition into Carry Mode by picking the ball up, then into Shoot Mode by bouncing the ball.
Attackers are in charge of taking the ball, as well as keeping opponents off their ball carrier and attacking enemy attackers. They can go into enemy territory, though they may only pass the goalkeeper line if they are carrying. They are divided into subclasses based on specialty and role
The main role for a Nabber is to get the ball early and stay out of harm's way. They are fast but weak, being able to score quickly but not being able to easily defend themselves. Nabbers are normally sent in against a team with a slow defense.
Pushers are like Nabbers, as they get the ball and keep it. However, Pushers are slower, although more easily capable of defending themselves. They are normally sent in when Nabbers aren't able to score.
Passers do just that; they are fast attackers who escort the carrier, but are ready to swoop in for the ball if the carrier needs to let it go, quickly passing it to a main carrying role or another passer.
Fighters protect the carrier by attacking anyone who tries to take the ball. They are effective against a stalwart defense, and frequently change between defending an ally carrier and attacking the enemy carrier.
Plows are frequently used when the enemy resorts to fighting off attackers. Plows are pure aggro roles, charging in to fight anyone and everyone who gets in the way of the ally ball carrier. These hefty players are slow, however, so care should be taken so that they don't get overrun.
Shields are the defensive side of attackers, simply diverting attention away from the carrier with a stalwart counter-defense. They also frequently intercept the ball.
Defenders are in charge of protecting their side, whether it's by keeping the ball away or by fighting attackers who are on their side. However, they must stay on their side.
Mirrors are quick workers who swoop in when a ball enters their territory and quickly send it back. They aren't good at protecting themselves, but they can make quick work when a ball enters their territory.
Blockers are the bastions of the defense. They keep enemies from entering their territory and drive them back out. While they are slow, they are frequently intimidating players who are even capable of fighting Plows.
Counter-Fighters are just that. They keep Fighters busy by attacking them and keeping them distracted. Counter-Fighters are used against teams that rely a lot on fighting to win.
Interceptors keep balls from making it to enemies in their territory. While they frequently end up falling prey to enemy Fighters and Plows, they can help protect against a quick offensive.
Thieves try to take the ball out of enemy hands. While Thieves are normally quick when it comes to taking from the carrier, they can also be combat heavy, beating up the carrier until they drop the ball or fall.
Each team has two Goalkeepers that hold the line. Each one has their own side to protect, and may not cross into the other Goalkeeper's zone. Due to the nature of the game, each Goalkeeper is equipped with an eight foot long paddle that can be used both to block shots and to attack would-be scorers.
Players can score in one of several ways. These ways are carrying, throwing, shooting, and kicking.
Carrying (Carry Mode)
Players can score two points by carrying the ball past the opponent's black line, positioned behind the Goalkeepers.
Throwing (Carry Mode)
Players can score one point by throwing the ball between the two posts positioned on the black line, or they can score two points by throwing it into one of their two side rings, positioned on the wall on the black line.
Shooting (Shoot Mode)
Players can score two points by shooting the ball into the hoop while in the enemy's red zone. If they score while outside it, they get three points instead.
Kicking (Kick Mode)
Players can score one point by kicking the ball past the opponents' black line, two points by kicking it through their goal from outside their white zone, over their bar through the posts, or through the side rings, and three points if they kick the ball through a side ring from outside their white zone.
If there is a tie at the end of the game, players play a small tiebreaker with only three attackers, two defenders, and one goalkeeper. To simplify things, players may only play in Carry Mode and can only score via carrying.
Games, Sets, and Matches
Each match consists of the best out of three sets, and each set consists of the best out of three games. Each game last six minutes of active play time, and at the end of each game the score is reset. The team with the highest score at the end of each game wins the game, and the first to win two games wins the set. Finally, the first team to win two sets wins the match.
While players cannot be switched mid-game, they can be switched between games, and between sets. In fact, a player can only play two games a match before they must be kept on the sidelines for the rest of the match. This encourages team diversity.
Equipment and Play Area
Arenas are 110 meters by 60 meters, with a corner and ramp radius of 5 meters.
Derbyballs are based on a circle that is 10 inches in diameter. These balls are made of a rubber "bladder" that holds the air inside and are wrapped in leather. The ball is a bit heavy, weighing about five pounds.
Derbyball is based on an ancient Minotaur sport known as Volipidótsó, which was played on bare feet. It was frequently used as a means of solving conflict, though it was also used recreationally and as a training device. There were no designated areas, which encouraged more aggressive play. Along with this, play fields had no standard size. They were played on whatever field was available, even if it made things uneven.
The ball used was normally a very heavy one, weighing around five hundred pounds. It was also large, coming in at about two feet round. It wasn't rare to see this hefty ball used as a weapon to pelt unsuspecting players, nor was it rare to see players use it as a melee weapon. This ball was frequently made out of iron with a rubber coating to let it bounce, and wasn't hollow, which meant that it was incredibly durable.
During clan disputes, if two clans were in a stalemate, or wanted a less violent way to solve disputes, they played Pólevolipidótsó (War Volipidótsó), with the twenty five strongest warriors from each clan (ten attackers, ten protectors, five keepers) competing. These matches spanned across vast areas and went on for days, or even weeks, with the goal on each side being in each clan's capital. The match went on until either one clan had ten more points than the other, or one of the clans gave up.
What Derbyball Draws From Volipidótsó
Gameplay wise, everything is practically the same, except for the previously discussed differences. Volipidótsó has not side goals, and full physical contact, as well as wall pinning and pummeling, are allowed. In fact, sometimes, Volipidótsó resulted in death, especially during games of Pólevolipidótsó. Injury (and even killing) during non-recreational games of Volipidótsó wasn't frowned upon, and was sometimes even encouraged, since injuring or killing your opponent showed your dominance.
The most significant difference, however, has to be the fact that women were not allowed to play Volipidótsó, while in Derbyball, all female games, or even mixed gender games, are not uncommon and are promoted. Volipidótsó was seen as a men's sport, and as such, women did not play it.
Significance to HoEP
Derbyball is the main sport in the world of Hoep. Along with this, the FoRFaNT Derbyball League is the most popular sports league, with FDL games being the most watched television program in the world.
Along with this, in the episode Rio Lex!, Lex ends up getting into Derbyball, as well as rollerblading.
- Volipidótsó is condensed from three Greek words: Voli (Throw), Anapidó (Bounce), and Klotsó (Kick). Pólevolipidótsó's prefix comes from Pólemos, meaning war.
- Kiga has a hard time looking at Derbyball, as it makes him reminisce on his past, remember long days when he and his comrades would play Volipidótsó, as well as his several matches of Pólevolipidótsó. This shows most when Kiga mistakenly almost volunteers to teach her how to play.