Scranton, Ohio. February 6, 2001. The Parks and Recreation Department of Scranton Ohio is drawing cheers, jeers, and raised eyebrows with its new adult “sports” league, “Parent-Brawling”. Jerry Meier confirmed to reporters Thursday that the City had decided to host the new sporting event, which it began advertising in its Special Winter Activities Brochure (SWAB) in January.
“We are aware that our decision is a controversial one, but we looked at the population the Parks and Rec serves and determined that there was a need for such a league,” Meier told reporters. “Several recent, high-profile incidents around the country have drawn attention to a new facet of children’s athletics,” Meier explained, “and that is parents bickering and even physically fighting each other at sports events.” He went on to say, “We decided that a separate league where violent parents could compete against each other would relieve some of the pressure put on their kids, and it would give the parents the type of environment they crave: one of animalistic aggression rather than simple, friendly competition.”
Pressed for details about the new sport, Meier explained, “We’re offering several different leagues. There are separate male and female leagues offered, as well as a co-ed version for couples. And each gender has a beginner’s and an advanced league.” Clarifying the two levels of play, Meier said, “Our beginner leagues will be for the novice brawler, or for the less-violent, more verbal agitator. This league will focus more heavily on the oral aspect of the competition and have more stringent rules regarding physical confrontation and prop usage. The advanced will have more of a physical nature to it with fewer rules.” Meier reported that several of the leagues were already filling up.
Meier then outlined the basic rules and setup for each league. In general, teams will be made up of eight individuals (four couples in the co-ed league). Participants may sign up as a team, or single people and couples can sign up and be placed on a team.
Each match will consist of a warm-up period and three periods of competition. During the warm-up, the teams will “…meet in separate areas and consume alcohol together so that they gel and bond as a team,” Meier explained. Then the first period will begin, “…which will consist of verbal taunts and insults only,” according to Meier. The second round will be a shorter, intermediary one in which verbal arguments are increased and props (ranging from beverages and food items to large foam fingers and hats) may be thrown at opposing team members. “The third period is the crucial one, especially in the advanced league,” Meier said, “because that’s where the teams go at each other physically.” There are various rules—such as no weapons or eye-gouging, and no blows to the crotch in the beginner league—that govern the third period, and Meier did not outline all of them. “All the rules will be provided to the team members before the leagues start,” he added.
Asked what type of scoring would be employed, Meier answered, “That will be left to the teams, basically. They’ll fight it out. There will be a half-hour time limit on the third period, however, so if neither team has admitted defeat at that time, the two-man referee crew will determine a winner based on who kicked the most ass.”
An unofficial poll of participants in the Parks and Recreation’s youth basketball league last night revealed that opinions are split among the public as well.
“That sounds barbaric to me,” Eugene Conolley, whose son plays in the 12-and-under division, said of the new adult sport. “I can’t believe they would do that.”
"I don’t know. Maybe it would keep some of these damn neandertals from disrupting the kids’ games all the time,” his wife, Stacy, speculated. “It does sound like something our society should be above, but if it keeps these hot-headed brutes from abusing the kids and other parents, then maybe it’s a good thing,” she added.
Two boys seemed undecided on the issue when asked for opinions, until Connor, 14, turned to Mason, 15, and said, “Oh dude, my dad would totally kick your dad’s ass!”
"I think that sounds cool,” Connor’s father, Spencer Ward, said when told about the league. “I’m tired of all these ninnies and sissies looking at me like I’m some ape just because I get into the games, you know,” he added. He appeared ready to share another thought, when his son suddenly caught his attention. “Hey Connor,” he yelled loudly, standing up and pointing his finger, “don’t let that kid push you. Kick his ass!” Noticing some disapproving glares from other parents, he added, “Shut up, Conolley, or I’ll beat you and your wife’s asses. I don’t care if she is a chick!” At that point, our reporter was hit with a chili dog and left the gymnasium.
More information on the Parent-Brawling league is available at the Scranton Parks and Recreation office on Broadway.