Field Crumpets is a game played with two teams of players which try to score points by hitting the crumpet
into the opposing team's goal using their crumpet sticks
. Created in 1996 by Robbie Overton and Mike Nolan in Leawood, Kansas
, Field Crumpets is highly related to the games Field Hockey
, though it references several other sports. The game also includes various unique rules, many of which reflect the founders' desire to emphasize fun and silliness over competition.
The object of "Field Crumpets" is similar to that of Field Hockey
: each team attempts to use their crumpet sticks
to hit the crumpet
(the ball) into the opposing team's goal. A crumpet stick
is an oversized plastic bat, often made out of bright orange plastic, originally intended for young children to learn baseball. The crumpet
is generally a lightweight plastic ball about 10 inches in diameter. These implements are used for safety reasons - while it is not acceptable to purposely hit another player with a crumpet stick, unintentional hits do occur (especially around the legs and feet), and anything more solid than the oversized plastic bats could do a considerable amount of damage. The game lasts until one team wins by scoring 10 points.
Teams are generated randomly by having a captain think of a number and having each player pick numbers. The player that is closest to the captain's number is then on the captain's team. This process is repeated until the teams are even or, if the number of players is odd, the captain will farkle
(more commonly known as Rock, Paper, Scissors
) for the extra player. Other methods of team picking have been employed as well; for example, Montana
crumpeters are known to have every player stand in a line with their eyes closed with the captain facing the line - on the count of three each player (including the captain) move to the left or the right. University of Missouri
crumpeters have employed the mass farkling
technique for picking teams as well, in which all the players farkle against the captain and teams are picked by determining which players beat the captain or were beaten by the captain. Missouri S&T
players use a method derived from team selection in ice hockey where all of the players throw their crumpet sticks into a pile and one of the team captains is seated on the ground with his back to the sticks, and reaches behind him with closed eyes, tossing each stick into opposite piles, one with each arm. Each player reclaims their stick and each pile is a team.
Field Size and Dimensions
The field is marked off with four outside markers to mark out-of-bounds and then another four markers on each end-line to designate the goal. Typically, plastic discs mark the field corners, and plastic cones mark the goal corners. (Natural landmarks are often a last-resort if markers are unavailable; the lack of definite lines requires more cooperation than in other sports which may have referees or painted boundaries.) The goal does not have a top, nor does it really have any sort of physical "side"; goal sides are essentially invisible, infinite planes, such that points can only be scored through the front.
Restrictions and Penalties
With the exception of the goalie, players cannot intentionally kick the crumpet. Hands are also off limits as well, which are played in a very similar manner to soccer
's handball. The goalie is not allowed to cross outside of their half of the field. Each team is forced to change goalies after the team scores. No player can be goalie twice before every player on that team has been goalie once. If a team wants to go without a goalie, they can go "Commando" which will allow all of their players to play the entire field, but does not allow any of their players to kick the crumpet.
Underhand throwing of the crumpet stick towards the ball is legal unless it injures a player or strike a player above the waist; in large games, teams typically disallow all throws to avoid injuries. Similarly, overhead swings of the crumpet stick is legal unless players are near. Any infraction of these two rules will result in a free hit.
Should a player purposely use the hands to disrupt the path of the ball, either a penalty shot or an out-of-bounds turnover of control of the crumpet may result. Players typically decide the proper penalty based on severity or flagrance of the infraction. A penalty shot is taken 12 yards from the goal, or a quarter-field length from the goal on a non-standard field. During a penalty shot, players will line up along the sides to the left and right of the poles. No player can move until the crumpet is struck. Players can attempt to block the crumpet after the shot. An out-of-bounds turnover can be played from the spot of the infringement or at a point off the field parallel with the spot of the infringement.
All disagreement between players (goals, out of bounds, etc.) will be decided first by players who have the best view of the disputed event. All disputes that cannot be agreed upon by the two teams will result in a farkle. A player from each team shall farkle. The team that wins two out of three shall win the farkle. The team winning the farkle will decide the conclusion of the event.
Goals and Point Scoring
If the crumpet is hit between the two poles in the front of the goal, it has scored one point. If the crumpet then continues on through the two poles in the back of the goal, the scoring team gets an additional point for a total of two. After the crumpet has crossed the threshold of the first point, the scoring team cannot continue through the goal to hit it in for two points, but the opposing team can get in and attempt to stop the crumpet from crossing over the back of the goal. If the scoring team. does hit the crumpet while it is in the goal, that team will only be able to score one point for that score.
Switching Sides of the Field
Among some groups of players, it is customary to switch to opposite sides of the field at a certain point or points in the game. Options used by different leagues include the half-way point, when the first team reaches 5 points in a 10-point game, or whenever the sum of points is a multiple of 5. This tradition is somewhat handed-down from protocols of other "pick-up" games, but for Field Crumpets, serves additional purposes. Since the crumpet ball is often large but light, it is often very susceptible to wind and can make it much more difficult for any player to deliver a shot as intended, even a low-flying hit along the ground. Players at the University of Missouri-Rolla experience this quite often at the mercy of the Missouri weather in Fall and Spring. Switching sides often equates the time one side plays "against the wind" with time the other side must spend as well, regardless of the wind-conditions. Furthermore, fields can be assembled on uneven terrain, or occasionally include a tree.
After a point is scored, field crumpets etiquette, or crumpetiquette
suggests that the scoring team should leave a person at the opponents end of the field to receive the crumpet from the scored-upon team.
If an action might put another player in harm's way, game culture favors erring on the side of safety. Typically, players will avoid collisions to a degree of mutual tolerance. Several rules reinforce this culture, such as the limitation on stick-throwing to underhand tosses, with penalties for tosses that cause injury or contact a player above the waist.
Although the primary emphasis of Crumpets is not competition, there is still a winning condition to the game. The first team to score 10 points will be the winning team. After the game is ended, teams are repicked and another game is started. Although the AFCL standard is to use 10 points for a win, different groups have adapted this in the past. In one location, it is customary to use a truncated 5-8 total score for the win in small games, or a winning score beyond 10 in games larger than 6v6. In other places, players adhere to the 10 point rule regardless of size. (Note that in the AFCL rules, an 11th point cannot be scored, even if the final shot crosses both goal lines.)
At the end of the game, both teams line up to acknowledge each other, though instead of shaking hands, it is customary to touch elbows.
are usually oversized, light-weight, plastic bats. They are about 24 inches long and 4 inches in diameter. Crumpet sticks are generally made in bright orange plastic, but dark blue, yellow and red crumpet sticks have been used as well. Many crumpeters enjoy having their own crumpet stick and decorate them using a permanent marker
, electrical tape
, or duct tape
Crumpets are usually light-weight plastic balls. They are usually 10 inches in diameter and have cartoon characters printed on them. A particular crumpet that has become a favorite of crumpeters is the "Smiley" which has the design of a large yellow smiley face on it.
Field Crumpets is currently growing in popularity. Originally created in Kansas, it remained an isolated game through the late 1990s, until the original crumpet players headed separate ways for college and took the game with them. The first group outside of metropolitan Kansas City was a club at the University of Kansas
, followed by a club at Cornell University
in New York and another at Iowa State University
. In more recent times, the sport has gone under a great deal of growth with a new club at the University of Missouri
, one at Juniata College
, one at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
, two clubs in the Illinois and Indiana suburbs of Chicago, one in Montana, one in Alaska, one at the University of Missouri - Rolla, two age groups in Indianapolis, as well as a new Kansas City group formed by original players returning from college. Some of these can be considered "third generation" groups, as indicated in the spread by mutual friends from the University of Missouri
to the Missouri University of Science and Technology
. The particular flavor and blend of rules employed in the game at each of these locations can vary, which helps contribute new ideas to the sport. Balancing this effect, some groups communicate through the American Field Crumpets League, whose website has helped to encourage discussion, collaboration, and road trips between regional leagues as the sport grows in popularity.