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Mitten Toss is a sport of growing popularity played in the Midwest of the United States usually on a college campus. It was invented on the campus of the University of Missouri-Columbia in late 1999 by a student group. In Mitten Toss there are 2-7 players on the playing field, known as the path, at one time. The goal of the game is to eliminate your opponents one at a time until you are the only tosser remaining. This is done by performing a variety of moves (listed below) with the playing ball, known as the mitten. But the tosser needs to be careful, because if he fails to successfully complete one of these moves while he has the ball, he's eliminated.
edit Equipment and Game Play
The equipment in Mitten Toss is very simple. Grass is the best surface to play on however almost anything will do. The "mitten", or ball, can be a soccer ball, volleyball, etc. The soccer ball seems to work best. This is all that is necessary.
The game begins with the tossers surrounding the ball at about a 5 foot distance. The tossers then have the opportunity to attack their opponent(s) with an offensive move (listed below) or sit back and wait for someone else to try. The defender wants to try to avoid any attack. If the move is successfully completed, the attacked tosser is eliminated. If not successful, the attacker is eliminated. Because it is such a new and fledgling sport, the decision on points are sometimes up to the discretion of the tossers. The rules are still somewhat vague. For example, tossers are not allowed to try to avoid being attacked by backing far away from the mitten. There is no set distance they can be from the ball, but it is generally accepted that while the mitten is in play you must be within about 5 or 6 feet of it, with some leniency. Another area of vagueness is on attacks. If the attacking and defending tossers agree that an attack is successful/unsuccessful the point is awarded to the winning party. However if the two involved tossers do not agree, the decision is made by an umbrella examination. This is where the tossers not involved in the play, vote. In case of a deadlock, a coin is flipped. Tossers use mainly their feet to play, however use of the hands and the rest of the body is not prohibited. There is no time limit or age limit in mitten toss. When a tosser eliminates the rest of the players, he is awarded one point. Like any game of pick-up basketball, the tossers set the number of points necessary for victory. The more tossers, the lower the number, generally. There are no penalties in mitten toss, you are simply eliminated from the point for any infraction.
- The following is a list of some of the sport's moves. It does not constitute the only possible attacks, but provides some to build on.
- Alpaca Bounce Lift the mitten up off the ground with your foot and slam it down with the sole bouncing it towards your opponent. If you hit the opponent it is successful.
- Grimble Call Stand just a few inches behind the ball and offer your hand to your opponent as if to shake his hand. He is obligated to try to grab it. When he tries to grab it pull that hand back and slap him on the back of the hand with your free (non-shaking) hand. Kick the mitten at his shins. If you hit his shins you are successful. You are eliminated if the opposing tosser grabs your hand or you miss his shins.
- See-Saw Flip A rare non-kicking attack. It must be done quickly. Somersault forward, picking up the ball, and throw it at any opponent. If you hit another tosser, it is successful. Unfortunately this is somewhat easy to dodge because you have limited accuracy coming out of the somersault.
- Cash Zap Stand over the ball with one foot on each side without firmly holding onto it. Your opponents will then try to knock it through your legs. You have two options when an attempt is made at the mitten: Straddle it tightly to where their kick is unsuccessful and the ball does not go through your legs. Or you can quickly turn it around on them and try to kick it through their legs and you are successful. Lunging is a good way to keep your opponents at bay as they might think you will attack them.
- Tree Roar Call out an opposing tosser by saying "Tree Roar" in their direction. As you face each other, the tosser with the mitten holds his hands out in front of him like he would hold a large cylinder (Fingertips from each complementing hand pressed against each other with room for the opponent to put his fist through). Slowly approach your opponent like this with the ball at your feet. The opponent tries to put his fist through your hands while you try to kick the ball through is legs. The defender must have his legs spread apart when attempting to put his fist through your hands. He is only allowed to close his legs once to defend the attack.
- Cragmar Blitz A desperation move where the eyes are covered with one arm and the other arm is used to hurl the mitten blindly in a random direction in hope of hitting an opponent.
- Wringle-wrangle A skill move where the attacker does a somersault on top of the mitten, grabs the mitten with his/her feet mid somersault, and then proceeds to fling the mitten with his/her feet towards a chosen opponent during a second somersault.
- Hatu A sneak attack in which the attacker lifts the ball up onto his foot and quickly flicks it at another tosser to his side in a direction he is not facing. The attack is successful if it hits another tosser.
- Irish Clockstopper The attacker approaches another tosser and attempts to grab his/her forearm before said tosser can kick the mitten away. If the defender kicks the ball the attacker is eliminated. However, if the attacker is successful then the mitten becomes an "Irish Clock". The other tossers must all try to kick the clock, or mitten. The last person to do so is eliminated.
- The Radar Shoulder This move is very advanced and not for everybody because of its do or die attitude. Notice how attitude is in bold, attitude is essential for the move. It has been called the hippest of all moves. First the attacker must expose one of his shoulders to another player. If both shoulders are exposed the move does not count and some sort of penalty with be assessed. Revealing the shoulder is best done by opening your jacket, but is open to interpretation. Now, revealing the shoulder is a challenge to an opposing player. The player must accept. The two tossers are now engaged in some sort of rap/ dance duel. Judging the winner is usually not to difficult because no two people are equally hip. Once the winning tosser is determined, they may then execute any move on the opponent that they choose with the losing tosser unable to defend himself. Very few are hip enough to try this move.
edit Prominent Mitten Toss Events
- Columbia Leisure Days
- Mizzou's Mitten Toss Tournament Men's Division, Women's Division, Greek Division
- Midwest Mitten Toss Classic Saint Louis, MO A non-sponsored tournament at Forest Park every July. Word is spread through collegiate fraternities and sororities throughout the Midwest of the upcoming event. Past participants have included students from University of Missouri-Columbia, Kansas University, Saint Louis University, DePaul University, Loyola University of Chicago as well as others.
edit Memorable Mitten Toss Moments
In the summer of 2004, two mitten toss legends, Tobias Gob and Carl Karlson, came together to battle for something more important than a trophy, pride (and the cash prize that is awarded to the winner). It was a beautiful, sunny day on the final day of the Mitten Toss Classic and both tossers were ready to play. Carl opened the match with a crowd stunning move, the Wringle-wrangle. This move is usually reserved for later in the match, however it seemed that Carl knew what he was doing. Tobias avoided this spectacular move with swan-like grace. The match raged on long into the night culminating in the longest and most exciting match in Mitten Toss history. The match lasted a total of 15 hours, 36 minutes, and 27 seconds. Tobias finished Carl off with a fantastic combination of moves. He began with the Alpaca Bounce. After bouncing the mitten, Tobias left his feet, throwing himself into one final move, the See-Saw Flip. The mitten struck Carl in the nose, causing him to lose the match and the title. Since this match, Carl Karlson has rarely been seen in the Mitten Toss world. He has slipped slowly and silently into Mitten Toss history.
edit Mitten Toss Controversy
Patrick Ashby Kansas University was recently banned from the 2008 Midwest Mitten Toss Classic due to use of a banned substance. Patrick, a two-time Golden Mitten runner-up, failed his drug test before the tourney. He was found to have Elephant Growth Hormone as well as Tiger semen in his blood test. Interestingly enough, studies have shown tiger semen has no performance enhancing qualities whatsoever. Patrick has received a three month ban from the IMTFC (International Mitten Toss Federation Committee).
edit Recent Champions
- Midwest Mitten Toss Classic Singles Finals
- 2008 Brian Benton Saint Louis University def. Daniel Kaemmerer University of Missouri-Columbia 10-5
- 2007 Daniel Kaemmerer University of Missouri-Columbia def. Mark Jantosik Bratislava Institute of Technology 10-9
- 2006 Brian Benton Saint Louis University def. Patrick Ashby Kansas University 10-2
- 2005 Mark Jantosik Bratislava Institute of Technology def. Patrick Ashby Kansas University 10-0
- 2004 Tobias Gob University of Missouri-Columbia def. Carl Karlson University of Arkansas 10-5
- Midwest Mitten Toss Classic Doubles Finals
- 2008 Daniel Kaemmerer and Carter Schamel University of Missouri-Columbia def. Brian Benton and Jonathan Depp Saint Louis University 10-3