Monkeyball World Championship hits Greater Lansing!

This was a great weekend to live in Lansing!

As we find ourselves in August, with the thoughts of fall not far from our minds, this weekend brought a lot of summer fun to the Greater Lansing area with some great events taking place around the city.

Monkeyball rack

Saturday brought the World Monkeyball Championship to the Greater Lansing area, and after some convincing from my friend, world-ranked Monkeyball player Andi Osters,  I registered with the intention to show these leisure sport players what I’ve got!

Now let me take a hot second to explain the great sport of Monkeyball to those of you who may be unfamiliar. Some refer to this game as ladder golf, and many have played it during a tailgate or two, but for the 100 plus players registered for the Sixth Annual Monkeyball World Championship, it was nothing but hardcore sportsmanship (and sportswomanship) at its finest.

Monkeyball is a game that is played by tossing four braided nylon ropes, with a put-put ball on each end, a distance of 30 feet, in hopes of landing the rope on a rung of a ladder, which is made of PVC. There are three rungs on this ladder, and wrapping a rope around the bottom rung gives one 3 points, the second rung, 2 points, and the top rung a value of 1 point. Each game is played up to 15 points, with a win by at least 2 points. The players alternate each toss of their ropes, and after all eight are tossed, they switch sides and toss to the second ladder, where they were previously standing.

Andi Osters filling in one of the many brackets

This goes on until someone has won the round, and in the case of the World Championship, you then either move on to the winner’s bracket or loser’s bracket, and continue to play until you have been eliminated twice.

Now back to the actual tournament.

My goal was to arrive bright and early, however due to some excessive fun at Lansing’s Jazz Fest the night before; I got a late start and missed my chance to play a few practice rounds. The tournament got started at precisely 10 a.m. and I felt it was a sign that my first round was a by and I was already up one win.

While I held my own for the first hour in bracket C, losing only to a man who traveled to our great city from the state of Alabama for the tournament, I was sadly knocked out on my fourth game of the day with a 15-8 loss.

This did not stop me from enjoying the tournament, however. I just joined the other “less than lucky” players in the crowd to soak up some sun, cheer on those who were moving ahead in the brackets and take advantage of the kegs on site. (Although, I did not take as much advantage of those kegs as some of the others in the crowd, who proceeded to throw some keg stands into the mix!)

Don’t get the wrong impression though, folks, this tournament was serious- keg stands and all!

Two of Saturday's competitors in action

There is an official monkeyball rulebook and these competitors were not shy about calling you out on breaking any of the rules- whether it was picking up your opponent’s “monkeyballs” without asking permission first, or stepping past the regulation ladder’s cap while trying to nail your toss. Yes, it got intense at times for this happy-go-lucky, Monkeyball rookie.

But, with so many people traveling into the area for this tournament, I am inclined to say Dimondale has not seen so much action in awhile! And all in all, it was a very enjoyable afternoon, a fun event and a great reason to bring people out to the Greater Lansing area!

So, while I may have entered into this tournament as a less-than-competitive rookie, I left realizing that the game requires a bit more than luck, and will be practicing in yards and parks across Greater Lansing until next summer’s 7th Annual World Championship Game. I hope to see many of you there!