TRI: A Little Sport With A Massive 25-inch Ball

  • Ricky Boebel

TRI FederationThis is TRI, one of many new sports attempting to gain popularity in the United States. It looks like a cross between rugby and European handball.

In 2006, the sport was created as a social research project to bring cultures together. Initially established in Savannah, Georgia, TRI Federation moved to Shanghai because of the cheaper equipment costs. There, the sport gained enough popularity to host a TRI World Finals for the last three years.

TRI is played on a circular field with a 55-yard diameter. There are three teams of five people playing at once. According to the TRI Federation this leads to alliances being formed that can be broken at anytime, like if Survivor was a sport. The object of the game is to hurl the ball into the opposing teams’ goals before getting tackled by the opposition.

Still confused? Maybe watching will give you a better feel for the game:

That probably didn’t clear up much.

The ball is the most absurd part of this game. It’s 25 inches long, shaped like Hey Arnold!‘s head and would be more useful as a weapon than a sporting good.

The job of introducing TRI back into America is assigned to TRI Federation sport development officer Thomas Cieslak. Here’s what he told

“I love the fact that you can simply go out, set up a couple of bags that become goals, and play,”

This couldn’t be more false. By the looks of the video, you would need at least 20 cones for outlines, enough people for three teams and specialized 6-foot tall goals. After all, they moved all the way to China because of the lower equipment costs.

TRI is obviously unlikely to takeoff as America’s fifth major sport. It’s far too complicated to set up, let alone learn the rules and intricacies of the sport. With so many fringe sports competing for attention, there isn’t room for TRI in America’s sporting culture unless one of the big four (baseball, basketball, football, hockey) trail off in a major way.