Saturday, July 4, 2020

Battleship: The new sport in town

April 25, 2019
A student pours water into another team’s boat during a game of battleship at IM Sports West on April 19, 2019.
A student pours water into another team’s boat during a game of battleship at IM Sports West on April 19, 2019. —
Photo by Matt Zubik | The State News

The sound of splashing and laughter filled the warm air as Intramural Sports hosted a new activity- battleship. The recreational sport’s trial game was held April 19 at the IM Sports-West indoor pool. 

The activity requires of three players in a canoe. The goal of the game is to throw water into other teams’ boats using the two buckets provided. When enough water is in the canoe it will sink and the team in the water will be defeated. 

The rules of the game can be adjusted depending on how many teams are playing, how many are on a team and the level of difficulty the players would like. For instance, halfway through the match at Michigan State, referees decided to no longer allow players to bail water out of the canoe. 

One of the main twists in the game is that there are no oars. Players must cautiously paddle across the pool using their hands. If a canoe goes out of bounds or a member touches an opposing team’s boat or opponent, they must dump two buckets into their own canoe. 

Battleship is a new activity at MSU, but other universities offer programs with a few similar variations.

“There’s actually a lot of intramural programs around the country that do this,” assistant director of Intramural Sports Ross Winter said. “I’ve heard about it from some of my colleagues across the country and they’ve had a lot of success with it. For example, Ohio State, they run an entire league of battleship. They have some dedicated pool time and they play a couple times a week with multiple teams.”

Other universities that offer battleship are Iowa State, Florida State and Central Michigan; the latter is how some students first heard of the activity.

“I’ve worked for IM Sports so I heard about it through there,” finance junior Brayden Ison said. “A couple of my friends that go to Central Michigan had it there last year. I was excited to try it because they said it looked like a lot of fun.”

Other students found the activity on the IM Sports website and decided to try it.

“I was scrolling through and I saw battleship and I thought it was the board game at first, and then I saw canoes and I was a little bit confused,” computer science sophomore Noah Pesta said. “I looked into it online and was like ‘Oh this seems pretty fun.’”

With the success of the sport’s trial run, IM Sports is hoping to continue the activity and get more students involved.

“As of right now, it looks pretty successful,” Winter said. “Everybody’s having a good time. We’ve got some boats flipping over. Everybody’s engaging in non-traditional activity on a Friday night, which is pretty cool. I’m pleased with it at this point. I would like to see a few more teams and a couple more boats.”

Battleship is a game meant for any skill level. As the game continued, many teams adapted their methods to ensure better balance in the canoe and had better tactics to sink opposing teams’ boats.

“It’s a good mix between skill and not knowing what you’re doing,” electrical engineering sophomore Zach Grycza said. “It makes it fun for anybody, even if you lose.” 

MSU was able to borrow canoes from The Power of Water, located in downtown Lansing for the battleship event. The Power of Water has a partnership with MSU’s Sailing Center. MSU is acquiring a new fleet of multi-purpose canoes that will be primarily used at the Sailing Center, but will also be used for battleship.


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