Consider it a Field Day for adults. Those who miss the quintessential elementary school afternoon spent playing lawn games in the fresh air can participate in the inaugural Battleground Games at Heckscher State Park in East Islip on June 8. The daylong event involves matches of cornhole and KanJam among several other niche games. Winners even walk away with cash prizes of $75-$1,000, in addition to trophies and bragging rights.
“These games have become a socialization tool to bring people together. It’s a bonding activity for friends and families,” says event organizer Robert DiGiacomo of Lake Grove. “Plus, you inadvertently get a lot of exercise in the process. You are so focused on trying to score, you don’t realize you ran half a mile in the process.”
Here are some of the newer games that will be played by teams of two:
It's the pickleball version of KanJam, except more interactive. The objective: hit the ball into the cone with a paddle.
“You can serve to your partner, they can pop the ball in the air and you can run down to spike the ball in,” says DiGiacomo, who created the game. “The key is to learn how to control the ball.”
Picture two mini bike ramps on a 45-degree angle at opposite ends of a playing field each with a netted opening in the top. The mission is for the shooter to get the ball into the net for three points.
“If it hits the top of the ramp, your teammate can still capitalize on the bounce for a point,” says co-creator Kevin Texeira, who grew up in Mount Sinai. “However, the opposing team can try and retrieve the ball for an extra shot if it bounces back in their direction.”
The victor must score exactly 15 points, no more no less, to win the game.
Thirty years ago Mike and Frank Silva created this game as a way to avoid doing dishes on Thanksgiving.
“We used two garbage cans and the CB antennas on the back of my father’s pickup truck,” recalls Mike Silva of South Brunswick, New Jersey.
Fast forward to 2019, this duo has created an official mini football game using two tailgate folding chairs with a hole in the seat and attached ball net (a flap covers it for seating purposes) and the back of the chair has a goalpost attached.
“With football, everybody thinks you are going to get hurt,” says Silva. “This is a non-intimidating way to introduce the sport.”
Imagine a game of lacrosse using a hollow plastic ball and a trackball racket with three different goals shaped in the body of a human.
“The head is the larger net for 1 point and with the two arms, get you 2 points for one and the other is 3 points,” says TriCrosse representative Bill Strobel of Setauket. “The ball really sails so it’s all about the flick of the wrist. It’s important not to overthrow it."
Born from Polish horseshoes, this game sees two poles stuck in the ground, 40-feet apart, each with a plastic bottle on top. The goal is to toss a Frisbee and knock the bottle off while your opponent tries to deny points by catching the bottle and Frisbee.
“It’s an offense-defensive style game,” says Poleish Sports representative Nolan Swanson of Plymouth, New Hampshire. “The more fun you have, the better you’ll play.”
Much like chess, the focus of the game is to take down the king, which sits center court. But first, there’s work to be done clearing the field of Kubb blocks by tossing batons to knock them over.
“It can get pretty intense where you have to make a certain play in order to win,” says Luke Davis of East Coast Kubb in Babylon. “There tends to be some high-pressure moments toward the end of the game.”
WHEN|WHERE 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday, June 8 at Hechscher State Park, East Islip, Field #3.
COST Advance registration is $35 a person or $70 per two-person team; Day-of registration, if available, is $50 a person
AGE RANGE Open to ages 12 and up (minors must have an adult teammate).