for a new sport.
This is an idea for a ball game along the lines of
baseball/softball/kickball/etc. It's played on a diamond, there
are 9 innings, three outs per side per inning, etc., etc. The
ball used is a standard tennis ball, and any regular baseball or
softball bat may be used.
In this sport, though, there are only five players per team: A
pitcher, a catcher, a first baseman, a shortstop, and an outfielder.
That's correct: One outfielder has to cover the entire outfield,
left, right, and center. No problem.
The outfielder also cannot throw the ball back to the infield; he will
have to run it in. No problem.
The outfielder also does not get a turn at bat. He won't complain.
The outfielder is a border collie.
Now, if your head isn't already reeling from the possibilities, you
clearly have never met a border collie. In fact, the team at bat
may have to resort to bunting the runners around if they hope to score
any runs. Getting a fly ball to come down in the outfield without
being caught in the air will probably prove to be a rare
occurrence. The only reason there are four human players per team
is so that you cannot end up with the bases loaded and no batters;
otherwise we'd omit the shortstop.
The biggest challenge here will be to train a border collie for the job
-- or, more to the point, training two
border collies for the job, since you'll need two teams to have a
game. Of course, if you only have one border collie, you could
let him play outfield for both teams. He won't complain about
If the owner/trainer of the border collie doesn't happen to be one of
the other four players, he may be present during play but his role is
akin to that of "coach". He cannot be within fair territory
play. He may stand outside the first or third base lines like a
coach. It would perhaps be more common for the owner/trainer to
first base or shortstop, putting him in good position to monitor the
Training your border collie to fetch a tennis ball certainly won't be
difficult. Training him to catch it in mid-air probably won't be
difficult. Getting him to give up the ball so you can resume play
might be a little more challenging, but still doable. Perhaps the
most serious training challenge will be convincing him to run down the
baserunner once he retrieves a ground ball. Once accomplished,
though, the image of a border collie tagging a human runner "out" would
be worth the price of admission.