Boloball, also known as bolo-ball or limmie, is one of the most popular sports in the galaxy, played and viewed by billions every year. The exact origins of the sport are unknown, but it was first officially recognized in Year 6 by the Galactic Empire when the Imperial Gaming Commission created the Imperial Boloball League (IBL). In Year 15, the sport became popular with the masses in the Outer Rim when Roga McBea introduced the sport to the New Republic, resulting in the creation of the Republican Boloball Association (RBA).
Many variants of Boloball have existed for decades, often played by children in the streets or on empty grass fields. Organised local teams began appearing in the early years of the Galactic Empire, but no overarching structures existed until Year 6 Day 200 when the Imperial Gaming Commission announced the inception of the Imperial Boloball League. Patrick Martin was appointed the first League Admin and successfully professionalized the sport.
Many planets formed their own official teams and funded the construction of stadiums, while corporations across the galaxy showed interest in sponsoring the League, allowing the organisation and sport to quickly grow. Following the League's inception a sponsorship deal was signed with Cloud City for four seasons. This deal gave the League a much needed boost in revenue during its infancy stage.
Due to a sponsorship deal between League officials and the Auvasa corporation, the sport expanded beyond Imperial borders. Initially, many of the new teams were owned by Imperial officials. One of these was Roga McBea, who eventually defected to the New Republic and introduced the sport there by creating the Republican Boloball Association in Year 15. The intern nature of the Imperial Boloball League and the emergence of the Republican Boloball League in the New Republic's territory led many of its citizens to assume it was a new sport, unaware of its Imperial origins.
Boloball rules have changed throughout the decades and knows not only official variations, but also unofficial ones. Despite the long-lasting war between the Galactic Empire and New Republic, the rules of the sport have remained surprisingly consistent between the IBL and RBA. Some recognized variants of the sport host their own official competitions (namely Small-Team Boloball and Three-Way Boloball), but for it to be called Boloball the rules of either official league must be followed.
The sport of Boloball involves two teams of eleven players. The object of the sport is to score by using any part of the body besides the arms and hands to get the spherical ball into the opposing goal, which is guarded by the opposing team's goalkeeper. The teams fight for control over the boloball and are often playing in alternating phases of offense and defense. The team that scores the most goals by the end of the match wins.
Boloball is played on a large rectangular field that varies in dimensions based on the local customs. Most fields measure closer to 68 meters wide by 105 meters long, but the official rules allow for the field to be as small as 45 meters wide and 90 meters long.
The field is divided into two halves. Each team controls half of the field. The goals are located at the farthest sides of the field. Surrounding the goal is a 11 meter wide by 5 meter long area sometimes called the goalkeeper zone. It is in this zone that only the goalkeeper can be in. The keeper has special abilities provided to him when he is inside the zone. The field also has a center circle marking the center of the field, and a penalty zone that players can take penalty shots from.
Although grass is the preferred terrain for an official Boloball field, many planets have an ecosystem that does not allow grass to be grown. Therefore, the terrain used for fields can differ greatly depending on the planet. The RBA is the only league that requires that grass fields be used. Because teams usually choose colours that contrast with the field and the field is flat, spectators can watch the sport from any vantage point and get a good visual of what is going on.
The rules of boloball go into a fair amount of detail over the ball itself. While both the Imperial Boloball League and the Republic Boloball Assocation maintain their own regulations, the differences are minor. Both use a ball with a mass of between 420-460 grams and a circumference of 68-73 centimeters. The differences are primarily cosmetical, as an RBA ball is surrounded in hexagons and pentagons in a pattern of alternating colours intended to assist players in locating the ball in the air. It is a large hollow sphere filled with tibannagas and encased in layers of bantha skins that weigh the ball down as well as prevent the ball from being punctured. The IBL ball is covered in squares and made of a silverish, synthetic fiber that improves its durability when used on non-grass terrains, although the colour makes it less visible than its RBA counterpart.
Boloball is played with no less than 13 players and no more than 23. Any team with less or more than the allowed number of players forfeits any match they play until the issue is corrected.
The team is comprised of goalkeepers, defenders, midfielders, and forwards. Further subdivisions vary by team and may include attacking midfielders, defending midfielders, and centers. The rules allow a lot of flexibility in designations and only require that each team have a goalkeeper at all times.
Team uniforms are normally two colours, but these colours can differ on away and home uniforms. The rules give teams the ability to decide on any colours they like and have no colour requirements for home or away uniforms. Uniforms are normally light weight because the sport of boloball requires a lot of running and agility.
Matches are divided into two 45 minute halves. Action is continuous and only stops when a referee gives a penalty to someone or teams call for a time out.
Scoring against the opponent's goal and defending one's own goal is the main focus in boloball. Each time a player kicks the ball past the opponent's goalkeeper and into the net, one point is awarded to their team.