Members of The Cross-country BigBall Association (XCBA)
(Some Names Shortened to Protect Minors)

MENS
- Tom Cody
- Julian deCiutiis (2008 Canadian champion)
- Mike deCiutiis
- Tom "Spiderlegs" Liehr
- Mark Oechsli
- Pat Price (Northwest Champion)
- Danny Spielman (2009 World Champion)
- John Spielman (Interstate Champion)
- Steve Spielman (SF East Bay Area Champion)
- Paul Winter
- Justin Mitchell (only plays Interstate)

WOMENS
- Elisa "the flea" Liehr
- Whitney Liehr
- Kathy Spielman (2008 Women's World Champion)
- Deena Sheridan
- Julie Winter
- Kara Bennett from Stanford
- Melinda Mallek (Best female player East of the Mississippi)
- Anita Price (Northwest Women's Champion)
- Linda Sawyer

BOYS U18
- Scott the Evil German Leprechaun (2008 Champion)
- Spencer inventor of Swishwater Clouds
- Jason the Stien

GIRLS U18
- Monica the terrible

BOYS U14
- Ben who plays in the street
- Jeff the Track Star (2008 Champion)
- Nolan #1 in the Northwest Division
- Zack the Slugger
- Collin who steps on bees

GIRLS U14
- Sarah the Soccer Star (2008 Champion)
- Tessa with special recorder talents
- Aidan the Annihilator

GIRLS U11
- Laura the Fish (2008 Champion)

Highlights of the 2009 Palos Verdes Open. This video includes the first ever aerial photography of a Cross-country BigBall game.



History and Highlights of Cross-country BigBall
Sometime in the summer of 2000, John Spielman, the inventor and father of Cross-country-BigBall and an all around nice guy, became bored running around the local high school track to keep in shape. He tried throwing and chasing or hitting and chasing a baseball while running to add some "purpose" to his run. This made keeping in shape more interesting but it annoyed other people running on the track. So, John tried running off the track on local trails but the baseball he was chasing usually got lost.
Around this time, John was also becoming interested in the game of golf. The idea of hitting a ball accurately over long distances to a goal
intrigued John. However, John liked to run and golf doesn't involve any running so John rarely played golf. One day while watching golfers in Ojai, John thought, "If golf was a race, you could stay in shape playing it and still enjoy the challenge of hitting a ball accurately over long distances and variable terrain to a goal". As you would expect, John also realized that no sane golf establishment would allow such "races" on a regular basis. Furthermore, sooner or later, someone would get hit in the back of the head by a golf ball.
In spite of the sharp disappointment this brought on, John decided to try his idea at the local high school fields and hill sides -- the next best thing to a golf course. The hillsides of the local high school were covered with long grass so John used a soccer ball instead of a golf ball for his "race" so the ball would not get lost. He also used a baseball bat to hit the soccer ball because a golf club would be useless hitting a soccer ball. John raced across the high school grounds, chasing and hitting his soccer ball over fields, under fences and through buildings. Clearly this was a much more interesting way to stay in shape. John soon realized that racing against opponents would be much better than racing alone. Perhaps he could get his two sons to participate...
Danny and Scott, played little league baseball. Occasionally for practice, John, Danny , Scott and friends would play "Big Ball" (baseball with a soccer ball) on the beach. John persuaded his sons to join him in a race chasing soccer balls hit with baseball bats. Sometime in October of 2000 (no one knows the exact date), John, Danny and Scott had their first race at the local high school. They had a great time and people on campus that day still don't know what they saw. Later, they discussed a name for the game. It was like "big ball" on the beach but it wasn't baseball, you race to the goal, potentially across country (the word "cross-country" comes from hiking across open territory where there are no hiking trails). The name "Cross-country BigBall" seemed to stick and the historians now agree that the sport was officially born on that day. Over the next months, John, Danny and Scott tried many theaters including parks and the local intermediate and primary school campuses. John had a great time and stayed in great shape.


February 2001 -- this first game is played with more than only "Spielman's" involved. John brings many soccer balls to Scott's little league baseball practice and the whole team plays a couple of rounds. Some of the dads played too. Scott wins the youth category and becomes the number one U-12 player in the country. Scott will later follow his older brother as the leader through the categories, becoming the number one U-14, U16 and U-18 North American Player.

April 2004, Easter Sunday -- At a family gathering a group goes off to play Cross-country BigBall at the local park. Kathy Spielman becomes the first female to play the game. Danny re-establishes his control over the U-16 category with two victories. On this day, John's brother Steve Spielman, coined the official Cross-country BigBall Slogan "I am honored to be playing the . . . game in the world" (some words left out because they weren't very nice). By the end the games degrades to using one of the players running around the field as the goal. Everyone likes the "Player Victim" variation.

April 2004, Day after Easter Sunday -- Steve Spielman and Jeff Oechsli play a short game of Cross-country BigBall, the first game played without John Spielman, the father of Cross-country BigBall, present.

August 2004 -- Cross-country BigBall Expands to Oregon.
The Spielman's and the Winter's get together in Sunriver Oregon for a round of Cross-country BigBall. The games are played at and around Fort Rock Park. Some of the first recorded photos of Cross-country BigBall are taken. Tessa wins and takes control of the U-9 girls category.

The second round of the Sunriver Oregon Game at Fort Rock Park, August 2004
And they're OFF!

April 2005, Game with the Codys before dinner "almost" around two soccer matches. Ben becomes the first to play Cross-county BigBall on a public street. Monica establishes herself as the number one U-18 girl in the North Americas. Danny almost breaks a school window. He also, moves from boys U-16 to U-18 and maintains his number one slot.

June 2005, The CrossCountryBigBall.com web site is published.


July 2005 Sunriver Open -- A big game at the Three Rivers School in Sunriver Oregon named the "Sunriver Open" by Danny just after the first round ended. In this historic game the first women only rounds are played including Kathy Spielman, Anita Price, Melinda Maleck, Linda Sawyer, Aidan and Sarah. Kathy Spielman wins the first womens round and holds her position as the number one female in the sport. Other coed rounds are also played as the women are joined by John Spielman, Danny, Scott, Steven Spielman, Jeffrey, Collin and Nolan. Everyone had fun and the Three Rivers School Theater gets a top rating from all players. In particular, the players all enjoyed the "pit" goal including Kathy Spielman who go a stick in her leg during that round. Unfortunately, there were two casualties in addition to the Kathy Spielman stick incident when Collin and Danny got stung by bees.
Sunriver Open 2005, Start of Round 3. John Spelman, the Father of Cross-country BigBall is furthest from the camera starting a winning round.
First All Womens Game July 2005 -- Kathy Spielman, Melinda Mallek, Sarah, Anita Price and Linda Sawyer launch some line drives at Three Rivers School.
July 2008 -- The Palos Verdes Open for 2008 is held at the "PVIS Campus and Beyond". The Spielman's, Liehr's, one Winter and deCiutiis' participate. Casualties include Brodie the Dog that lost a tooth from a bat and two soccer balls. Danny maintains his lead in the Men's Division with a solid performance. The Canadian National Champion was present for his first American Theater experience. The longest canyon run in the history of the game was won by Jason and there was a considerable amount of street play in Palos Verdes Estates. Participants included John Spielman, Danny, Scott, Elisa Liehr, Mike deCiutiis, Zack, Julian deCiutiis, Tom Liehr, Jason, Whitney Liehr and Spencer. It was a large group and everyone got along OK except for Lisa Liehr, who used some questionable techniquies during the 5th round.
PV Open 2008, Start of Round 4 -- On the left showing superior form is DANNY SPIELMAN, Current World Champion
Cross-Country BigBall Fanatic and Track Star Whitney Liehr cruises up a difficult canyon course.
Elisa Liehr and Julian deCiutiis progress up the canyon as Danny Spielman works on getting his ball out of a tall tree.
PV Open 2008, Round 5 involved some street play. Scott, the U18 champion, forgot his shirt.
August 2008 -- The first Interstate Competition is held near the California/Oregon border. Participants included John and Danny Spielman and rookie Bigballer Justin Mitchell. John edges out his younger challengers to claim the title of 2008 Interstate Champion.
John Spielman triumphs over the first interstate competition.
Danny Spielman leaving California, slightly behind John Spielman
Danny Spielman and Justin Mitchell race across the California-Oregon Border

July 2009 -- The Palos Verdes Open is again held at the PVIS Campus. The Spielman's, Liehr's, two Stanford track stars, the Winter's and a deCiutis' competed for the glory. Two Mitchells and the Aguora Spielman-Oechsli's are not able to attend due to various medical excuses such as the stomach flu and a bad ankle. This event included three notable new features including aerial photography of round one, an interesting relay round and Elisa Leihr did not get caught cheating. Participants included John Spielman, Danny Spielman, Scott, Elisa Liehr, Zack, Kara Bennett (from the Stanford Track and Field Team), Tom Liehr, Jason, Whitney Liehr (also from the Stanford Track and Field Team), Spencer, Paul Winter, Julie Winter and Deena Sheridan. This was Deena's first event and she is clearly the most beautiful woman ever to play the sport. For the relay, the group divided into three player teams, one ball for each team. The teams positioned their players on the course to optimize the strengths of each member. Ball identification was a big issue because the ball was often "passed" between players that could not see each other. Other than some skinned knees and dirt, no mammals were wounded during this event although a couple of balls were lost. After the game everyone enjoyed the usual Lime Fruit Floes and a salmon dinner cooked by Deena (isn't she just amazing?).


A perfect "Popcorn" start for the Palos Verdes Open.



Complete aerial coverage of the first round. Look for Danny Spielman, World Champion, in the red shirt and Scott, U18 champion, crossing the basketball courts as he wins this round.



Julie Winter belts a line drive.
Zack moving his ball across the PVIS green.
The first round continues. Tom and Whitney Liehr can be seen crossing the basketball court. The Spielman's (in red and green) are ahead of them closing on the goal.
The group takes a break after the first round and discusses their strategies for Round 2.
Scott, the current U18 champion, follows a roller down the big hill during the relay round. Notice that Scott carries the bat in his left hand.
The relay round starters - Danny Spielman, Tom Liehr, Whitney Liehr, Julie Winter and Spencer - watch from above as the race finishes below them.
Kara moving the ball from the upper field to the lower field during the relay round.
Deena Sheridan, Jason and Scott relax after finishing the relay round.
Don't miss the "Moon Invitational" this Spring.
Rules, Regulations and Recommendations
Objective:
The objective of each round is to get your soccer ball in the goal before any other player using your baseball bat to move the ball.

Rules of Play:
1.All players start at the same location and time. Kids and inexperienced players may get a head start or "handicap" if everyone agrees.
2.The Player must throw the ball up and hit it with a bat to move forward.
3.The Player may not touch the ball if it is moving unless it is moving away from the goal or the intended path to the goal.
4.The first ball to reach the goal wins the round. If the times are the same then the fewest hits wins (no one keeps track of how many hits they have so hopefully this will never come up).
5.Any path from the start point to the goal is legal.
6.If the ball is lost The Player starts the round over with a new ball. However, players are allowed to use any "locally moral" means to recover their ball.
7.You may move 5 steps from where the ball stops to hit with better footing or clear an immediate obstacle.
8.You may not intentionally hit another players ball or another player with your ball or bat and you may not block or "check" other players.

Definitions:
Theater: The park, campus or open space containing the starting point and goals for the entire game of Cross-country BigBall
Round: A single goal, start to finish.
Game: A series of rounds.
Stick: A term used to describe a ball staying in place for a goal to count. If "the goal must stick" then the ball must not only touch the goal, it must stay in or on the goal to count as a goal. In the opposite case, "does not have to stick", the ball does not have to stay in or on the goal to count as a goal. It must only bump the goal.
Handicap: A head start. For example, a Handicap of 3 means the player may hit the ball three times before the other players begin.
Recommendations:
1.Wear cleats with high tops for traction and to avoid twisted ankles.
2.You must be in excellent aerobic condition, a single goal can cover miles of unrestrained sprinting.
3.Avoid steep uphills in your route unless the way around is very long. If the ball gets away from you on a hill you will have to go a long way to the bottom to retrieve the ball. It could take all day to get to the goal.
4.Avoid going over roofs. Balls get stuck on roofs. Also, balls often go under the intended roof and through the window commonly placed below the roof.
5.Because this game requires a large theater, it is often necessary to traverse other smaller games such as baseball, soccer, golf and polo. This usually does not present a problem but in some cases it may be wise to go around smaller games to avoid a conflict.
6.Players not familiar with the theater should consider playing their first rounds with a hand held GPS receiver.

The Official Food of Cross Country Big-Ball
When the game is over; your hot, tired, have a twisted ankle and you lost your ball, nothing makes you feel better than an ice cold Lime Fruit Floe from Trader Joe's -- and they're fat free.

Trader Joe's Lime Fruit Floes