game played in YRUU by Unitarian Universalist youth, in which players sit cross-legged in a circle and engage in the passing of a silent and invisible football, under strict regulations of the sacred universe which is ruled and directed by Mr./Ms. Dictator, and which is the greatest non-sport in the history of humanity

You cannot learn Silent Football merely by reading about it on Everything 2. It is far too complex a game, with far too many social nuances, to explain it merely through writing. Therefore, this writup should serve mainly as a resource for people who need rules clarifications and variants.

1. Sit everyone in a circle and decide on a) one person to be the Dictator- they run the show and b) the number of Penance Points at which a player will lose the game. The dictator is God. Anything he or she says or does is correct. Players who point out flaws in the dictators actions are wrong- the dictator has no flaws.

2. Everyone decides on a name beginning with Mr., Mrs., Ms., or Miss. It can be their first name (Mr. Alan), their last name (Mr. Thicke), or some other creation (Mr. Cuffs). The Dictator's name is Mr., Mrs., Ms., or Miss Dictator. Every player should know everyone else's name.

3. The Dictator initiates the movement of an invisible "ball" around the group. The players continue to pass the ball around until a game error is made, or until a player raises his or her hand for another reason.

4. These are the moves one does when one has the "ball":

A. The ZOOM- reach across face, point elbow at anyone in the circle and make eye-contact with them. This gives that person the ball.

B. The THWAP (alternate- FWAP)- slap your knee with your hand. Slap left knee to send ball left, and right knee to send ball right. The number of knee slaps moves the ball through the same number of people on the side you indicated (once on left knee- person immediately to your left gets it, three on right knee- person three away on your right gets it). You can also combine directions, so long as the ball doesn't pass through yourself. (i.e.: three times on left knee, and once on right moves ball to person two to your left). There can be no more than one directional change, and no more than three thwaps in any one direction.

C. The SHRUG- move shoulders into a shrug. When someone passes you the ball, a shrug sends it back to them.

D. The SHROTUM (Alternate- Shimmy)- put right hand on forehead with elbow pointing out, and left arm through it. This too rejects the ball when it is passed to you, giving it back to the person who gave it to you.

5. These are the game errors:

- No one may do a move that has been done twice immediately before. If Player A zooms to Player B and Player B zooms to Player C, Player C can't zoom. This is called Zooming a Zoomed Zoom. The same applies for all of the above moves.

- Shrugging after a Shrotum, and Shrotuming after a Shrug are not allowed.

- No thwapping through yourself or thwapping more than three times in a direction.

- No speaking during play

6. If an error is made, a player should bring it to the attention of the Dictator by raising their hand. The Dictator calls on them, the ball movement stops, and that player tells the Dictator what infraction was made. The Dictator then asks the accused player to defend themself, and renders judgement. There are rules for this discussion as well, and therefore there are talking errors, mistakes made while reporting or refuting an infraction.

7. Rules for talking:

- Only talk when called on by the Dictator, unless you are the Dictator.

- No use of personal pronouns is allowed. These are any pronouns that refer to a person or group of people. "It" is not a personal pronoun. Some examples are: he, she, you, I, we, they, them, us, their, our, his, her, hers, him, theirs, my, your, ours, yours, mine.

- In place of these pronouns, the names of each player must always be used (the Mr., Mrs., Miss ones), and of course Mr., Mrs., Ms., or Miss Dictator is used for the Dictator. Terms such as The Players are appropriate as alternatives for "us" or "them."

- Players other than the Dictator must begin every speech they make with, "Mr. (or Miss or Mrs.) Dictator,..." since all talking is done to the dictator, not the other players, unless specified by the Dictator.

- Players can raise their hands to report talking errors too. The same proceedure applies.

- When reporting the use of a pronoun by another player, the accuser must put the pronoun in quotes, by saying "quote" and "end quote" and making quote signs with the hands.

8. Once the Dictator decides he or she has heard adequate arguments from accuser and accused, he or she assigns Penance Points. Players keep track of the amount of points they have. Dictators should assign points keeping the predecided limit in mind, so the game doesn't end to soon, or go on too long.

9. When a player receives the predecided number of points or in excess of it, he or she loses. The other players then decide on an appropriate punishment for the player who lost. They then carry out the predecided punishment, and all the other players win.

Alternate/house rules:

1. This could also be a drinking game, where Penance Points are replaced with consumption of drinks, but still kept track of, so one player who reaches the predecided number still does the punishment.

2. Where I learned Silent Football, at Rowe Camp in Massachusetts, it was customary for ball-play to be started each time with a ritual. I imagine there are many different such rituals out there. Ours was: The dictator would announce "Customary tip of the hat" and make a hat-tipping motion. All players would repeat. Then the dictator would say "Customary shroop" and make a drinking motion. Players repeat. Then the dictator says "Customary ______", making up an action and words, which the players then repeat. For example, "Customary LET'S GET THIS PARTY STARTED!!!" or "Customary will Mr. Man please stop fidgeting so?"

3. Most dictators insist on total attention. This means sitting cross-legged, at attention, with the bare minimum of fidgeting. Many also insist that players ask permission if they need to make a particularly noticeable scratch, such as to the top of their head. Gameplay is generally dignified and penance points should be awarded for undignified actions.

4. It is generally assumed that players must kiss up to the dictator as much as possible without being annoying to the dictator. It is often a fine line, and many dictators have awarded penance points for excessive sucking up. It is also assumed that players are aggressive towards one another, calling each other on minute mistakes and garnering favour with the dictator.

5. I have heard many groups have a rule "You do not talk about silent football," but this cannot have been an original, and it doesn't seem like a good way to get others involved.

6. The dictator is free to establish whatever house rules he or she wishes.

I believe the "you do not talk about silent football" rule originated on this page(, and they also claim to have invented the great game. I've not heard of anyone else claiming invention except for the oft repeated YRUU legend that it was originally a British drinking game. Either way, most groups I've played with refuse to provide any rules for newbies except for the traditional explanatory chant (another house rule I'm fond of is clapping your hands in time to the chant before the customary tip of the hat)which is:

You can Zoom a Zoom, but you can't Zoom a Zoomed Zoom.

You can Fwap a Fwap, but you can't Fwap a Fwapped Fwap.

You can Shrug a Shrug, but you can't Shrug a Shrugged Shrug.

You can Shrodem a Shrodem, but you can't Shrodem a Shrodemmed Shrodem.

And you may never ever never ever never ever never ever

Shrug a Shrodem nor Shrodem a Shrug!!

Usually, this generates half the room shooting you strange looks and muttering words like "gibberish" and "ancient UU rituals", while the other half rushes over, screaming "Ooh! Let me in!" I rather think the general idea is if you can decipher the rules and intent from fifteen seconds of nonsensical chanting you are worthy of playing.

One other house rule that is rather important to extended games (three hours or more...dependant on the last time the dictator ate) is the renaming of all food items within the universe. This may not be a widely recognised rule, and it's entirely possibly it's exclusive the the groups I've played with. As Tekunokurato said, the social nuances for this game are incredbily complex, and house rules usually depend on how sadistic the dictator is feeling that day.

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