The day before Christmas Eve, our family was looking for something fun to do. One of the little ones said, “Let’s play WhirlyBall!”

Of course, being an old geezer, I asked, “What’s WhirlyBall?”

I learned that Whirlyball is “a mix of lacrosse and basketball played on a small court with bumper cars.” Then, add a lacrosse-type hand-held basket and a wiffleball thrown at a goal. The bumper cars are called whirlybugs.

Two minutes later, we were in the car headed to WhirlyBall in Plano.

Learning How to Play Whirlyball


We arrived and went to one of the two courts available. Then we watched the last five minutes of another group playing WhirlyBall.

It looked like a lot of fun. We immediately formed two teams of five and made our bets!

The referee greeted our group. He gave us some basic instructions on how to operate the whirlybugs and score. To score a goal, you hit the raised goal board for one point and the center of it for two). Of course, there were some rules, such as no hitting opponents with the whirlyball basket. That’s called a penalty.

We quickly ran to our whirlybugs, each one choosing the one we thought would be the fastest, buckled up, and waited for the ref to start the first round. Each game is eight minutes, and we played seven of them. When the first game started, we drove around in small circles, ran into walls, and laughed as we tried to figure out how to drive the whirlybugs.

Oh, the Fun We Had Playing Whirlyball!

The whirlybugs are steered by using a joystick-like crank. A foot pedal provides the energy to make it go. Turn the joystick left and you go right. One complete turn of the joystick toward your belly stops the whirlybug and makes it go in reverse. One more full circle back to your stomach will put your whirlybug into forward again. It took a couple of minutes for us to stop going in circles and bumping off the walls. Once we figured out how to move forward and pick up the ball with our baskets, we could score some goals.

Of course, our opponents wanted to bump into us immediately, pin us against a wall, and block our shots at the goal. Meanwhile our team members yelled, “Throw me the ball!” When they got it, they headed toward the goal.

Then came my next challenge. I had to figure out how to catch the ball in my basket and accurately throw it to my team mate. I missed a couple of accurate throws to me because the ball rolled in and out of the basket. After two misses, I figured out how to catch it. But my first throw bounced on the floor four feet in front of me and was quickly scooped up by my opponent. I rammed into the wall!

After my next toss, I got the feel of it and accurately tossed the ball to my team mates down court for the first score of the game. That resulted in a resounding cheer from the yellow team! And the action continued for another 50 minutes.

Whirlyball: Game Two

On the second game, it was surprising how quickly we learned how to pick up grounded balls and pass them to an open team mate. We also learned that we needed to watch where we were going or we’d end up against the wall. It was a blast charging full bore into the back of an unsuspecting opponent and trapping them in the corner.

During the first couple of games, I had the tendency to watch the ball or not paying attention to where I was going. I ended up driving into a wall or the side of a team mate’s whirlybug. It surprised me that the ref didn’t call anyone out for slashing a basket into an opponent’s, or hitting his arm.

When the ref (standing in a sky box above the court, watching and keeping score) yelled, “Car #7 needs a bump, he’s stuck in the corner!” fellow teammates would rush to bump them to get the stuck whirlybug started. Opponents would try to prevent them from getting to the stuck whirlybug or try to get you stuck too. If successful, it could result in a four whirlybug pile up!

What Happens After Whirlyball

After Whirlyball, the kids had a blast playing pool and arcade games while the adults headed to the nearest bar to settle our bets with a margarita!

Surprisingly, no one got hurt, we were all still talking to each other, and there was no question that we had some fun along with some wholesome competition. What a unique, different, interesting, competitive and fun experience suitable for all ages. Players must be nine years old or older and four feet or taller to play.

WhirlyBall is the perfect game for a birthday party, a family gathering, a fun evening out with friends, or a corporate event!

WhirlyBall in Plano has two large whirlyball courts, a two-story laser tag arena, tons of arcade games, several party rooms to accommodate any size group, and drinks. There is also a WhirlyBall location in Hurst.

Call them and give WhirlyBall a try!

Looking for more fun things to do in Plano, Texas? Check out these Plano golf courses.

Mike Sharp
Author: Mike Sharp

I have a passion for travel and outdoor activities, and now I'm enjoying retired life. I will continue my traveling, golfing, boating, and enjoying life all across the great state of Texas.

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