UGA Flying Rats Toli Team
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Toli: Playing the game

playersToli is a very fast moving game with very few rules. There are no out-of-bounds, time-outs, fouls, first downs, free throws, or extra point kicks. We have no penalty box, no first base coaches, no off-sides, no walks, no benchwarmers. The action is continuous and the teams are as big or small as need be to accomodate everyone who wants to play.

There are only two traditional rules: 1. You cannot touch the ball (called the towa, a rock wrapped in cloth then laced with leather cord) with your hands, and; 2. You can only tackle the person who has possession of the ball. This second rule is a bit fast-and-loose since "body checks" are legal and the distinction between a body check and a tackle is pretty subtle.

In addition to these two traditional rules, the Choctaw Tournament, as well as the Flying Rats, have adopted additional rules to keep the game a bit more user friendly: 1. No "slide tackles", and; 2. No hitting people with your sticks (both sticks and bones get broken this way).

The point of the game is to bring the ball into contact with your team's goal (a 13 foot high, approximately 9 inch diameter pole). There are two ways of doing this in Toli. The first (and safest) is to throw it using your sticks (called kapucha, of which you have two, each one being 2-3 feet long with leather "baskets" 2-3 inches wide at one end). The second is by touching the goal with your sticks while holding the ball in them. This latter method is generally not advised as it tends to result in great bodily harm since the defense will stop at nothing to keep you away from the goal when you have the ball.

After each point and at the beginning of each quarter the ball is brought to the center of the field and tossed up in the midst of a circle of players (in a manner analogous to a "tip off" in basketball). For more details on play see Team Organization.

It should be clear by now that Toli is, in its essence, a very physical sport. But while tackles and body checks are an ordinary part of the game, this should not stop the curious but timid from coming out to play. The Flying Rats welcome women and men of all skill levels and we accomodate varying levels of physicality. Our basic philosophy is to let each player set their own level of physicality. We're all friends here who are out to have fun and we don't want anyone to get hurt. Just always remember that you get what you give.

People who have watched Toli without playing it often say it looks difficult. While the structure and motions of the game are certainly unfamiliar to most, the learning curve for those who venture to pick up sticks and try it is typically very fast. In fact, the Flying Rats have had many players who "aren't usually very atheletic" who take to Toli very quickly.