A Basal Ball tournament planned this Saturday will have the excitement of a baseball game but will stress vocabulary.
The tournament, at Lawrence Riverfront Plaza Factory Outlets, is sponsored by the Indian Center of Lawrence and Mercantile Bank of Lawrence. The event is free.
"It's a good activity for the kids," said Chet Learned of the Indian Center. "We've been wanting to get out in the community more, and this seemed like a terrific activity to do that."
Children in first through fifth grades will participate in the Basal Ball tournament. Children step up to a joystick, press a button and a word flashes on a monitor. The child then has four seconds to pronounce the word correctly. Once the word is pronounced correctly, the child runs to bases that are set up at the mall, according to the value of the word.
If a child misses three words, he is counted out and returns to the end of the line to continue playing, unlike a spelling bee in which the child would be out of the game.
The words are suited to each grade level that participates. First-graders may pronounce the word like students in other grades -- or they may spell it.
The tournament will be played at 9 a.m. for first-graders; 10:15 a.m. for second-graders; 11:30 a.m. for third-graders; 12:45 p.m. for fourth-graders and 2 p.m. for fifth-graders.
Schools will be paired for the tournament, and each team will comprise about 30 students on each grade level. However, if more students would like to participate, Learned said, they will not be turned away. Scores will be kept, but no trophies will be awarded, Learned said. All students will be given a ribbon to acknowledge their participation.
For more information, call Learned, 841-7202.