Get on the (Budget) Ball with National Debt!
By Bryna Helfer, Senior Director of Civic Engagement, National Academy of Public Administration
Thought about the National Debt lately? Or your own credit scores? It’s all so very overwhelming! But – if you want to have a good time with managing debt and savings….check out the new fiscal sport called Budgetball! Budgetball is an innovative sport that combines fiscal strategy and physical activity. Players enjoy a fast-paced physical and mental exercise that encourages thoughtfulness about managing your debt and savings. At first glance, the game seems complicated, but it’s really quite simple. Here’s a quick breakdown:
- Two teams of six play on a field roughly the size of a basketball court (inside or outside). Three members of each team play on either side of the midline. The goal is to move the ball from one end of the field to the other and score in the other team’s endzone (so-there is a lot of running and passing with your team-mates throughout the game).
- Each game lasts about 40 minutes and is comprised of three 8-minute play periods with a 3-minute Budget Session at the beginning of each play period.
- During the Budget Session each team decides on its fiscal strategy for the upcoming period by choosing a combination of three PowerUps or Sacrifices. A Sacrifice (such as catching the ball with oven mitts on) earns a team Budgetbucks, which are converted to points at the end of the tournament. PowerUps, on the other hand, give teams advantages for scoring, but also cost Budgetbucks. One example of a PowerUp is an additional offensive player in the game.
- At the end of the last period of play (either in a single game or tournament)…Budgetbucks convert to points…..
- To win, teams must compromise and achieve consensus on the best debt and savings strategies AND score points too. The team with the highest number of points after their Budgetbucks are converted….WIN!
Budgetball is a great way to gain attention from students across your campus on the issues of fiscal responsibility at both the personal and national levels. If you want to help build awareness about our nation’s long term fiscal challenges and those facing college students also—host a Budgetball Tournament on your campus!!! To learn more about the game, see photos, and watch video clips — visit www.budgetball.org.