San Diego is home to the Old Mission Beach Aquatic Club, which host the annual World Champion Over The Line Tournament each year on the first and second weekends in July.
Over the Line, aka OTL, is a sport unique to San Diego. Not in the rules as much as in the execution: the game is a tribute to San Diego lifestyle and culture. It started off as an edgy, unique, creative, and cool and, over the years, kept its mojo. The only OTL rule is this one: No B’s, meaning no (glass) bottles, no bowzers (dogs), no babies (or children), no boas (don’t bring your snakes, people), no bad attitudes, and no battles (fighting).
According to the OMBAC website: “OMBAC’s official beginning was 1954, but its roots sprouted years before. From friendships of the late 30s, 40s and early 50s, the spirit and attitude of OMBAC evolved in Old Mission Beach. The common denominator was a strong desire for having fun! So, in 1954, the Old Mission Beach Athletic Club was born. The original membership was less than twenty and the annual dues were the same for over forty years.”
We don’t know what it was like in 1954, but we do know what is was like in the 1980s and what it is today. Let us share a little bit of it with you. 😎
The Rules of the Game
The game is played on the sand, and the field is long and narrow.
There are only three players per team. At no time may players cross from one side of the “LINE” or its extensions, to the other when catching or attempting to catch a hit ball.
Teammate pitches from anywhere in front of “THE LINE” or its extensions.
One of the batter’s feet must be behind apex of the triangle (marked with a ☆). A “hit” is any ball hit into fair territory on the fly without being caught by fielders or any ball touched and dropped by fielders. Three hits in an inning scores one run. Each additional hit in the same inning scores one more run. Intentional throwing of the bat is a three-run penalty.
Fielding the Ball
Fielders may play anywhere past “THE LINE” or its extensions. A “home run” is any ball hit PAST the last man in fair territory on the fly without him touching it. The ball only has to go past him, not necessarily over his head. A home run “Clears the Bases”.
Scoring is taken seriously at OTL.
The winning team (all three members) are the officials for the next game on the same court. The captain of the winning team is responsible for keeping track of the game ball. The game must start within five minutes after completion of previous game. Any team not ready to play will forfeit. One of the three players on the winning team turns in the scorecard to the announcers stand in a timely fashion while the other “two” will score keep the next game.
From the OTL website: “OTL is known for, among other things, having very colorful team names. Having a funny or provocative team name is part of the overall tournament tradition.”
Team names can be … interesting. More than once we’ve heard an announcer say something to the effect of, “it’s too early for me to be talking like this.” 😳
One of the most important parts of OTL, besides the game itself, is drinking beer. And the best way to cart all that important fluid is in a wagon especially designed for sand.
Once you get involved in OTL, it holds a special place in your heart. You keep coming back. After a while, you are an “old guy” and proud of it.
OTL is a place where, as long as you follow the B’s, you are left alone to have as much fun as you want. The tournament is well staffed with OMBAC Redhats Staff, private security and officers from the San Diego Police Department, so the event runs very smoothly.
This is a collection of photographs we’ve taken over the years. 😯
Getting a Tattoo from the Parrot Heads
Of course, there are certain rituals that need to be honored, such as getting a tattoo or two from the San Diego Parrot Head Club.
Time Out to Relax
After a long day of playing OTL and drinking beer in the hot San Diego sun, sometimes you need some time-out to relax and recover.
Thumbs Up to Over the Line.
As this gentleman succinctly puts it, this is the way we should be spending our summers in July.