On Thursday, October 10, 2013, ACA eighth-grader and Dragon House member Josh Chasteen made school history when he scored the second of only two grails to ever be landed in a decade of playing ACA Grailball, a game originating at Augustine and exclusive to it. Only at Augustine would we take a sport created by a student (Lauren Post, daughter of ACA’s Headmaster) and turn it into a quirky tradition celebrated fervently and without a trace of irony.
Grailball, a cross between ultimate Frisbee and basketball (minus the dribbling), started in 2004 as a “House Challenge” and has been played enthusiastically ever since. The rough-and-tumble game pits Houses in an epic challenge of athletic skills, reflexes, and yelling. (Team spirit is the elusive X-factor that seems to make all the difference in Grailball matches.)
The rules are simple. One team (the offense) tries to get the small, baseball-sized ball (the Grailball) down the “field” (It’s an empty lot at the back of the school parking lot but we dream big around here!) by passing to team members (other House members in junior high or high school respectively) before shooting it into one of two goals that resemble medieval castle towers (complete with faux stone facades and imaginary moats). Members of the opposing team (the defense) defend their tower as the offense tries to toss the Grailball into one of several holes in the tower. A successful toss earns ten points and much cheering from the player’s supporting House members and other fans in the crowd.
A daring offensive player might try to land the ball in the grail (or holy grail if you prefer) on top of the tower, earning fifty points for his or her team–along with bragging rights, of course. It’s much harder than it sounds or looks to the casual observer, and the skilled Grailball player earns considerable social capital at ACA. When Chasteen landed his famous shot in the grail last week, he joined the ranks of ACA legend, formerly inhabited only by Levi Bimba, 2009 graduate and fellow Dragon House member.
Perhaps one day someone else will join Chasteen’s and Bimba’s legendary status, but even if no one does, Grailball will continue to delight all involved and be an honored tradition at a school that loves tradition more than an English major loves Shakespeare.