THE GAME (G.3): A Primer

Image courtesy of Media Spin

In general, THE GAME aggregates, (re)creates, resurrects or recombines ideas, news, information, technologies, entertainment, created works and services from the real and online worlds; the "byproducts" of these initial processes can then aggregate, be (re)created, be resurrected or recombine into endless competitive nodes. The totality of these nodes make up THE GAME.

The current version of THE GAME (version 0.3), or G.3 ("G point three" or “G dot three”), is a perpetually evolving, open-ended and openly innovated omni-competition. THE GAME includes every idea and activity (or node) from the worlds of sports & recreation, business, politics, technology, internet, science, arts & entertainment, and life/style, and can be blended in endless ways with each other or with every newly created or derived idea and activity from the same worlds. Simultaneously, THE GAME also includes the endless modifications, recombinations (mashups, remixes, etc.) or blending (in endless ways) of every idea and activity (existing, created or derived) from the worlds of sports & recreation, business, politics, technology, internet, science, arts & entertainment, and life/style.

THE GAME is an open and additive system. All the aggregate guidelines and rules (see the original guidelines and rules) that exist, are created or modified in THE GAME derive from an open, flexible and extensible framework . THE GAME framework can be distilled as follows:

1. THE GAMEs’ participants and developers can include anyone.
2. THE GAMEs’ nodes can consist of or be based on anything.
3. THE GAME can take place anywhere.
4. THE GAME can take place at anytime.
5. GAME participants can participate in any way (all of THE GAME, several nodes in THE GAME or a single node in THE GAME; as casual, competitive or professional participants).
6. If a node in THE GAME does not exist, participants and developers are free to create a new or modify an existing node; adding to THE GAME.

A Warrior’s Wisdom

Reading bodybuilding legend Kevin Levrone’s, The Levrone Report has recently become a daily ritual for me as I’ve tried to develop THE GAME, and identify and implement practical ways to train for THE GAME. Although there is the obvious training and bodybuilding lean to Kevin’s blog, I have found it and it’s close-knit forum community a priceless source of inspiration and insight into a champion’s drive.

Ever candid and thoughtful, Kevin recently wrote a concise and powerful piece on the way of a warrior entitled “A Warrior Does Not Wait”. If there was ever a powerful call to action in so few words, Kevin’s observations on the mindset of a warrior ranks up there with some of my all-time favorites.

The First Basic GAME Formations, Circa 1999

Below are diagrams of the first series of GAME formations (sketched between the brackets) I came up with back in 1999. Enlarge image. The brackets in the diagrams reflect the modularity of the formations; in other words one could use any one of the formations below to create completely new formations or integrate them into existing formations depending on how involved a GAME a team is participating in and/or what the team is trying to accomplish.

The three formation modules are, from top to bottom:

  1. a power-speed formation (the arrows that extend horizontally from “LINE” indicate that the line-forwards are positioned out in either direction without indicating the specific players or the spacing between them; the arrow that extends up from the “LINE” indicates that a forward push into the opposition is the goal of the line; the double-ended arrow between the Throwing Backs (ThB) at the bottom of the formation indicates that more players can be inserted in between the rear ThB’s, depending on the GAME and/or goal of the team). By positioning the SC (signal caller) close to the line followed by a “tail” of ThB’s, the SC becomes the initial ball handler who can either keep, hand off or lateral down the line of ThB’s (similar to the flow of rugby), depending on the defensive alignment and degree of defensive penetration. In general, ThB’s positioned towards the front are throwers with great size, mobility and generate considerable power when entering the frontline; ThB’s positioned in the middle are throwers who are elusive, and explosive; ThB’s in the rear are mobile, have good height and have the best power arms to deliver the ball downfield or into other transitional GAME zones. The rear ThB’s tend to be the least mobile of ThB’s and shadow the lateral movements of the ThB’s in front, in order to be in position to throw when required. This formation allows an offense to throw multiple looks simultaneously at a defense and then exploit the defenses’ weakest areas quickly and with forceful impact.
  2. a defense-offense transition formation is a defensive alignment module that creates quick transitions into attack mode through the utilization of quick strike power forwards on the wings and athletic power players with size and mobility in the middle of the defensive line. The three “bubbles” at the bottom of the module are a side in hockey, an American football offensive line and a American football/GAME hybrid backfield consisting of a QB, SC, TWB and B (more on these positions later). The “bubbles” illustrate how the forwards on the wings augment the defensive line but are versatile enough to sprint into the transitional GAME zones in all directions; linking up with and then participating in other (athletic) nodes. The defensive line’s main role is to provide a stiff resistance to counter offensive maneuvers, but like the forwards, the line has the flexibility to charge forward to participate in offensive operations. Behind the line are varying numbers of defenders (D) who are typically aligned in an I-formation. The D’s are primarily defensive safeties who are the key decision makers when leading a quick counterattack.
  3. a power-speed formation on the right wing with ThB’s stacked in a power formation upfront and speed ThB’s in the back. An extra layer of SC’s and B’s follow the ThB’s to create more power-speed combinations in the “tail” of the formation, producing more potential matchup problems for a defense.

Most positions have a corresponding athlete and the skill set (listed to the right of the athletes’ names) that I had in mind for the newly created GAME positions. The positions in the diagram may be unfamiliar to some, so a position index follows the diagram.


Position index for the preceding diagrams:

B=Back: is usually a multi-nodal hybrid position requiring quickness, speed, elusiveness and explosion. Because the B may usually be positioned further back in a given formation, endurance is a key element in the conditioning required for the position. A Back may in certain formations travel 15, 20 or more yards before hitting the frontline.

C=Center: a specific position from basketball, ice hockey and/or a football offensive line.

D=Defenseman: hockey defenseman providing a line of defense as well as lead a counterattack on a change of possession.

F=Forward: right wing or left wing in ice hockey, power or small forward in basketball. The F positions on the wings, in the middle formation module above, can be occupied by any type of forward from any athletic node as long as his skillset fits most of the requirements for the module’s position. Examples of forwards from the various athletic nodes who could fit in this defensive module include: Deion Sanders (CB/WR/KR/PR, American football), Roberto Carlos (wing back, football), Charles Woodson (CB/WR—in college/KR/PR), Scottie Pippen (SF, basketball), Ron Artest (F, basketball), Dwight Howard (C, basketball), Kevin Garnett (F, basketball), Lilian Thuram (centre back/right back, football), Cafu (wing back, football), Larry Robinson (D, ice hockey), Chris Chelios (D, ice hockey), Scott Stevens (D, ice hockey), Raymond Bourque (D, ice hockey), Bobby Orr (D, ice hockey), Claude Makélélé (defensive MF, football), and Hong Myung-Bo (sweeper, football). The F positions on the wings can also be multi-nodal hybrids.

G=Guard: football offensive lineman.

PF=Power Forward: basketball.

QB=Quarterback: football.

SC=Signal Caller: a hybrid multi-nodal position proficient in transitioning into and out of multiple nodes. A SC can, for example, start with a hockey line and/or receive a handoff from a football QB and stay in his node, transition into another node or distribute to another player from another node.

T=Tackle: football offensive lineman.

ThB=Throwing Back: a mobile multi-nodal hybrid position whose primary role is that of a thrower and whose targets are players spanning multiple nodes. ThB’s can range from tall power throwers to smaller, more explosively mobile throwers. and anything in between.

TWB=Throwing Wing Back: a multi-nodal hybrid player who can be positioned within a backfield formation or motioned/positioned to either wing. A versatile and athletic player, the ideal TWB can make throws between and within nodal zones, can catch/maintain possession, and can have tremendous explosiveness. The size of TWB can vary from tall and lanky, small and elusive, to anything in between, just as long as they have the above skillset.

Esthetics aside, the three GAME formations above were inspired by the University of Nebraska’s “I-option” attack, specifically; the I-formation, in general; and the hammer and anvil military tactical maneuver used in ancient battles and in modern frontline operations.

The I-formation was selected as a starting point for formations in THE GAME for several key reasons:

  1. The ability to have multiple options for a multiple number backs when they are attacking the frontline.
  2. Increased speed in hitting the frontline. The backs from the “tail” or rear will be able to read the defense with a running start when hitting the frontline. Conversely, backs towards the front can serve as quick hitting decoys, blockers, throwers, runners or a combination.
  3. Improved deception. The quick hitting action and the fact that the backs are lined up and virtually hidden by the backs in front, increases the ability of the offense to mask their intentions at the start of play and also increase the effectiveness of the subsequent “hammer and anvil” attack.

THE GAME Training: Herschel Walker’s Advanced Workout, Week One

herschel walker book cover hershelwalker
To say that Herschel Walker’s training methods are unorthodox would be an understatement. One of the few players in modern American football to achieve elite status with minimal free weight training, Walker has frequently attributed his freakish strength and power to an intense morning workout regimen consisting mainly of 2,500 sit-ups and 1,500 push ups (doing up to 100 at a time).

An All-American running back at the University of Georgia, a star in the USFL (1983-1985) and the NFL (1986-1997), a sixth degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do, a member of the 1992 U.S. Winter Olympic two-man bobsled team, a world-class sprinter and now a mixed martial artist, Walker will debut in the January 30, 2010 Strikeforce: Miami event at the age of 47. An athletic and genetic marvel, Walker is one of the rare athletes who has competed in disparate athletic nodes at world-class levels.

Yet, Walker didn't start out as an athletic freak. In his book, Herschel Walker’s Basic Training, Walker confesses that he was a burly kid who was often picked last for teams and his sister could consistently beat him in foot races. Through dedication, hard work and the discipline required to complete his intense daily workouts, Walker was able to maximize his raw physical talent and train his body to perform at an elite level in many different athletic nodes.

As athletes in THE GAME, our bodies will often require us to perform physically different tasks at a top level when we transition in/out of disparate nodes (sometimes, very quickly); especially in the transitional zones. That is why studying how Herschel Walker physically prepares himself gives us insight into ways of building a strong foundation of fitness for THE GAME.

Fortunately for us, Herschel Walker and Terry Todd, PhD detailed Walker’s unorthodox training regimen in the aforementioned Herschel Walker’s Basic Training. In the book, Walker outlined his recommended 12-week beginner, intermediate and advanced training programs; incorporating calisthenics (including, of course, push ups and sit-ups), plyometrics, martial arts, basketball, swimming pool workouts, sprinting, running and eventually some free weight training.

Over the course of the next several weeks we will share with you the advanced training program offered in Walker’s book. While following the routines may not give us the power, speed and explosiveness of Herschel Walker, it will build a solid foundation that, if necessary, can be augmented by a personalized team or individual training program.

THE ADVANCED PROGRAM (courtesy of Herschel Walker’s Basic Training)

Herschel’s comments: “…do the exercises in the order listed, so that your body will be properly warmed up and prepared for each of them. If you decide to take a break between your weight work and basketball work—rather than going directly to the courts after you lifting—make sure that you restretch before you begin to play, to get properly warmed up… ”

WEEK ONE: Monday, Friday—Morning Session

Warm-ups: 20 jumping jacks. Run in place for 4 minutes.

Stretching: Perform each of the 7 basic stretches once—hold twice for 30 seconds each.

Jogging: 8 minutes.

Straight punch—20 per arm
Groin strike—20 per arm
Open-hand strike to face—20 per arm
Roundhouse kick—20 per leg
Front snap kick to the midsection—20 per leg
Front snap kick to the head—20 per leg
Sliding back kick—20 per leg
Squat thrust—25
Sideways box hop—35
Backward and forward box hop—35
Push ups: 80 total. Do as many as possible, rest, then continue until all 80 have been done. Elevate your feet at least 8 inches.

Sit-ups: 100 total. Try to do these as sets of 50

Stretching: Hold each stretch twice for 30 seconds.

Monday, Friday—Afternoon Session

Warm-ups: 20 jumping jacks. Run in place for 4 minutes.

Stretching: Hold each stretch twice for 30 seconds.

Jogging: 4 minutes.

Weight training:
Power pull—1 x 10 warm-up, 2 x 10 target weight
Squat—1 x 10 warm-up, 2 x 10 target weight
Bench press—1 x 10 warm-up, 2 x 10 target weight
Close-grip bench press—1 x 10 warm-up, 2 x 10 target weight
Bent-forward row—1 x 10 warm-up, 2 x 10 target weight
Crunch—65 (break into sets if necessary)
Twisting sit-up—60 (break into sets if necessary)
Basketball: 20 minutes.

Stretching: Hold each stretch twice for 30 seconds.


Wednesday’s workouts should be identical to those of Monday and Friday except for the weight work in the afternoons. Follow this program on Wednesday for your lifting:

Weight training:
Lunge—1 x 10 warm-up, 2 x 10 target weight
Chin—3 x 10
Curl—1 x 10 warm-up, 2 x 10 target weight
Triceps press—1 x 10 warm-up, 2 x 10 target weight
Weighted sit-up—2 x 15
Leg raise—50
Tuesday, Saturday—Morning Session

Warm-ups: 20 jumping jacks. Run in place for 4 minutes.

Stretching: 7 basic stretches, plus 2 advanced stretches—hold twice for 30 seconds. Do at least 2 advanced stretches at the beginning of each workout from now on.

Jogging: 3 minutes.

Sprinting: 2 x 880-yard strides (quarter to half speed). One 440-yard stride (half speed).

Hill running: 3 x 40-yard strides (half speed).

Dumbbell runs: 2 x 30-yard strides. Make sure to use light dumbbells for this and concentrate on arm position as you run.

Rope skipping: 10 minutes.

Stretching: Hold each stretch twice for 30 seconds.

Tuesday, Saturday—Afternoon Session

Warm-ups: 20 jumping jacks. Run in place for 4 minutes.

Stretching: Hold each stretch twice for 30 seconds.

Straight punch—20 per arm
Groin strike—20 per arm
Open-hand strike to face—20 per arm
Roundhouse kick—20 per leg
Front snap kick to the midsection—20 per leg
Front snap kick to the head—20 per leg
Sliding back kick—20 per leg
Basketball: 30 minutes.

Water work:
Run in water—6 minutes
Water karate (kicks and punches)—6 minutes
Modified breast stroke—6 minutes
Power clap and other shoulder and arm work—6 minutes
Stretching: Hold each stretch twice for 30 seconds.


Morning and afternoon workouts should be identical to those of Tuesday and Saturday except for the sprinting portion of the morning session. On Thursday mornings substitute the tire pull for hill running. On this first week run 3 x 50-yard strides at half-speed, pulling a tire with 12 to 15 pounds inside it. Then, rather than dumbbell sprints, wear a weighted vest and run 2 x 200-yard strides at half to three-quarter speed.