Sunday, December 23, 2001

Popular game has Ohio State roots

Boccerball inventor just wanted to have fun

The Associated Press

        DELAWARE, Ohio — A table game invented by a former Ohio State football player has attracted the attention of the Disney organization.

        Disney's FamilyFun magazine has chosen Boccerball, created by former Buckeyes defensive lineman Dave Crecelius, as one of its top 10 toys of the year.

        Mr. Crecelius, who graduated from Ohio State with a mechanical engineering degree in 1985, and his wife, Debbie, hope their game becomes as popular as Foosball and air hockey.

        Mr. Crecelius, 39, said he came up with the idea while he was in college. Players drop steel marbles down chutes onto a playing field to knock a miniature soccer ball into their opponent's goal.

        Speed and strategy are necessary to keep the ball on the opponent's side of the table. The first player to reach 10 goals wins.

        The couple began marketing the game in 1994.

        “I think I was just wanting to create something that would be fun,” he said. “It didn't start off that it was something we would manufacture.”

        That year, the couple started a company known as Let's Play. Debbie Crecelius marketed the game full time while her husband continued working at an engineering company in the Columbus suburb of Hilliard.

        The first few hundred games were made by hand in the couple's farmhouse in Delaware County.

        In 1997, the home-shopping channel QVC began selling the game, orders increased and Mr. Crecelius quit his job to devote his time to Boccerball.

        Last year, the couple joined forces with Regent Sports, a Hauppauge, N.Y.-based company that manufactures two versions of the game and sells it through Sears and Galyan's stores.

        “We know people love the game,” said Regent spokesman Ian Sandman. “The biggest hurdle is getting people to know what the game is.”

        He said the company plans to increase Boccerball marketing next year and look for more retail outlets.


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