Entertainment & Events

57th Annual Over-The-Line Tournament: San Diego’s Rowdiest Tradition

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Be a part of one of San Diego’s oldest and rowdiest traditions. Founded in 1953, the “OMBAC World Championship Over-The-Line Tournament” is expected to attract 1,200 teams and 50,000 attendants to Fiesta Island to participate in this hybrid party-sporting event over the next two weekends (July 10, 11, 17 & 18).

Never heard of the sport?

Over-The-Line (OTL) is a form of softball played with three-person teams on a field comprised of a triangular space butted up against a long rectangle field called “fair territory.” The bounder shared by the triangle and rectangle is “the line.” Teammates pitch a foamy orange ball from anywhere in front of the line to their hitter who attempts to hit the ball into the fair territory (behind the line) without hitting the ball out of bounds or into the hands of his opponent catchers. There are official rules that outline hits, home runs, outs and scorekeeping for the Over-The-Line virgins. What newbies really need to know is that this isn’t Little League softball.

Fiesta Island

San Diego’s spin on the sport- just add a lot of alcohol and very little clothes on a sandy beach. Teams adopt creative and sometimes downright explicit names you aren’t likely to come up with while sober. With only one access road onto Fiesta Island and a special alcohol permit, OTL quickly turns into a huge self-contained party, complete with alcohol bartered for boobs. Participants start playing and pounding back beers as early as 7:30am, the tournament’s official start time. Crowds dissipate and games end nearing dusk but resume bright and early the next morning to do it all over again. If you’re looking to drink, check out the designated drinking areas or risk being fined.

Still, OMBAC maintains that “OTL is more than “beer, babes and bats on the beach,” and it’s true: proceeds collected from team registrations go right back to Old Mission Beach Athletic Club, which supports a variety of year-round community sports and charitable programs.

Regardless of whether you play OTL or have never heard of it, a visit to Fiesta Island this weekend or next is a must. If not to witness your first-ever Over-The-Line tournament, or watch bikini-clad beauties strut their stuff in the hopes of being crowned this year’s Miss Emerson, then do it to be a part of what might just be San Diego’s most outrageous tradition. Expect to have a good time at this event. The “official” drink of OMBAC’s Over-The-Line?  Rum and Coke.

Enough said.

Event details: OMBAC Over-The-Line, July 10, 11, 17 and 18; 7:30am-dusk. Limited parking. Free buses to and from Fiesta Island. No pets, children or bottles permitted.

Photos from Howard N2GOT via Flickr and Carolyn C via Yelp


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