San Francisco Giant outfielder Barry Bonds learned about the Zen of Nerf as a member of the Pittsburgh Pirates from 1986 to 1992. Bonds brought Nerf basketball into the Giants' clubhouse and staged an intrasquad tournament to lighten the atmosphere. As a Pirate, Bonds once reached the final of the Nerf Final Four. "To sit around and think about the ball game all day, that's too much trauma," Bonds recently told a Bay Area reporter.
Nerfs have even made it to the halls of the U.S. House of Representatives. In January a motivational company staged a Nerf shoot-out among members of the House Budget Committee to help them relax before the 104th session of Congress.
With the creation of recent Nerf products, life strikingly imitates make-believe. Modern Nerfs include shoot-'em-up toys such as Master Blaster, Ballzooka and Arrowstorm. These toy weapons helped inspire the nonlethal armaments that U.S. troops carried in Somalia in 1992.
Still, the Nerf is best known for what it has given our national pastimes. In the past 25 years more than 100 million Nerf toys have been sold, helping to make sports such as football and soccer easier on kids and furniture alike. "I didn't think the ball by itself would have such a big impact," Guyer says. "But I'm glad to hear that it's changing the world for the better."