I guess you could call me sort of an active person, and over the years I have tried out quite many different sporty activities. Some of them are a little bit extreme, like surfing from tree to tree or wakeboarding. Some of them are fairly normal, as kayaking, badminton, volleyball, Finnish baseball (yes, we have our own version), rollerblading, snowboarding and so much more. This year I’ve even been trying such activities that I would never ever have thought to experience, such as ballet and laser tag, just to give you a couple of examples. Especially the latest one was quite interesting, I need to tell you a little bit more about it later.
One sport is, and always has been, number one to me. That would be football. And by football I mean the real and only football, some might call it soccer. I’ve played football nearly all my life, since I started walking, and even if I’m now over 30 years old, I still keep running after a ball at least twice a week. I just feel running without a ball is a little bit silly, or what do you think?
Today every single normal sport seems to have their own weird and funny extreme version. And so does football. Last weekend there was a bubble soccer tournament in the nearby town, so of course I had to gather a team and go to check out what is this silly sport about.
Are you wondering what the heck is bubble soccer? Well, so was I.
Bubble soccer, or bubble football, is quite similar to normal football. Except it’s not, they have almost nothing in common! In a bubble soccer match each team has four players on the pitch at the same time. There are no goalies. Oh yeah, one important fact; each player has to wear this huge plastic bubble that holds every single limb inside it except legs. Including head and arms. There is sort of a hollow vessel inside the bubble where the player dives into. Inside the vessel there are straps that you wear like a backpack.
There are not many rules in bubble soccer. Tackling is not only allowed but a must, except from behind. Scoring goals is fun, but bumping into other players, preferably the ones from the opposition, is much more fun.
This is how the kickoff happens: the players of both teams are standing in a row at their own end, and the ball is in the middle. When you hear the whistle, you are allowed to run. If you can with your bubble.
During the very first games the players actually tried reaching the ball. After a couple of matches they all realized they should change their tactics. In the afternoon, once hearing the whistle, everyone just ran directly against the other players, without minding the ball at all. The ball wasn’t the target anymore, the new target was the first person from the opposition you were able to bump into, as you can see from the video below. This video is taken by my colleague, the sport journalist Eetu Setänen from the local newspaper, Länsi-Suomi.
Did you notice what happened to the player who was the first one actually getting the ball?
Forget absolutely everything you have ever learned about soccer. Forget the skillful ball handling, forget all the fancy tricks, as you wouldn’t be able to do that inside the 11 kilogram plastic bubble anyway. Just concentrate on having fun, powerful bumps and flying and rolling around the football field. I can warmly recommend this activity to anyone, if you ever have a chance. Even for the ones who don’t normally much care about normal soccer, I can guarantee this is great fun even for you!