Typically on a Wednesday afternoon at the Rec Center, the pounding of basketballs on the parquet floor are the dominant sound which ring throughout the basketball courts. However, last Wednesday was not a typical day at the Rec Center, as the dribbling of basketballs were drowned out by the giddy laughter which comes with playing the sport, “Bubble Soccer.”
Hosted by Campus Activities Board (CAB), student last Wednesday were able to take a break from their classes by getting inside a nearly 40-pound bubble to turn topsy-turvy on the basketball courts. Playing sports such as soccer and jousting inside the bubble, it was CAB’s daytime and commuter chair, junior Crystal McKoy, who organized the event and simply wanted to create a program which was different from what students usually participate.
“ I do know a lot of soccer players and they were saying that it would be a fun thing to do, so I was like, why not try to make it happen” said McKoy. “And when I looked into it, it was actually plausible so I was like, let’s do it.” While students laughed hysterically with each other as they whirled about and lost balance as their fall to the hard parquet was soften due to a giant bubble, the program was a useful event showing the benefits of a healthy lifestyle.
“Today is actually National Women’s Health and Fitness Day.” said McKoy. “And I was like, well this would be a fun event to do for this day. That is also why we have fruits and healthy snacks to go with the bubble games to promote good health.”
The program, which was located on the third basketball court, the farthest away from the main entrance quickly became the lead attraction for students who were passing by. Runners on indoor track quickly screeched to a halt to take a look below. Basketball players who were waiting for the next game on the second court, peered behind the white curtain separating the courts to watch glimpses of the bubbles as they had one eye on basketball, and the other on the students inside bubbles. Runners on the treadmills outside the basketball court who came to the court for the water fountains, took two looks to the bouncing sight before them.
Because of the limited number of bubbles, students participated in quick soccer game intervals so each student who showed up to the event could have a chance to play and move about in the bubble. And as students were first trying to acclimate inside the bubble before the first soccer games, jousting and backflips became the most prevalent sight on the court. Starting from opposing sidelines, students like medieval horsemen, would run as fast as they can until they meet in the middle. After the two individuals in the bubble meet, the winner is decided by the last man standing.
After the desire for jousting and backflips ended that Wednesday afternoon, students then took up The Beautiful Game and played multiple games of soccer to close out the event. In an instance of much staggering, stumbling and swaying, freshmen Jeremiah Smalls talked about how he felt playing such a quick-paced game in a bulky bubble.
“It harder than usual soccer” said Smalls. “It was hard to actually see the ball because it was kinda foggy in the bubble. You have to keep you balance while watching out for people are bumping into you, but it was pretty cool though.”
For the CAB event, the bubbles were provided by The Club at Oak Branch in Greensboro, and are one of only two locations in the state of North Carolina which provided such bubble activities. Leading students as a guide to get into the bubble and providing tips, Shannon O’York, the club’s Children Program Director, talked about why the bubble is not just limited to soccer as sports you can play inside the bubbles.
“…You can play bubble football where one of the people in the bubble is the football itself so everybody else on the teams are trying to block that football. That bubble when it gets hit, that’s where the down is” said O’York. “We can play bubble bowling, bubble knockout and bubble sumo as well, so there are several different sports we can play.”
Outside of the obvious bubble surrounding a player, O’York also touched on why bubble soccer is so distinct from its regular counterpart, and what she wanted the program to do for students on campus.
“You’re limited because you don’t have any hand movement. It’s all inside, you’re encased in a bubble with the handles” O’York said. “…We still do corners, we still do goal kicks. And that’s where our league comes in, where we actually do more of the base rules of soccer. Here, this is just fun for the students to play something new, something different, take a picture, post on Instagram/Facebook. ‘This is what I did today, that’s probably something no one else has done.’”