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Ready to Roll? Bumping and Bouncing with BubbleBall

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Lugging a giant bubble ball about a quarter of my weight on my shoulder, I scurried across the field while dribbling a soccer ball. Out of the corner of my eyes, I saw my opponent, Jason, darting towards me. Upon contact, I lost my balance and rolled, flipped over, and bounced off the wall.

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If this were any other sport, I would have been seriously injured. Luckily, this was Bubble Soccer, a new sport that is gaining popularity across the country.

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Organized by BubbleBall Inc, a New York City-based start-up that distributes inflatable bubble suits nationwide, Bubble Soccer shares the same objective as that of classic soccer with one major difference. BubbleBallers wear protective, bouncy bubble suits that allow them to flip, bounce, and bump into each other without incurring any major injuries.

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My friends and I had the opportunity to try Bubble Soccer last Saturday. We gathered at the indoor, air-conditioned soccer field at Chelsea Piers, thankful that we did not have to sweat under the sun on a grass turf outside. After Mahdad Taheri, the founder and CEO of BubbleBall, explained to us the rules of the game, we eagerly slid into the core of the ball, put on the shoulder straps, and were ready to roll.

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With the blow of a whistle, all eight players dived for the soccer ball in the center of the field. For the duration of the game, we were like merciless puffer fish as we lunged toward other players in an attempt to make them roll upside down or bounce off the wall.

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While the opening at the top and bottom of the bubble ball allowed for easy breathing and air circulation, everyone was drenched in sweat by the end of the game. Regardless, we all had a blast with Bubble Soccer, the best cure for our World Cup withdrawal. If soccer is not a sport of your choice, you can also play Bubble Baseball, Sumo Smash, Royal Rumble (wrestling), or pretty much any game that involves some form of physical contact.

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Personally, the bubble ball was a bit too heavy for me to navigate without losing my balance. Being small certainly didn't help when my guy friends bumped and knocked me over. I was just glad that I didn't get flattened like a pancake, thanks to the BubbleBall!

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Photo courtesy of Elizabeth Ornitz