This article was originally published at ThriveSports.com. The publication contributed the article to LiveScience's Expert Voices: Op-Ed & Insights.
While the NFL is hard at work trying to grow its own popularity in Europe, some Americans in Chicago have adopted a young European sport called bubble soccer.
Germans call it Loopyball (my favorite) while other countries in Europe call it bubble football.
It started out as a joke by Henrick Elvestad and Johan Gold, hosts of the Norwegian comedy sports show “Golden Goal.” They posted the video of them playing on YouTube and its popularity spread across Europe like warm Nutella. Mmm.
The game itself is a cross between soccer (most of you know what soccer is so I’ll skip ahead) and sorbing which is a sport in which an individual rolls down the side of a hill or sometimes a level surface in a giant plastic orb. The plastic orb surrounding the player is similar in construction but differs where these allow the player’s legs to run around freely or essentially wear the orb. The objective of the game is to score against your opponent’s net and knock each other down while you try. You could argue that this is one of those games where defense is more fun.
In the video above, the game starts much like a competitive game of dodgeball. When they hear the whistle, players fearlessly rush in to the center to find and kick a soccer ball through their about-to-be sweaty bubble. The increasing amount of sweat will eventually make visibility an ongoing struggle because the exercise is real and it is most definitely can be a sport.
Players’ hands are fixed inside the bubble so players have to maintain balance using just their legs. Mobility is sacrificed in this game but the giant orbs have also leveled the playing field for players of different sizes. Leaping ability and daily stress levels are the two most relevant variables.
Finally, in regards to safety, I have the belief that it is the coach and players sitting on the bench who are in the greatest danger. It might take a few rotations for a player’s feet to find ground so it becomes somewhat of a #wreckingball.
Maybe we got it all wrong with those helmets and pads.
Sources: The Boston Globe, odditycentral.com
The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the publisher. This version of the article was originally published on LiveScience.