Do you wish to discover something new? Here’s a new activity that comes from Northern Europe. It is a new sport with a ball, which comes into fashion. Its name is bubble football, which can be described as a confrontation of players equipped with transparent protective bubbles. Shock is certainly guaranteed, but without serious injuries. We know many variations of the most played game in the world. There are street football, indoor football (which is played indoors or outside on golf, handball or basketball court), beach soccer (which is played on sand beach) or the wheelchair football (played by athletes with disabilities). In addition, there is another sport derived from football and is increasingly becoming a new trend: bubble football. Players can jump around safely This team sport, which is played indoors, comes in several forms: with eleven players (just like football in its classic version), with seven, five, or even two people. The principle is simple. Players play in a big bubble of clear air that envelops them from head to knee. The feet are, of course, free to run, but it is not always easy. The players can also propel themselves against each other. The objective is no different either. It is always important to score the maximum number of goals. Players can collide and fall to the ground without a problem, since there is no direct contact with the opponent. The result is sometimes spectacular, without the big risks of injuries. Some do not hesitate to let go the shoulder shots, sending enemies “flying”. Sometimes it looks like a giant bowling. Coming from Norway, bubble football is now increasingly popular in other countries. A demonstration of this hilarious sport was recently conducted in Italy with a few volunteers who tried their luck and physical abilities. Here is the story of one of them. “Bubble football is the new sport full of fun. It is coming from the North of Europe. We are protected with an air-cushioned plastic balloon and we can be kicked and pushed, until the little ball tumbles into the goal.” Our volunteer practiced every day for the local championship organized in his town. The most important rule is different from regular football: “You can punish your opponent by pushing him, even without the ball. My teammates looked at me seriously and then began to smile. Common now, let’s have fun.” He leaned forward slightly so he can talk through the top opening of his transparent, air-filled bubble. I did the same, in order to understand him. Packaged in our round plastic shell, we are acoustically quite isolated from each other. That is not the only difficulty. We felt how hard is to be in those bubbles. Our backs suffered the most. As a backpack, we have about ten kilograms of belted bubble, thanks to two loops in the interior of the sphere. I am in the center of the ball in a narrow tube that is compressed by a lot of air. The shell is made of a plastic with the unwieldy name “thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU)”. Only the legs are free, because with those the football should be played.
My first contact with the ball was very weird. As a trained footballer, I can stop the balls and usually play with it. With the bubble around the upper body, which affects the coordination of the relevant body parts, the basic exercise of the football game becomes very difficult. In addition, the air is warm and stuffy in this sort of cocoon. The temperature of the already heated air in the indoor arena rises even further. After a few moments, the sweaty skin sticks to the plastic, which gives you a strange feeling. “However, the thick air cover also has its practical side,” said Lena Bergen from Danish Bubble Football Federation (DBF). “Apart from the giant muscle pain the next day because of the load on the shoulders, head and upper body, these parts of the body are super protected”. The injury rate is not higher than in football. To avoid accidents, body bumping is not accepted from behind, “because in attacks from behind the body voltage is not present,” Lena told me. She and her chief brought this sport from Norway to the rest of the Europe.
After the two found that the so-called fun sport did not exist in Denmark, they founded the DBF and organized the local championship this spring. When I learned that the bumpers could push the opponent so he had “two yards of flying” before touching the ground again, I claw my hands at chest level somewhat closer to two handholds of the balloon and testing the game could begin. I kicked the first ball I’ve got very quickly, in order not to be pushed by others. In the second try, I ran with the ball as far as I could. After that, I cracked back, but fell softly. Getting up was difficult. The simplest variant is to roll on your knees, lift with the body against the bubble and straighten up again. After a bit of training, you can also lie on your back and then get back on your feet. However, I pushed myself back. Following the advice of my coach, I focus first on the opponent and then on the ball. My understanding of the game was initially put to a hard test. I could not hide, however, that I felt a great fun. The grotesque players who were inside the air bubbles looked so funny that I had to smile involuntarily every now and then. Even if the result was in the background next to the fun factor, there were also good shots at the goals. The most spectacular success of the opposing team was when the ball was played up and ended up in the bubble of a player who run unmolested towards our gate. The ball stopped in front of his face, when the player leaned it forward and dropped the ball to casually roll over the goal line. After scoring the goal, the joy can be difficult to divide within thick bubbles. Nevertheless, this game should not be missed. Put your bubble and enjoy the beautiful game!