By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN
BG Independent News
They are like human bumper cars. But rather than rubber bumpers, they are protected by giant plastic bubbles that surround their bodies from the knees up.
The Bowling Green Parks and Recreation Department has human-size plastic bubbles for adults interested in trying out the non-traditional sport of “bubble soccer.”
The community center recently hosted a game of bubble soccer for those interested in playing a sport from inside a bubble.
The bubbles stay on by the player holding handles at chest height.
“It’s almost like a backpack you strap on,” said Kristin Otley, director of the city parks and recreation department. The players’ legs are free to run or kick – unconstrained by the bubble.
“So your legs are running around outside the bubble,” explained Ivan Kovacevic, city recreation coordinator.
The plastic bubbles pay off during some of the more physical plays.
“Some of the hits people take are pretty powerful hits,” Kovacevic said. “But the hits don’t hurt.”
However, getting back on their feet can be a struggle for bowled over players.
“It’s like being a turtle on its back,” Kovacevic said. “It’s awkward at first.”
The protective bubbles do allow competitors to try plays they otherwise might not be brave enough to attempt, especially on an indoor court. Players dive to defend the goal, or throw themselves onto their sides to block a ball – completely cushioned with their bumper bubbles, he said.
In addition to being fun, bumper soccer is also great exercise, Otley and Kovacevic agreed.
“It’s a fantastic workout. You’re getting a really good workout as you are having fun,” Otley said.
“It’s definitely a really good workout,” Kovacevic said.
The parks and recreation department is hoping that the bubble soccer can become a regular sport offered at the community center, either for drop-in players, a league or special events.
“I’m hoping to see if we can make it into some type of reoccurring program,” Kovacevic said.
“We’re really trying to get some type of a league for them,” Otley said.
Anyone interested in playing bubble soccer may contact Kovacevic 419-354-6224 or firstname.lastname@example.org.