Viking tries bubble soccer

Mara Zenger, Talia Malchin, and Tess Preising

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As we looked on the field, we saw the enormous red and blue bubbles. No, these bubbles were not made out of soap film, but rather out of a clear PVC plastic. There was one small opening on the side of the bubble which provided enough space for almost our whole body to slide through, except our legs.

We all got into our bubbles, putting them on like a backpack. The tough polyester belts dug into our shoulders making even the simplicity of walking difficult due to the extra weight. Since walking was already a strenuous task, soccer was unfeasible. We began to play as well as we could, while having a five foot bubble strapped around us. However, the difficulties of the bubble got even worse.

Besides the fact that we were now four times bigger because of the bubbles, we could barely see. Crashing into people left and right and falling on the ground became habitual. First off, the “clear plastic” was all scratched up, and once we started breathing inside of the bubble, it all fogged up. The bubble also blocked the view of our feet. Whenever we kicked the ball, we were never sure that our kick would be a swing and a miss, or go in the complete opposite direction we intended.

All of the confusion and distraction of the bubbles made it a much more interesting game; someone got knocked over within the first 20 seconds of the game start time. Normally most people wouldn’t  enjoy getting knocked over, but given that we were playing bubble soccer, almost everyone tumbled.

Push really came to shove during the intense five on five games. We not only struggled to get the ball in the net, but also to stay on our feet for very long. Since the bubbles provided a nice cushion to fall back on, getting knocked over was not a big casualty. However, the difficulty came when trying to get back up after being knocked down. If we landed on our backs, and then tried to get up from being on our backs, we soon realized that the task was quite difficult. The players who were pushed to the ground looked like turtles on their backs, rather than soccer players. When one of us got hit, we would first see the reflected colors of the spinning bubble. Finally, the sideways legs flailing in the air as the player would generally fail to get enough force to push themselves back up. We soon realized after many failed attempts, that the best way to get up was to flip onto our stomachs and use our knees to help push ourselves up.

The next difficulty came when the soccer ball was far away and we had to run to go get it. You would think that it wouldn’t be very challenging because most of our legs were outside of the bubble, and that the bubble didn’t hinder any mobility in our knees, but that was not the case. With our arms being strapped up inside of the bubble, we could not use them to help propel ourselves forward as we ran, adding to the difficulty.

After playing soccer with the bubbles, we moved onto two other games. First we played sharks and minnows, which became very tiring, and made the bubbles even foggier because we knew that to survive we couldn’t get knocked over. Like we said, the bad part wasn’t getting knocked down… it was when we had to get back up. And if we landed on your backs, we would have to do the roll maneuver to get on our stomachs.

The favorite among the participants was a game called Last One Standing, and this was similar to sharks and minnows, but it wasn’t as tiring because it didn’t require any running. People started getting knocked over right away, and it ended with the last two in a standoff until one of them finally got knocked over.

The highlight for everyone playing was  just jumping around on the bubbles. We would also run towards each other at full speed and knock each other over, seeing who would go flying the farthest. Due to the fact that the bubbles provided us with a shield from the impact force, we were much more confident in attempting backflips, frontflips, or endlessly rolling on our sides.

Overall, bubble soccer was a great experience. Although it came with its challenges, in the end the challenges were what made it so much better. To see someone struggling to get up was so fun to watch, or to see someone fly five feet backwards after getting pummeled by someone else, that is what made this experience so great. We would recommend this to anyone who wants to have a good laugh, and isn’t afraid of getting knocked around a little.