Bubble Football – An Ab-zorb-ing Experience

Zorb Football. So simple, yet so brilliant. A football match, except the only rule is that essentially there are no rules. You are inside a giant inflatable ball, and you have to score more goals than the opposition. Seems simple right?

Initially, I was sceptical about putting my body inside a large bubble of plastic. You slide your arms in like you are putting on a rucksack, and you slip the bubble up over your head like a jumper. You then hold onto handles inside for support. My eyes were barely able to see out of the gap above, and everything became so much heavier.

Then, before I even had time to figure out where I was, I found myself rolling on the floor. To my surprise, it wasn’t an opposition team member who had knocked me over. Oh no – it was one of my own teammates!  To put it bluntly, it basically became a free for all where anyone can run into anyone and knock them off their feet. The game of football itself became second priority to who can knock each over the hardest, and you had to be on your toes at all times to avoid your next big fall.

The first thing I noticed was the distinct difference in spatial awareness – or lack of it. Suddenly my turning circle was doubled. Everything gets in the way and the impact of anything hitting you feels like you’ve been hit by a bus. Luckily, due to the cushion of the bubble it doesn’t hurt at all, so as you fly through the air and crash to the floor, it feels as if you’ve fallen onto a cloud. This mixed with the fact that every breath you take adds a little more mist to the bubble – thus impairing your vision further – makes for a chaotic session.

The game begins with everyone charging towards the ball, which is placed in the middle. Whoever doesn’t hit the hardest gets blasted half-way across the pitch. This in turn creates a path similar to the Red Sea parting for Moses, where the remaining players can (attempt to) dribble the ball out around the falling bodies and try to score. My 7-a-side team and I played two matches of first to 6 goals, which went as anarchic as you could imagine.

I lost count of how many times I ended up rolling around on the floor. Although, it wasn’t just myself taking falls – watching the way some of my teammates were getting hit was nothing short of wince-worthy. Eventually, in what felt like a lifetime, the first match was over. It was actually 15 minutes, so we had 45 minutes. Despite the fact I was definitely having fun, I cherished the short break I got to cool off. The adrenaline of crashing into someone was enough to keep me going.

Once the second match was over, we moved on to a party game type session. Bulldog was the chosen game. A once simple and popular game played with friends in the school playground. Bulldog was already savage enough, let alone putting everyone inside a giant cylinder and a free reign to do whatever you wanted! I lasted longer than I expected and got to the final four, before meeting my inevitable end, which was a huge bump and then once again seeing the familiar sight of the ground. Hello floor my old friend.

And… rest. An hour had passed, and finally I could pull off the bubble and feel my normal surroundings again. It was an hour of fun, adrenaline rushes, lots of rolling around, and anxiety about where the next hit was coming from!

I have taken part in my fair share of football matches, both at 11-a-side and 7-a-side. I have been involved in tough games and seen many things that have been out of the ordinary. I’ve been knocked out and I’ve seen parents fight on the touchline; but I safely say that I have never seen anything quite like eight giant bubbles running about, smashing into each other and flying all over the place. All in all, Zorb Football was certainly worth the £20 fee to play it, although I’m still a little undecided as to whether I’d ever want to put my nerves and body through it again!!

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