Bossaball: An Extreme, High-Flying New Sport
Volleyball meets gymnastics. Throw in a little soccer and capoeira, and what do you get? You get a game played on a big air mattress with trampolines and a net. You get high-flying action, acrobatic shots, spiking, diving and kicking. You get bossaball.
Invented by Belgian, Filip Eyckmans, bossaball is like any other sport in that you have to see or play it to truly get the rules and flow. However it is unlike many other sports in its acrobatic nature and showmanship. The set-up of the court--a big inflatable surface with trampolines on either side of a volleyball net--makes for gravity-defying play and allows players to throw their bodies up, sideways and around without too much risk of serious injury.
The game is played between two teams of either four or five players, and the object is to ground the ball on the opponent's side of the net. There are two ways players can do this--volley touch (hands or forearms as in volleyball) and soccer touch (feet as in soccer)--and points are different for each. For a volley touch, 1 point is awarded when the ball hits the opponent's playing area and 3 when it is played directly in the opponent's trampoline area. The soccer touch adds 2 points to each score (so 3 and 5 points depending on where the ball is played).
A maximum of 5 touches is allowed per team and the safety zone of the court is out of bounds. There is also a free zone around the trampolines in which the ball is allowed to bounce or roll. If it comes to a stop there, the opposing team is awarded points. The first team to score 25 points wins the set and three sets are played in a match (best two out of three is the match winner).
Bossaball is not just a new sport, it's a new sort of show. The term "bossa" is a Portuguese term for "flair," as in the Bossa Nova, and music is a big part of the game. The official of a bossaball game is called the "samba referee," and serves as both an official and Master of Ceremonies, with such equipment as a whistle, microphone, music instruments and a DJ set.
If you're interested in watching a match or playing, you'll either need to book a plane ticket or check out some videos online. The sport's events take place mainly in Europe. It hasn't quite picked up popularity in the USA, but there have been past events in Mexico. For more information, check out the Official Bossaball Site.
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