By Matt Bennett
Baton Rouge is a town that loves its football, but another sports popularity has begun to inflate in the Capital City.
A recreational sport, fast paced like soccer but with actual contact, much like a showdown between two SEC foes. Baton Rouge, meet Knockerball – A Game Like You’ve Never Seen Before.
At first glance, Knockerball appears fit for an alternative sport time slot on ESPN2. You know, one of those games you never knew existed but once you find out it does. But once you realize that this isn’t some goofy niche intramural, you’ll be dying to give it a try – that much we can promise you. Think soccer, football and America’s Funniest Home Videos all rolled together and you’re on the right track; though it’s something you really need to see in action to get the appeal.
“I’m always trying to think outside of the box,” says Baton Rouge Knockerball organizer, Christopher Henry. “I always like doing different things.”
This recreational sport definitely looks and feels different. For starters, players wear 19 to 28 pound inflatable knockerballs, which cover their entire bodies above the waist. Basically, participants play soccer, but run into each other full speed like football. And, the best part, the inflatable body armor prevents a punishing hit from hurting even in the slightest. Instead, you’ll get right up laughing and ready for more.
“It’s the safest contact sport you’ll ever see or play,” says Henry. “Since I have been doing it, no one’s gotten hurt.”
While still new to the Baton Rouge area, Knockerball has enjoyed a lot of popularity, particularly in states like California and Florida where teams compete in competitive leagues. The term “Knockerball” is actually the name of the company that makes the inflatable “zorbs” in the U.S. The sport, which may have originated in the UK, was widely known as Zorb Football before making it here in 2014. Zorbs are also used in zorb sumo and larger models are used in giant games of bowling.
Back in Baton Rouge, Henry is planning to start a Knockerball league one day. But for now he’s easing into things with a more fun, laid back approach.
“When you put rules on it people don’t like it,” explains Henry. “From what I’ve noticed, doing this business, more people like running into each other instead of playing the soccer.”
Henry has of the sport being played at business retreats, and bachelor or birthday parties. Because it’s safe to knock your fellow players around, people of all ages can play with each other.
“Its perfect, I have an idea right now for a knock down your principal fundraiser,” says Henry. “Everyone gets tired of doing the same thing and in Baton Rouge. It’s time for something new.”
If you love trying new things and enjoy being active, you’ll love Knockerball. Fast paced, contact heavy and often times hilarious, you and your spouse, coworkers, friends or whoever will have a great time playing. Baton Rouge, become a part of the KB Nation and “Get in the ball!”
Connect on Facebook with Knockerball Baton Rouge and follow the game on Instagram @knockerballBR