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Bumping heads: Bumper Ball madness

By Dmitriy Kizhikin, For The Miami Student

On Friday, 11 teams competed in the intramural Bumper Ball tournament on Cook Field.

Games lasted 10 minutes and featured teams of four a side, all trying to kick a ball while clad in giant bubbles.

You can barely tell apart team members while they're playing. Players, too, have a hard time seeing, their bubbles reducing their view to an array of blurry colors.

The very nature of Bumper Ball leads to intense tackles, causing players to tumble down and then feverishly try to stand back up.

"The best part is watching people fall over," said Jennifer Lindahl, a first-year on team Quad Squad.

Like all the competitors, Lindahl had never practiced Bumper Ball, let alone spent time in a giant bubble before. Quad Squad lost in the the first round, Lindahl and her friends still had fun.

Every game looked similar - teams struggled to don their bubbles and kicked around the soccer ball, hoping to score. The bubbles seemed to level the playing field, as even the most experienced players struggled.

During one match, people were ramming into each other right and left, ricocheting off one another's bubbles upon impact. One girl flipped upside down and took 30 seconds getting back to her feet.

The same girl had possession of the ball and was rammed down once more by an opponent. This time, though, one of her teammates threw off his bubble and tackled the offender.

"He was targeting a girl," said the boy who defended her. He thought his girlfriend was being targeted.

He was thrown out of the match and banned permanently.

"That doesn't really happen often, especially because the bubbles are specifically there so that there is no pain involved," said referee Rasheek Rayat. "No one is getting hurt, it's just for fun."

The tournament continued with more chaos - teammates rolled around the field after being knocked over and, at one point, were even stacked on top of each other.

"You don't know what's happening when you get hit," commented one participant.

None of the teams had previous experience, given their inability to obtain four bubble suits, but that didn't stop them from playing their hardest during the tournament.