Bubble soccer is a serious (and seriously fun) workout, even if you laugh more than you score.

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I COULDN’T stop laughing.

I laughed when I got knocked over, which happened a lot, and made it harder to get back up.

I laughed when my friends fell over, which sometimes resulted in me getting knocked over, again.

Seattle Bubble Soccer

bubblesoccerseattle.us

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I was playing bubble soccer, and I also must mention I was getting the workout of my life.

Someone told me to look into bubble soccer. My internet search led me to Seattle Bubble Soccer. Owner Chris Calbero is working on starting a league; in the meantime, he does private events and offered to demonstrate a 30-minute bubble session. We were so in.

I met him at Walt Hundley Playfield in West Seattle. Chris showed us the bubbles, and told us we would play four five-minute quarters, which seemed short. I learned five-minute quarters can feel like a lifetime when running around (and falling over) in a plastic bubble that weighs roughly 25 pounds.

In addition to being heavy, the bubbles come down to your thighs and hinder your stride. They also rise above your head, so you breathe bubble smell. The only way to see clearly is to bend over, let the bubble rest on your butt and peek out the top. It can feel claustrophobic at the start.

But first, we had to get in and learn what we could do. In the center, there are backpack-style straps and handles. We got the bubbles on and practiced hitting each other. You can brace yourself so you don’t fall over, and I immediately realized my core would get an intense workout. My friend Jenny and I practiced somersaults, which was totally disorienting upside-down, and super fun.

Jenny and I made up Team Red. When I squinted through the bubble, I could sort of see her. My friends Natalie and Olivia (they’re back!) were Team Yellow. Chris was our umpire. We used roughly one-quarter of a soccer field.

Chris blew the whistle, and we waddled off.

Both teams quickly took on the strategy of knocking over the other team as much as possible. If you are ready, you can brace yourself, but if you’re running and/or distracted by the soccer ball and/or don’t see it coming, you’ll fall. Falling doesn’t hurt, but it’s hard to get up wearing a 25-pound bubble. Also, you might be laughing hysterically.

Chris said his rule of thumb is to never hit someone from behind, but none of us followed that rule. I tried to pay attention to Jenny on the field and kick to her, but I spent most of my time looking around to make sure no one was trying to ram me. It worked only half the time.

I was panting inside my bubble. My legs were burning, and I was sweating like crazy. Has it been five minutes yet?

Kicking accurately is key to scoring in soccer, which Team Red struggled to execute. Also, if you kicked hard, and your teammate was incapacitated, the ball often went to the opposing team or rolled out of bounds. Usually, the latter. Thank goodness for Chris, who was not wearing a bubble.

By the end, we were tied 1-1, completely exhausted and dripping sweat. All of us proclaimed it the most fun ever. We were bubble converts, dreaming up ways to get bubbles for parties and team-building.

Chris said you don’t have to be in great shape to play, which I suppose is true if you don’t aggressively chase down opponents and slam into them the entire time. But really, it’s the only way to roll when wearing a bubble.