A warm spring afternoon on the Wade King Student Recreation Center soccer fields was consumed with the thunderous cheer of over 200 spectators and players as participants stepped into their large bubble suits and rolled into battle.
These funny-looking suits are the uniform for the unique sport of KnockerBall, a sport that incorporates elements of soccer into a full-contact sport.
The Ark, a student-led youth group, hosted the tournament in partnership with the Rec Center Saturday, April 9. Nine women’s and 12 men’s teams faced off in their own separate divisions in 5-on-5 games.
Teams Opposite Day Losers and Meatballs won the women’s and men’s tournaments, and were given Intramural Champion t-shirts donated by the Rec Center.
A game of KnockerBall lasts only eight minutes, but that is more than enough time for the participants to wreak havoc. Players found they were just as likely to collide with a teammate as they were an opponent.
“Eight minutes doesn’t seem like a long time for a game, but it is a lot harder than it sounds,” junior Ben Piehler said.
Other players shared similar sentiments.
“As the game went on, the ball got heavier because I got tired and exhausted, but it was really fun,” senior Chris McKinnon said.
Although KnockerBall resembles soccer the game plays very differently, alumni Hannah Bauer said.
“Everyone likes watching somebody hit each other.”
Senior Josh Lease
“You can’t dribble the ball at all, so you just keep running. If you hit it once, you pretty much hit it down the field, and you just wait for it to come back again,” Bauer said.
Bauer’s team, Class on Grass, made it to the women’s finals.
Even with only three points needed to win a game, students appeared to be focusing on taking each other out. More often than not, games would go into sudden death, where one player from each team squared off to score one point; Piehler won his team’s first game in this way.
“It was just me and the other guy pounding each other back and forth until we eventually got too tired to run,” Piehler said.
Even those not participating in the games enjoyed themselves as laughter erupted throughout the day while players were falling and rolling all over the field.
“It just seems like a fun sport that everyone likes to watch. Everyone likes watching somebody hit each other,” senior and tournament organizer Josh Lease said.
The Rec Center Intramurals staff plans on organizing their own tournaments and was happy to lend the equipment out to The Ark as a way of measuring interest in KnockerBall.
Senior Conor Gorman, intramurals supervisor, was pleasantly surprised with the turnout for the event.
“It was great to see people get involved with intramural sports,” Gorman said. “Expect at least one more tournament before the end of the quarter.”
If students would like to sign-up for the upcoming KnockerBall tournament, they can contact the Rec Center for more information.