Slip, slide, roll and jump: quirky sports people play in Mumbai

  • Pankti Mehta, Hindustan Times, Mumbai
  • Updated: Oct 04, 2014 18:53 IST

The next time you and your friends want to do something different on the weekend, go the whole hog and opt for soapy football — a ball game played on an outdoor, foam football turf filled with soapy water. You could also opt for human football, where each player is encased in a plastic zorb, leading you to comically collide and tumble about as you try to kick the ball around.

“The idea is to not only to play a game, but to have a unique experience while playing,” says Sushil Kamble, general manager of Mad Over Sports, which conducts Soapy Football at its three-month old sports facility in Dadar, which also offers turf cricket and football games. “These sports offer a twist and add an element of fun, making the experience more memorable.”

Bubble soccer
Bubble soccer is a full-fledged international sport, one that requires stamina. The game is played with two teams of five each, and regular football rules apply, except that each player is inside a plastic zorb ball, with their head and legs outside. You can’t push each other from behind, since the player cannot see you, but you can push from the front or the sides.

Bubble Soccer India, which launched in Mumbai last week, can bring the setup to a venue of your choice. The surface should be flat and have at least 40 ft x 30 ft of space. “Playing bubble soccer took me right back to my school days — it requires a lot of running around, and you bounce, fall, and everyone’s laughing through the game,” says 23-year-old management student Tanay Agarwal.

In human bowling, you sit strapped to your seat inside a metal orb as friends push you forward to

knock down pins made of cushiony material. Head to Kurla to go for a spin.

Human bowling
A super-sized version of regular bowling, this game will have you strapped inside the bowling ball, a spherical metal cage. A teammate pushes you in the direction of the six bowling pins (made of soft, cushiony material). As in regular bowling, the team that knocks down the most pins wins. Human Bowling launched at Happy Planet, Kurla, on August 2. While Happy Planet is a children’s activities centre, adults can also play here.

Each team gets three turns, and one or two people can direct the ball, while one can sit inside. The ball has a chair inside, and the person is held in place by a seatbelt and hand clasps.

“I’m not the most adventurous person, but I had a great time. It’s scary the first time you roll towards the pins, but the impact is soft. The second time around, you can roll with more confidence,” says Prekshaa Sharma, 23, a PR professional.

Where: Happy Planet, Phoenix Marketcity, LBS Road, Kurla
When: 11 am to 9.30 pm; open all days
Cost: Rs 200 per person
Call: 98330-67879

If you fancy walking a tightrope but are afraid of heights, here’s your chance. Blue Bulb, which curates and organises experiential events, has partnered with 24-year-old Samar Farooqui to offer slacklining, an international sport, for the first time in Mumbai. Farooqui, who holds a diploma in adventure tourism from New Zealand, sets up a rubber tightrope at his Worli home terrace and invites participants to test their balancing skills. He launched the service in January.

He can also bring his setup to your home or outdoors, for a 90-minute or 120-minute session. You can do this in groups or alone, with a maximum of four people per session.

“Slacklining championships are held all over the world, but hardly anyone in India has heard of the sport,” says Farooqui. “It’s fun, but also helps improve your concentration and strengthens your core.”

“I tried slacklining this week and found the experience very satisfying — the instructor sets goals for you, and it feels great when you accomplish them. He trains and pushes you to walk along the rope,

Soapy football
Started three months ago in Mumbai, soapy football is a concept Kamble and his team borrowed from Sharjah. A maximum of 16 people can play, in two teams; the game lasts an hour. Regular football ruleses apply, except that participants playy barefoot in a bouncy tub filled with slipperyery soap waterwater.

“The ‘turf ’ is outdoors and is open on all days,” says Kamble. “We recommend that boys wear shorts, and girls can wear either shorts or track pants.”

Mad Over Sports can also arrange for food, on request.

“Normal football matches are done to death, and we wanted to host a different event,” says Neha Patil, a product designer and president of the Rotaract Club of Thane Central. “As part of a Rotaract event, 15 of us played soapy football and had a great time falling, laughing, sliding.”

Where: Rooftop, Hotel Shantiidoote, Dr Ambedkar Road, Hindmata, Dadar
When: 12 noon to midnight; open all days
Cost: Rs. 3,500 per person

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