KNOXVILLE, Tenn — POW!
One moment you're running toward a lime green soccer ball. The next, you (and the other person wearing a giant, inflatable bubble) are tumbling head over heels across the grass.
Normally, getting thrown on the ground over and over again doesn't add up to an afternoon of laughs, but it's all part of the fun when playing Knockerball.
The best part? It doesn't hurt a bit.
Trust me, I ran around for an hour looking like a bi-pedal beach ball and spent more time tumbling around on the ground far more than on my feet, and I can't wait to do it again.
Now, Knoxville can give this unusual activity a try through Basherball, a locally operated Knockerball rental company.
Howard Rupprecht, Basherball's owner, was inspired to bring it to Knoxville after trying it in the Tri-Cities a year ago.
"It's something different for Knoxville. I've never seen anything like this in Knoxville," Rupprecht said. "I thought everyone would have a blast. People in Chattanooga and people in Tri-Cities say it's the best thing they ever played."
Do you want to try it out? Here's what you need to know before you climb inside the enormous, plastic personification of your personal bubble.
What is Knockerball?
A Knockerball is a single chamber inflatable sphere with inner handles and adjustable shoulder straps.
"The best explanation for Knockerball would be Go-Karts without the actual carts," Rupprecht said. "You would just be the cart yourself and bump into each other. It's a great stress reliever, great exercise so it works all the way around."
What happens when you rent?
Basherball provides the full setup of the Knockerballs (delivery, inflation and breakdown).
Depending on the party, they have a variety of games including Knocker Soccer, tag and sharks and minnows. They provide soccer nets and a soccer ball with a minimum rental of six balls.
Rupprecht said there are three size options: small, medium and large. He recommended smalls for elementary-aged kids, mediums for middle schoolers and larges for high school students and older. They will also have extra-larges in the future that will fit most adults.
Speaking from experience, Knockerball can take a lot out of you. Expect to get very sweaty and to sleep very well that night.
How do you keep yourself from getting hurt?
The Knockerballs are sized to cover from above your head to just above your knees. The shoulder straps and handles also make sure you stay in the Knockerball.
"We've actually got a referee who stays with you the entire game," Rupprecht said. "And they will monitor the entire event as it goes along so that we can keep everybody in check and make sure nobody's getting hurt off of it."
Even if you manage to land upside down, don't panic. Rupprecht said to move your legs and you'll be able to get back on your feet.
Just remember, NO jumping head to head.
How do you rent?
Rentals are available now, and there are multiple options depending on your party size and type. Call 865-824-7036 or email BasherballTN@gmail.com.