Boblefutbol highlights Global Games

AISO hosts fun-filled, action-packed night at KFSC

By Nick DeMaagd | 10/2/14 7:52am

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GVL/Kevin Sielaff 2014 Global Games


Raucous cheers and exotic smells filled the Kelly Family Sports Center on Wednesday night as international and American students came together to celebrate culture and sports during the second annual Global Games at Grand Valley State University.

Event coordinator Rodney Avutia said the games were started as a way to bridge the cultural gap between the international and American students on campus.

“We wanted to get GV students to see the interaction of cultures through the sports that we’re exposed to,” Avutia said. “Students actually taking part gain new perspectives through participation.”

The Global Games were hosted this year by the Association of International Students' Organizations in conjunction with a few other clubs on campus. The Quidditch Club, Chess Club, Capoeira Mandinga Club, and Cricket Club also took part in this year’s games, spending time teaching students how to play and how their club practices. Ram Ravikumar, a professional cricket player also took part in the event, demonstrating to students how to play cricket.

Among the favorite games of the night, Boblefutbol (or bubble soccer) was a huge hit. The sport first started as a trend in Germany where each player is enveloped by an inflatable balloon that covers all but their legs. The rules of the game are simple, assault your opponents with body slams and score if you can.

“It’s like demolition derby in a bubble,” Avutia said.

Attendees also had the opportunity to play tchoukball or spikeball. Originating from Italy, tchoukball combines volleyball and soccer and makes for a fast paced game. Director of International students and scholars, Kate Stoetzner said that spikeball was a new addition this year with bubble futbol.

“It’s a form of volleyball mostly adapted from beach volleyball," Stoetzner said. “Teams have to bounce a ball off of their opponents small round net which resembles a miniature trampoline in order to score.”

Events like the Global Games are one of a kind and happen only once a year. The successful turnout can be attributed to the feedback from attendees last year and an energetic promotional campaign by International Student Integration Coordinator Libby Jawish.

“We ran more ads this year and mentioned it at freshmen orientation, especially for international students,” Jawish said.

The Global Games weren’t just for international and American students though, ESL students were also invited to attend and share their culture with others.

“Sports are a quick way for people to make friends,” Jawish said. “Playing on a team helps you meet people and become friends.”

A board panel was also held by students who were influenced by the impact of the World Cup. With soccer being a universal sport, the students shared their personal experiences about the World Cup and how it helped them start playing soccer and meeting others.

For some attendees this year, this was their first international experience.

“The Global Games have been very well received,” Stoetzner said. “We hope it will start to help break down barriers between cultures.”

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