GVSU to host seventh Global Games

International sports kick off NIRSA week

By Alex Eisen | 2/21/16 11:09pm

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GVL/Kevin Sielaff 2014 Global Games


Soccer often gets a bad rap for being a boring, slow paced sport. To those cynics that can’t tolerate the traditional game, perhaps getting strapped inside an inflated hamster ball can liven things up a bit.

Boblefutbol, often called bubble soccer, makes it return to Grand Valley State to headline the seventh edition of the Global Games, which gets the honor of kicking off National Intramural and Recreational Sports Association (NIRSA) week.

“Each offering seems to get better and better,” said Kate Stoetzner, director of international student and scholar services. “Previous participants are enthusiastic about learning about games and sports from around the world while making new friends.”

The event, held at Kelly Family Sports Center on Feb. 22 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. and at the Fieldhouse pool for Aqua Zumba from 9 p.m. to 10 p.m., gives international students an opportunity to engage the GVSU community with games from their home countries.

“Global Games will be a fabulous experience for all GVSU students; both to try new games from around the world and also to interact with some of the 434 international students on our campus,” Stoetzner said.

In a collaboration effort, the Padnos International Center and the International Students’ Organization will host the event with support from Campus Recreation, the IM department, various club sports, student senate and many other student organizations.

The main attraction in recent editions has been Boblefutbol, and understandably so. There is something undeniably captivating about colossal bubble-on-bubble collisions.

The trendy sport that first caught on in Germany has had a significant impact on the Global Games since being introduced to GVSU in the fall of 2014, said Mackenzie Lucius, who has been assisting with the operations and programming aspects for the event.

“Boblefutbol’s popularity is a significant piece to Global Games success,” he said. “A majority of the participants attend for Boblefutbol, but end up exploring, engaging and having fun with other activities.”

Some of those other games being offered will be table tennis, African dancing, sepak takraw, cricket and tchoukball.

Table tennis is perhaps the most recognizable sport of the bunch to Americans, whereas African dancing will give those who are less competitive in nature an alternative to partake in – as does Aqua Zumba.

“Games such as sepak takraw, from primarily Southeast Asia, will test a participant’s skill in a sort of kick volleyball contest,” Stoetzner said. “Cricket, appreciated worldwide, will be a challenge for anyone that thinks it is the same as baseball or softball.”

Additionally, tchoukball (or spikeball) combines aspects of volleyball, handball and squash as players try to bounce the ball off their opponent’s small, round net that resembles a miniature trampoline in an attempt to score.

Fencing and rugby will also be available as new additions, while quidditch had to be dropped this semester.

International students, in addition to the GVSU clubs of table tennis, women’s rugby, fencing, cricket and possibly boxing, will be instructing the action and readily available to provide a better understanding of the rules of the games, and make for a more memorable experience.

“Global Games is a great way for students to learn about other cultures, engage with their peers and to have some fun,” Lucius said.

The Global Games, and all events for NIRSA week, are free with a GVSU ID.

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