As you might have already known, Singapore’s largest ever sports festival, the Community Sports Festival, was held this past weekend at Toa Payoh Stadium/Sports Hall. Having been reliably informed that I’d get a chance to see for myself a whole other ball game I had never seen before, I decided to pop on down at take a look at the horrible hour of 9 am on a Sunday.
This new ball game? Bossaball, which can trace its origins to Belgium earlier this decade, has arrived in Singapore and Bossaball Singapore decided to be a part of the festival to try to spread the word. Not a surprise, seeing as the event attracted 7,000 participants as well as the Mayor of the Central Singapore District, Mr Zainudin Nordin, and Minister for the Environment and Water Resources, Dr Yaacob Ibrahim.
I suppose the game is best described as rojak. It’s a real mix. The playing “field”, or perhaps the right term here is “court”, makes use of a net, trampolines and inflatable cushions. In fact, a Bossaball Singapore brochure says it “combines many sports”, with beach volleyball, soccer, sepak takraw and acrobatics the main influences.
Perhaps one of the more important points is that there is no age limit as to who can play the game – the net height can be adjusted to suit the players, so children and even those getting on with their years can still take part in Bossaball games. One’s fitness level is not a concern either, nor the level of previous training, as demonstrated by a member of the VIP team when he himself took to the court for a short while to try the game out.
Bossaball Singapore’s general manager, Mohamad Saifudin, said they were targeting mainly tertiary schools, having already conducted events with Republic Polytechnic (RP) and the Singapore Management University (SMU) among others. “We hope to one day have a league or tournament,” he added.
He also said that there were two different aspects to bossaball. One of them was the ‘fun’ side of things, which is more common and which everyone who plays the game will experience, but there also is a competitive side to it which showcases the more extreme acrobatic moves.
Not dissimilar to beach volleyball, there is a points-and-set system in bossaball. There are three to five players on each team; the aim of the game is to make the ball touch the opposition’s end of the court. With a maximum of only eight times a team can come into contact with the ball – using any body part (with certain restrictions) – bossaball is also partially, to me at least, a strategic game.
I doubt that I’ve been able to paint a full picture just by describing the game from what I saw and what I know from brochures, so you can always go online to www.bossaball.com and www.bossaball.com.sg to learn more and possibly have a look at some of the events and programmes they are conducting – until you see it first hand, just reading about it doesn’t do it justice.