Balloon World Cup debut instant success

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In other news: world-wide balloon shortage causes eight-year delay for “Up” sequel. Diya Pokharel via Unsplash

The sport we’ve all been training for our entire lives

The first Balloon World Cup just debuted in Barcelona, Spain, with great success among viewers and players across the globe. The event is truly captivating to watch, with suspense at each dive to swat the balloon up and away from the ground. The best competitors gathered from across the globe to partake in the inaugural (yet nostalgic) event.

If you can remember back to the good ol’ days of your childhood, perhaps after a birthday party or a celebration, this event is very similar to the ultimate post-party pastime: don’t let the balloon touch the ground. While we lived in a society with no laws for playing balloon keep up, it is not quite the same for Balloon World Cup competitors. Contestants have two very simple rules: you cannot interrupt the path of your opponent, and you must always swat upwards. Striking the balloon downward is strictly against the rules and will result in a point awarded to your opponent, but just because you cannot strike the balloon downward does not mean that competition is bland. It is truly a game of wits where you can smash it upwards so it bounces off part of the course to hit the ground faster; or swat it in the complete opposite direction to make your opponent dive across room, only to swat it in the opposite direction yet again.

The playing field is nothing like you have ever seen in sporting history, but really is a nostalgic and comfortable setting: a living room. The course truly embodies the child-like essence of the event by playing on a course where you can use the furniture to assist your playing. The field is an eight-by-eight meter living room, fully equipped for a keep-away balloon extravaganza – or a small dinner party – with couches, recliners, lamps, side tables, a dining room table, and small car for the finale, because why not?

Matches typically last between two and five minutes, and the winner is declared by who has the most points, which are awarded once the balloon touches the ground. Each point is announced by a referee who blows a whistle signifying that a point has been awarded. Each of the contestants typically wear gym attire so they can move at ease. However, they must wear a helmet for their protection within the course. Hard objects like a dining room table, can result in injury.

The finale to the Balloon World Cup was ultimately given to the Peruvian victor, Francesco De la Cruz, who expertly used the car to his advantage to block his opponent from hitting the balloon. He won 10,000 euros, which is equivalent to roughly $14,335.25 Canadian at the moment. The event was a success overall and an absolute hoot to watch; one can only hope that event organizers return next year to make it even bigger and better and that they can have a live spectator audience in years to come once COVID-19 is under wraps. Furthermore, they could continue with other course settings, such as a fraternity house or home-gym, to really challenge players’ skills in managing different terrain. Maybe a clown making balloon animals could be the half-time show – the possibilities are endless!

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