Knocker Ball

    “Daddy, let’s go play Knocker Ball.”

    “What was that?”

    “Knocker Ball. Let’s go play Knocker Ball.”

    At eight years old, my daughter still says many words incorrectly. I usually try to be the fun parent but I knew that I had to correct her now so that the kids at school wouldn’t tease her. “Oh honey,” I said. “It’s SOCCER ball. SOCCER. With an S and we usually just say Soccer, not soccer ball.”

    “No, daddy. It’s Knocker Ball… See?” She turns the lap top to me and, plain as day, there it is, Knocker Ball. I guess today, I am the wrong one.

    “Well, I’ll be,” is all that I manage to say.

    So what is knocker ball? In short, it’s soccer played while wearing a giant bubble. Instead of cringing whenever someone hits a header or makes a crash landing, Knocker Ball enthusiasts are encouraged to run at their opponents as fast as possible, knowing that the giant bubble will absorb the blows. Let the fun ensue.

    “Of course, honey, we can play.” And with that, she jumped up and down clapping her hands. I loaded her into the Subaru and made our way to Salmon Creek Indoor Sports Complex, just over the Bridge from Portland in Vancouver.

    Salmon Creek Indoor Sports, a 40,000-acre facility, enables year-round soccer competition with its roster of classes, leagues, and pickup games for all ages (as young as 18 months!). Players at Salmon Creek can mix it up with different squads put together at random by arena staff throughout the weekly open-play sessions for youth, coed adults, and women. Existing super groups can register for league play.

    But, of course, we aren’t here for soccer. Not today. No, we are here to experience Knocker Ball.

    So, we change into our sports gear, don our gym provided bubbles and make our way to the artificial turf field. Our teams are randomly assigned and we are off to the races. I crash headlong into men twice my size and laugh and giggle my way throughout. My daughter, timid at first, is soon taking headers and full on crashes into other players as she, too, giggles and laughs across the field. She even scores a goal. A legit goal, unaided by a permissive goalie or a nice daddy. She does great! I struggle to catch my breath and am barely able to dribble the few passes that go my way, but I still crash my way to a good time.

    Knocker Ball. Don’t knock it till you try it.

    Salmon Creek Indoor Sports is located at 110 NW 139th St, Vancouver, WA just minutes from Portland, Oregon. Knocker Ball is a thing. Give it a shot. You won’t regret it. I promise.

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