Savannah Battle Ball takes bubble soccer to a whole new level!
Nathan Knight, founder and owner of Savannah Battle Ball
Battle Ball takes Savannah by Storm... or at least drizzle and rain
According to its founder Nathan Knight, Battle Ball, which is similar to bubble soccer and knocker ball, is a combination of soccer, sumo wrestling, hockey and bubble wrap.
Knight says he wanted to take the sport to a new level with a more intense twist, both literally and figuratively as participants run, kick, bounce, roll, tumble, and fly through the air, like a hybrid human/beach ball while attempting to kick a soccer ball into a goal net.
The latest event takes place at Forsyth Park on the same day as the Seacrest Preservation run and the Forsyth Farmer's market so there are plenty of people wandering about even though it is overcast and raining sporadically with wind chills in the thirties.
A dozen or more people gather round out of curiosity and Kinght and his companions invite them to take the balls (a blow up suit with handles and shoulder harness and head pad) on a test run.
They get a quick tutorial on how to right themselves if they are bowled over and pause for a local photographer to take their picture lounging around in the balls and practicing bowling over a group of "pins" which are also people inside battle balls.
The only tears come from laughter as everyone, even those watching can't help but giggle themselves silly as everyone attempts to run in the overall ball suits like human cartoon characters, taking short little strides and leaning over to peep out the top of the balls and have a normal conversation with their friends in the balls next to them.
They look a bit like turtles crossed with jellyfish and even the tourists are stopping by to take pictures to post of Facebook and ask, "Who has ever seen anything like this before?"
Savannah Battle Ball offers league play and rentals for parties and fund raisers
I asked Knight if this was a franchise and he surprised me by saying no, that he had been planning and developing the company for over a year and just went into actual business mode in the last two months.
"Battle Ball is one of the most eyecatching, jaw dropping recreational activities to ever hit the market," says Knight and pretty much everyone who is watching and playing agrees.
"It is truly hard to walk by a field where it is being played and not find yourself drawn into the excitement," he continues.
"I often find myself eagerly watching the activity rather than manning the Savannah Battle Ball booth. We are relying on our website (SAVBB.COM), social media (facebook, twitter - @SAVBB_COM, instagram - SAVANNAHBATTLEBALL and youtube) and hard copy flyers to draw interest for our leagues and rental opportunities. Not to mention word of mouth."
"A lot of people have seen videos online but never participated in this type of activity themselves. Well now they can and we are proud to be the first in the area to offer [it]. We are aligning ourselves with as many community events as possible as the addition of Savannah Battle Ball will surely draw a crowd."
He's right. Facebook was all a twitter with video footage taken by passersby and people asking where they could try this out and how much it would cost to bring them to a local gym, church or social meeting and it's not all that expensive.
An individual can join a team for as little as $60 and it's only about $400 to rent a team set up for just over three hours, with plenty of time for multiple games.
Knight says the harnesses and balls can be rigged for big or small people so just about anyone can play.
Battle Ball can be played on any level
While the guys definitely made Battle Ball in Forsyth park live up to its name, the gals took a less ferocious approach and that is the good thing about the game; you can make it as tame or as fierce as you want.
Knight shows a group of guys how to get airtime and launch yourself from slam dunk level into your opponent to knock him or her off balance and send them rolling. He even does a handstand.
The knocker ball video on his website is the most awesome thing ever and is a must watch for anyone who is thinking about joining a league.
Right now there are leagues planned for Savannah, Pooler and Effingham County and there are still spaces available if you want to form a team or join one.
Knight says the sport appeals to more than just your conventional athlete and that it can also be toned down for more of a fun, social event that is exciting to watch as well as play.
Smaller ball sizes are available for young children. Knight says he has done a lot of event rentals for vacationers, birthday and graduation parties as well as church groups and with summer coming right around the bend, it would be a great activity for youth groups and summer camps as well.
When asked what motivated him to start the company, Knight said he has the heart of an entrepreneur and the he graduated with an MBA from Central Michigan University and delved into a number of small venture businesses starting in his youth.
"As a child I would always tell my mother, family and friends that my dream is to create something that that brings joy to everyone's lives which also enables me to work alongside my family and closest friends."
"This is where I believe true happiness lives,waking up everyday knowing that the people that are going to participate in my events are most likely anxiously anticipating it and are never left unsatisfied. That coupled with working along side of those you truly love and enjoy. I do not see how life could get any better."
It was certainly hard to leave the group as they continued to improve on their soccer ball techniques and learned to 'become one with the ball' and discover, sometimes by accident at just what they were capable of doing with a giant balloon ball strapped to their shoulders.
Knight said his reasoning for founding Savannah Battle Ball is to help others, including himself, to release some of the stressors of life that bog down the mind and spirit.
Battle Ball allows adults to act like children again, have fun, laugh and be silly and not feel awkward doing it! Okay, well maybe a little awkward to start, but that passes quickly as the fun and laughter take over.
"Opportunities to act as carefree as we did as children are few and far between the older one gets. This innovative, industry first, recreational event allows us to reconnect with our inner child. It allows us to bring back the excitement that we shared as children, such as running around at recess with our friends. I truly believe we all need more carefree moments in life where we can just let go and enjoy the moment, without all of our responsibilities and worrying. The innovative Savannah Battle Ball suit does just that."
Knight just isn't pitching a business commercial here. There was truly not a frown on the place and even though it was a cold, gray, damp day, no one seemed to notice the weather and even the photographers were laughing and running around dodging run away balls, some of them with people in them!
"My ultimate dream is to create an annual event that draws in the community to allow for individuals of all ages to come out, meet one another and participate in the excitement that Savannah Battle Ball brings. I am working now with local businesses to aid in sponsoring an weekend tournament at historic Forsyth Park, where part of the proceeds go to the fight against testicular cancer. I have personally had my father die from cancer (although not testicular cancer) and know first hand the hardships that accompany any cancer diagnosis. If funds can be raised to help educate, empower and prevent any form of cancer I would like to be the first one to write a check. If there are any interest in joining our Savannah Battle Ball, Battling Testicular Cancer campaign please see our contact information below," says "Knight.
"Accompanying my passion to bring excitement into the lives of my community, is an inner desire for philanthropy. Our next event will be held on March 28th at Forsyth Park, where we will be offering free reign on the battle suits."
"We will be asking for donations of whatever the community can spare to help feed and clothe our homeless population in the greater Savannah area. I believe we all have a responsibility to reach out and help those in need. I am truly blessed and grateful that Savannah Battle Ball will not only be another business in the Savannah community but a business that will empower, uplift and better our community."
Upcoming Free Battle Ball Events in Savannah
Upcoming Events: March marks the opening of league play registration. Knight says they are registering teams and individual players for Savannah and Pooler based league play.
March 14th - We are proud to have been invited to participate in the St Patricks's Day Weekend Kilt and Kolor Run on Hutchingson Island. This event will give the race's participants as well as spectators a chance to try out what Savannah Battle Ball has to offer.
March 28th - Savannah Battle Ball will invade Forsyth Park for another open event. We will be setting up various Battle Ball games. This event will be free to the public. We will however urge participants to consider to donate whatever they see fit to help the homeless population in the greater Savannah area.
Products & Services: We offer league play opportunities in Pooler and greater Savannah cities.We offer hourly to full day rental opportunities which are a sure-fire way to spice up a birthday party/graduation party or any fundraising campaign.Savannah Battle Ball suits are for sale as well and come in all sizes.
Knight is really a personable guy with a lot of heart and enthusiasm that gets people off the side lines and into the action. It's impossible not to have a good time playing or watching Battle Ball.
If you can I encourage you to visit the website and check out a game or an event and even if you don't want to participate, at least donate to a good cause or better yet, hire Knight and his crew to help you raise funds for you own cause.
Battle Ball is sure to attract a lot of attention and it is a great way to have fun and get or stay in shape at the same time, so a great event for health clubs.