Is This Bubble Ball The Future Of Contact Sports?


It seems more or less impossible these days to have a conversation about a major contact sport without touching on the conflict inherent to our consumption of it. No moral person would wish grievous bodily harm and lifelong degenerative health problems on employees of a random corporation (without financial assistance, even) for the sake of entertainment. And yet, without much of a distinction, that is essentially what viewers are doing by tuning in to the NFL (and more) on a weekly basis.

This isn’t sanctimony, folks, because we’re guilty of it, too. It’s an admission, if anything, that we do not have the best interests of strangers at heart. Even purely as spectators, we’re part of the problem, and we’re not sure what the solution is, if there even is one.

Some observers have called for leagues-the NFL, in particular, but of course other sports like soccer and hockey have their own set of player health issues-to actually dial back on the padding afforded to players. The theory goes, whether you believe it or not, that the only way to teach players to tackle more responsibly is to remove a layer of protection. That way, it’s a lesson they can learn all on their own.

The Bubble Ball Theory, on the other hand, which we have just now coined, goes the other way with it: let’s wrap everyone up in as much plastic and trapped air as physics will allow, and let them go at it. Who knows if it works or not, but we definitely feel less guilty when these guys fall down.