FORSYTH -- Taylor Wright spent part of her 17th birthday Sunday rolling around aggressively in a giant plastic ball.
She was eager to knock over people like her mother, Holly Wright, or her 9-year-old sister Maggie Wright and friends like Rachael Roppel, 15, all rolling with attitude in their own plastic spheres.
Welcome to the world of Knockerball MAX, one of the latest attractions to crash space at Forsyth’s Hickory Point Mall.
Knockerball works like this: players are cocooned inside these inflated spheres, several feet deep, which make them virtually immune to any injury. They also convey a lot of kinetic energy when hit by another player, and off you go: bouncing and rolling and, in the birthday girl’s case, laughing all the way.
“Yeah, it’s fun just bouncing around, really fun,” said Wright, who came all the way from her home in Bement to get bowled over.
Knockerball Max opened at the mall in October and boasts what co-owner Dan Nash claims is the biggest licensed Knockerball affiliate arena in the nation at 4,800 square feet. Nash said he understands the weird sport originated down under in Australia and the American version sees participants playing everything from football games to capture the flag.
Knockerball Max even has launched a Sunday morning edition hosted on the ice rink at the Decatur Civic Center. It’s only been going five weeks and attendance is unpredictable -- few players showed up on this Sunday, for example. But Dan Nash’s wife, Sabrena, said that will change as word spreads that a frozen Knockerball version is available.
“People are going to love it,” she predicted.
Meanwhile, back at the mall, loving the experience was the unanimous general feeling as Taylor Wright’s birthday party, looking like giant aggressive bubbles careening around a dry dish, went at it.
“This is fun, but exhausting,” panted Holly Wright, 34. “It’s definitely not like any birthday party I would have had as a kid.”
But she had only just begun to tap the padded aggression possibilities. Don Nash explained one exciting new option is use the bubbles as makeshift fortifications while participants in protective face gear loose foam-tipped arrows at each other for combat without carnage.
“The arrows are starting to take off for us, too,” he said. “We’re really excited about it.”
Want to know more? Call (217) 416-8477 or go to knockerballmax.com