Let’s face it, getting back into an active routine has been pretty difficult given the recent circumstances. With the three-month-long MCO and RMCO, athletes everywhere – professional or self-proclaimed – were without an outlet to get their game on. But, as luck would have it, we’ve slowly started to get back into the groove and sports teams everywhere are now allowed to begin their games again.
While the usual futsal and badminton games hold a special place in our hearts (and courts), if you’re looking to try something new, here are a few sports we have in mind for you.
Originating from Sweden back in the 1960s, the sport made its debut on Malaysian soil back in 2002 with 5 players messing around with a holey plastic ball and plastic-looking sticks. Today, floorball has gained nationwide recognition, with our Malaysian teams bagging 2 bronze medals at the 2019 SEA Games held in the Philippines.
A form of floor hockey, this fast-paced contact sport has all the mechanics of a typical ice-hockey game, with a few variations here and there – the obvious one being the lack of ice. Let’s break it down:
The Floor is Yours
Two teams go head-to-head in three 20-minute matches. In official matches, each team consists of 5 players; two defenders, one centre, 2 attackers, and a keeper. Games can be played with three players too, provided there is a keeper on each team. Each player is given a floorball stick – lighter and more flexible than a hockey stick – with the exception of the keeper. The game is usually played on an indoor badminton or futsal court, but can also be played outdoors, as long as it’s a hard surface.
Players take their positions on the court, with the centres beginning the game with a face-off. Picture a Mexican standoff, just up close and with sticks instead of guns. The game begins at the sound of the whistle from the referee. The objective is to score as many goals against your opponent before the timer runs out. At the end of three matches, the team with the most points wins.
While the basics of the game are simple enough, there are (what feels like) a thousand and one rules to follow, failure of which will result in penalties against your team. From lifting your stick too high, to switching grips and even laying down or kneeling, the list goes on. While it would be unrealistic to list every single rule in this article (we’ll be here until tomorrow), you can read up on the official rules here.
If what you pictured in your head was a bunch of guys and girls running around with broomsticks between their legs, that’s exactly what it is. Inspired by the only sport from the Harry Potter franchise, Muggle Quidditch is a hybrid of flag football, dodgeball and netball as teams run around the pitch (usually a football field) scoring goals.
The game is simple: Score more points than your opponents and capture the Golden Snitch to end the game. The team with the most points wins.
Each team is made up of 7 players: Three Chasers, two Beaters, one Keeper and one Seeker.
Chasers keep possession of the Quaffle and score points by throwing them into one of the three hoops on the opponent’s side. Each goal is worth 10 points.
Beaters throw Bludgers at the opponents to “knock them off their brooms”.
Keepers protect the goals and prevent opponents from scoring.
Seekers are tasked with finding and capturing the Golden Snitch to win their team 30 points, and in doing so, ends the game.
A broomstick for each player, made out of a variety of materials such as wooden sticks of PVC pipes
Three hoops placed on either end of the pitch at differing heights
Three types of balls; a deflated volleyball for the Quaffle, three deflated dodgeballs for the Bludgers, and a tennis ball placed in a long sock for the Golden Snitch
Oh, did we mention that the Golden Snitch is actually a person? The tennis ball is attached to the back of a neutral player who can then run anywhere they fancy to avoid being caught. Imagine if your Snitch knew parkour!
Mount Your Brooms!
The game begins with the Quaffle and Bludgers lined up in the centre of the pitch, as the Snitch runs free. Teams begin at their keeper zone with their eyes closed to prevent them from taking a peek at the Snitch. Once the Snitch has been deemed far away enough by the referee, they yell “BROOMS UP!” and the game begins.
Players have to remain on their ‘“brooms” at all times during the match. If at any point a player is hit by a Bludger, they are required to dismount their brooms, run to the keeper zone and touch the net before resuming. The game ends when the Seeker from either team successfully captures the Golden Snitch.
We know what you’re thinking: “do we actually play this in Malaysia?”. Well, the sport (yes, it is categorised as a sport, don’t hate) found humble beginnings in the form of our homegrown team, the Damansara Dementors. As of 2018, our very own Malaysian Quidditch team has gone on to represent the country in international quidditch matches. Magical, isn’t it?
No, this is not an invitation asking your friends to go play football or futsal. Actually, it has nothing to do with a ball. Well, sort of. Founded right here in Malaysia, jombola incorporates elements of tennis, badminton, table tennis and squash.
How it works:
Jombola is, in essence, a racquet sport. So all you need to begin is a jombola racquet (think tennis racquet but the size of a table tennis paddle) and a foam ball that’s slightly larger than a tennis ball.
Games can be played as singles or doubles, and players take up positions on opposite sides of a court (a badminton or sepak takraw court works)
The rules incorporate a mix of badminton and squash rules while the scoring system is based on a rally. Points are awarded to the player who wins the rally.
Bat ‘Er Up
Much like a game of badminton, players serve towards the court diagonally opposite to their position. However, its gameplay applies the rules of squash where the ball has to bounce once before returning the hit. Failure to do so will result in the end of a rally, and the point awarded to the opposing player or team. The first team or player to reach 15 points wins the match. The player or team that wins the best of three matches is declared the overall winner.
Let’s Get Active
Although some of these sports might sound a bit unorthodox (don’t lie, we all have question marks about Quidditch), it might be worthwhile to give it a shot. You might just find a new hobby you like, and if not, you get to have fun with your friends while working up a sweat.
But, look. If sports isn’t your thing, we get it. Granted, these are mostly outdoor and contact sports. If you’re as paranoid as we are about the ‘Rona but still want to get active, here are some workouts you can try in the safe quarantine of your home.