Balloon Volleyball

“On Christmas Eve, my whole family would play balloon volleyball. We took blankets and quilts from all of the rooms in the house and make a line down the middle of the living room. The walls were like the ‘boundaries’. There was no net, so it was pretty lax, just like a line in the middle.”


“It was nice because the balloon took so long to fall, so it was easy for all of us to play, like the old people and the kids. It was a very inclusive game.”


“We were supposed to play until someone got to 21 points, but we never finished. We always ended up in a dog pile or something, some cute family stuff. My dog would run in and ruin the game sometimes and pop the balloon.”


“My mom’s from San Jose, in the Bay area. My dad was born in Dayton, Ohio, but then moved to Athens when he was little, so he spent most of his life there.”


“I think we just made up the game on the fly. There isn’t any traditional game like that, that my parents played with their families when they were little. Or not that I know of. I think we played because it wasn’t too aggressive and it was something that we could all enjoy and participate in as a family.”


“If you won you only got bragging rights, there was no prize or anything. Bragging rights went a long way in my family though, like I would run around yelling ‘I’m the balloon ball king’ if I ever won.”


My Interpretations of this story:


Through my research, I have noticed that a lot of childhood games stem from other games such as sporting matches, but in less intense forms. This makes a lot of sense, because those games and matches are no place for a child. It is important to teach your children health competition in a way that allows them to succeed but additionally shows them that winning is not the most important thing. It is also important to get children active and involved, so it makes sense that games like balloon volleyball are being create and played throughout the world. Personally, I have played many different versions of balloon volleyball and find that in addition to being really fun, these modified games are much more inclusive. Scheduled and planned sporting games and events with all these rules are not structured for children, at least in the beginning. It is important to establish an identity of a child before sending them into a rough competitive world, because that will affect their development and future traits that come. Also, I believe that it depends on what type of culture you stem from. More individualist societies, like over here in the United States, stress the importance of individual success and flourishment, which can change the childhood gaming experience. Some parents might not want their kids to participate in such easy going and fun games because it causes them to lose their competitive edge, drive, and grit, which are highly valued characteristics in their culture.