By Ken Hegan for MSN
(a) stamp a foot
(b) bounce with rage
(c) throw things at strangers?
Why not do all three at the same time by playing 3-D Trampoline Dodgeball.
This is a vertical variation on the sport that my sadistic Grade 6 gym teacher described as ‘Murder Ball’.
A trampy new Toronto funhouse called Sky Zone offers you a “seemingly endless sea of trampolines” built right into their floor and walls.
Established in the U.S. in 2004 and billed as the “creator of the world’s first all-trampoline, walled playing court,” Sky Zone’s empire now stretches across 23 states and 29 locations.
Two years ago, Sky Zone opened their first Canadian trampoline park in Mississauga. Now Sky Zone is giving Canadians three new franchises: one in Winnipeg and another in Ottawa, plus a third one that just opened in midtown Toronto next to Amsterdam Brewery in posh Leaside. The Leaside location at 45 Esander Drive offers one dodgeball court, foam zone, slam dunk centre, and three open jump spaces.
Granted, you don’t have to be angry (or hopped up on craft beer) to play 3-D trampoline dodgeball. But when people start whipping balls at your face, it helps to have a vengeful attitude.
Now, according to these co-ed rules, you’re supposed to throw below the neck. But if you take it too serously, Rule #1 says “you are a weenie.”
Naturally, Sky Zone is kinda perfect for birthday parties and corporate team-building/terrorizing. They’ve been voted “Best Gym Alternative” by Vegas Seven Magazine, “Best Birthday Party For Boys” by St. Louis Magazine, and “2010 Best Family Attraction” by Las Vegas Review Journal. I personally vote them Best Way to Get Away with Outright Human Aggression.
Sky Zone’s Toronto location is owned by Caroline Irving. According to her interview in the Torontoist, Sky Zone “entertained over 130,000 jumpers last year.”
“Whenever parents tell me that their kids are bouncing off the walls and driving them crazy, I always says, ‘Give them to me, they can bounce off my walls’” she said.
Her trampy funhouse also offers exercise classes called Skyrobics which Irving claims is a killer workout (you’ll burn up to 1,000 calories in an hour), so bring a towel or a butler to mop up your sweat. Price: $11.50 per class or $60 for a monthly pass.
Want to bounce with a gang? Here’s a Toronto Meetup group in case you want to start your own ball-hucking team or if you simply want to play — ahem — ‘drop-in’.
What if you want to throw balls at an Albertan or suburban Vancouverite? No problem…a rival company, Extreme Air Park, has opened four indoor trampoline parks, in Calgary, Edmonton, Richmond, BC, and Langley, BC.
If your team gets really skilled at bouncing ball hucking, take a shot at Sky Zone’s Ultimate Trampoline Dodgeball Championship in Torrance, California from Sep 28th to Oct 6th. Teams from around the world will compete for $100,000 in prize cash, bragging rights for a full year, and (I’m purely guessing here) the chance to see yourself played by Ben Stiller in the inevitable ‘Underdog Trampoline Dodgeball Comedy of the Year’.
Just remember: if you can dodge a wrench, you can dodge a ball.
For more information on indoor tramping, visit skyzonesports.com
— Ken Hegan
Read more of Ken’s travel stories here
Trampoline photos courtesy Sky Zone Toronto