Wild entertainment is the newest sport on the block, and it was born out of lockdown and a footballer’s sense of fun.
Who hasn’t begun an impromptu game of keep-ups with a balloon at a kid’s party? It’s entertaining, addicting, and competitive. That same game recently had its own World Cup, which Peru won after a dramatic final in front of a sell-out crowd in Spain and an estimated eight million Twitch viewers.
If you’re wondering how a seemingly juvenile pastime became a respectable source of athletic pleasure, consider Covid lockdowns – and how individuals suffering from cabin fever became inventive to keep active at home. On their balconies, some people juggled toilet paper, practiced indoor parkour, and ran marathons.
Meanwhile, Antonio and Diego Arredondo, together with their sister Isabel, relived their youth by performing amazing leaps about their Oregon living room while attempting to keep a balloon in the air. “We started fighting over whether [the balloon] touched the ground or not,” Antonio told Reuters. “So we started filming slow-mo movies to check whether it did, and then it came to the point where we decided to publish this video of us on Tik-Tok.” Their wildly popular games have gone viral.
As the competition neared a final between Peru’s Francesco De la Cruz and Germany’s Jan Spiess, online viewership soared to 600,000 concurrent watchers. And the 300 spectators (including Sergio Agüero and Jordi Alba) got their money’s worth as the players flung themselves about the court in dramatic style, bouncing off furniture and overturning chairs in an electrifying display. And it was De la Cruz, who was 18 at the time, who won after masterfully employing the vehicle for balloon drop-shots. “I am very, very pleased, and I thank God that I have been able to do this,” he said after winning €10,000 by raising the golden balloon (the Balloon d’Or?).
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