If you don’t laugh out loud at least several times while playing (or watching) a game of Knockerball, you may need to have your fun factor examined by a humor-ologist.
A six-year-old business located at 38741 Ann Arbor Road in Livonia, Knockerball consists of players encasing the top half of their body in an easy-to-pull-on plastic bubble and competing in a wide variety of games that challenge them to not get bounced onto the arena’s artificial turf.
When a player is harmlessly bounced to the turf in his or her protective bubble, hilarity ensues, with the bouncee usually laughing loudest of all.
“It’s fun to play and exciting to watch,” said Knockerball owner Jason Carpenter. “There’s a lot of action and I’ve had very few injuries. In fact, a large percentage of the injuries are from people watching and either not paying attention or doing something they shouldn’t be doing.”
All ages welcome
Carpenter said there are up to 20 games that can be played on the spacious Knockerball field and that the activity can be enjoyed by everyone from elementary school-aged kids to adults.
“Probably the two biggest celebrations people come here for are birthdays for people turning 30 or 40,” Carpenter said. “We have a lot of kids’ parties here because it’s different, more exciting than, say, bowling.
“There is a wide variety of games we offer. What usually happens is I’ll size up the group when they walk in and pick out a game for them – could be soccer, tag, a game where the team with the most players standing at the end wins – based on their ages and other factors.”
One valuable element of Knockerball is that it is portable. A decent percentage of Carpenter’s business entails transporting the knockerballs to schools and backyards where he can set up the game in a relatively short time.
“We’ve taken Knockerball to the Plymouth-Canton Schools senior parties a few times and we’ve been to Clarkston High School probably at least a dozen times. It takes a little time to deflate the knockerballs and inflate them at the site, but it’s not too bad.
“We have a lot of repeat customers, too. People will play it for the first time, love it and share it on social media where people will see how much fun it is and want to give it a try.”
COVID changed plans
Business was so good prior to the pandemic that Carpenter opened a second location in Saline.
“But then COVID hit, we had to shut down for a while and that kind of led to the demise of that location,” he said.
All Knockerball participants are educated with the games’ rules and safety guidelines before the action starts. They are also required to sign an injury waiver prior to participating.