Not Your Typical Holiday Ball
New, unique sport brings novelty to Colorado Springs
Earlier this year, the concept of WhirlyBall – part basketball, part lacrosse and part hockey – all played in a souped-up bumper car on a magnetized floor using a plastic scoop and oversized whiffle ball, came to Colorado Springs.
This winter, the fun doesn’t have to end just because it’s nasty outdoors.
Take it indoors and plunge into the newest activity to hit Colorado Springs.
It’s WhirlyBall – part basketball, part lacrosse and part hockey – all played in a souped-up bumper car on a magnetized floor using a plastic scoop and oversized whiffle ball.
Earlier this year, the Chicago-based Elias family opened its 30,000-square-foot WhirlyBall venue – complete with $2.5 million in renovations – in the Rustic Hills Shopping Center off North Academy and Palmer Park boulevards. It comes more than two decades after opening the first of three successful centers in the Chicago area.
Now, it’s time for the Pikes Peak region to see what it’s been missing all this time.
“Colorado Springs, being an active community, has a lot to offer outdoors,” says Adam Elias, the vice president of strategic marketing who received his undergraduate degree from the University of Colorado. “But looking at the market, we noticed a lack of things to do indoors, especially in the winter months. Who wants to stop having fun just because it gets dark or it’s cold outside?”
And here’s the kicker: just because sports are involved, a sports background isn’t required to have a great time at WhirlyBall. All-state players likely won’t be any better than the non-athletic types.
That’s the idea.
“This is a great social activity that can work with corporate groups, non-profits or by just getting a group together for a party or even a holiday event,” Elias says. “Everyone travels the same speed, and that levels the playing field and allows everyone in the office to play.”
In WhirlyBall, two teams of five ride in bumper cars, scooping up and passing a plastic ball and ultimately scoring points by tossing it at a target on a basketball-type backboard.
The actual game is only part of the allure. The rest is about enjoying a complete experience unlike any other.
And it equals a great time, regardless of the final score after a 10-minute game.
That’s also the idea.
Once people get a chance to play the game and take in the chef-driven restaurant menu – complete with a 24-draft bar featuring a wide selection of craft beers and extensive collection of spirits – they develop the itch to get back and take another whirl.
“We heard about WhirlyBall earlier this year and had to see what it was all about,” says Alexa Miller, a receptionist at a local law firm that booked a team-building event there. “It was so much fun. The food was great, as were the drinks, and WhirlyBall itself is an amazing game. We can’t wait to go back.”
Like the other three buildings in the Midwest, the new Colorado Springs location sports a restaurant, bar, two WhirlyBall courts, 12 bowling lanes, laser tag, pool tables and a dedicated event space that can accommodate groups up to 200 people, making it an ideal location to host receptions, parties, meetings and other get-togethers.
Elias said corporate outings, family reunions, non-traditional fund raising and especially holiday parties have turned out to be big hits in the family’s other locations.
He expects similar success once the word gets out in Colorado Springs.
“This is a new opportunity for an office or company to do something unique, and we’re already seeing groups planning events for the holidays,” Elias says. “If people are curious about what WhirlyBall is, then they can come by and get a free game on us, to try and experience it for themselves. As much as I can explain it, playing it is really what’s going to make that experience come alive.”
There’s simply too much to do, and too many choices to make aside from choosing teams, that it’s not possible to do everything on one WhirlyBall endeavor.
That’s why you’ll need to take a whirl, again.
But first, it’s time to get a taste, just in time for the holidays.
to get started visit whirlyball.com or call (719) 637-9999.
MORE INDOOR FUN IN COLORADO SPRINGS
Aside from the new WhirlyBall franchise that opened earlier this year, Colorado Springs offers several opportunities for inside heart-pounding fun when it’s too cold to play outdoors. Here are a couple of suggestions:
• OVERDRIVE RACEWAY: Indoor Kart Racing
196 Spectrum Loop, (719) 419-8761, overdriveraceway.com
• GREAY WOLF LODGE: Kid-Friendly Water Park Resort
9494 Federal Drive, (844) 553-9653, greatwolf.com/colorado-springs