Robyn Stephens (AUS) blocks Goalball 2000 Sydney PG

This semester at Trent University students will have the opportunity to play one of the most unique sports in the world. It is not particularly complicated, nor is it particularly dangerous. It is, however, challenging in a way no other sport is. It is guaranteed to be like no other sport you’ve heard before.

This is the sport of goalball, and it is the only team sport in the world entirely designed to be played without sight.

Goalball is much like a reverse form of dodgeball, except it uses a specially-designed ball with bells in it to allow players to hear where it is. Teams of three square off against one another in an attempt to shoot the ball into the opposing goal.

Every shot, every dive, every pass is done while blindfolded. This intense action forces players to rely on senses other than sight and allows them to develop different abilities they never knew they had.

This little-known sport is growing in leaps and bounds. In the six decades since it was invented to help rehabilitate blinded war veterans, it has grown into an international competition with annual world championships and Paralympics championships.

In Ontario alone, there are five goalball leagues in Toronto, Sudbury, London, Ottawa, and starting this year, right here at Trent University. It has even been played by Jarome Iginla and Reilly Smith of the Boston Bruins.

This sport might have been designed for the blind, but the fun and unique learning experience it offers makes it a sport for any athlete with two ears on the sides of their head and a brain willing to try new things.

“I really think goalball gives Trent students the chance to do something active with their peers,” says amateur goalball player Keith Dozois. “Goalball gives the opportunity to students to make friends and get active while having fun.”

For those who are interested in playing in the Trent Goalball League or who just want to experience this unique challenge there will be two demonstration sessions held on Thursdays September 11 and 18 in the Trent athletic complex. Just come as yourself, and be ready to have fun.

The league will start Thursday, September 26 with matches held weekly until the end of November. Individual players or entire teams are welcome to register on TrentGoalball.ca or in person on Wednesday September 10 at Clubs and Groups Day (10am – 4pm on the Bata podium.) Teams consist of three to six players and can be any age or gender. All are encouraged to play regardless of prior experience. You don’t even have to go to Trent!

Even stepping on the court just once promises to be something you will remember for a long while.