You may think of it as "hacky-sack," but the name of the sport is footbag -- and the world's
most amazing practitioners will converge on San Francisco in early August for one of the most unusual
and captivating athletic competitions of the year. It's the 23rd Annual World Footbag Championships
Footbag comprises two primary disciplines: Net and Freestyle.
"Net Footbag?" Think volleyball. With your feet. "Martial Arts over a five-foot high net."
Athletes dig, set and hammer the footbag across the net, often hurtling their bodies through the air, head
over heels, legs flying. Yet the footbag, a ball measuring just two inches in diameter, is successfully
knocked from one side to the other until the hard- fought point is snatched and the battle begins again.
As the world's great soccer legend Pelé exclaimed in astonishment upon first witnessing championship
footbag play, "This is incredible! I can't believe anyone could be so coordinated with their feet!" The
World Net Footbag Championships are an exciting, adrenaline-pumping virtuoso display.
Freestyle Footbag, on the other hand, is a raw and powerful mix of dance, juggling and
balance as competitors work the footbag, sometimes in carefully choreographed routines, sometimes
with jazz-like improvisational authority, set to music ranging from rap to rock. The competition can be
compared to figure skating or gymnastics, yet it's more unpredictable and edgy, with a vast array of
personal styles and interpretations revealed. Hundreds were turned away from last year's sold-out World
Freestyle Championships--and one exposure tells why. There's simply no other athletic discipline on
earth requiring so many disparate skills. Over the head, behind the back, bouncing on one foot while
juggling the footbag with the other. At this level, one sees a rare mixture or art, grace, and technique.
From Finland, Korea, Venezuela, France, Australia, Slovenia, New Zealand, Czech
Republic and Canada -- to name just a few of the lands where footbag is a well-organized and keenly-
appreciated sport -- the world's greatest footbag players will converge on San Francisco to compete
along with the best from the United States in what will surely be one of THE athletic events of the year in
FREESTYLE FOOTBAG CHAMPIONSHIPS:
Palace of Fine Arts Theater, Bay & Lyon Street
Semi-finals - Thursday, August 8, 7:30 pm, tickets: $15.00
Finals - Saturday, August 10, 7:30 pm, tickets: $18.00
NET FOOTBAG CHAMPIONSHIPS:
Justin Herman Plaza, Market Street at the Embarcadero
Semi-finals - Saturday, August 10, 11:00 am - 5:00 pm, tickets: $10.00
Finals - Sunday, August 11, 11:00 am - 5:00 pm, tickets: $12.00
Tickets for the World Footbag Championships 2002 -- Net and Freestyle -- can be
charged-by- phone by calling, toll-free, 866-468-3399. Tickets may also be purchased securely
on-line, at www.ticketweb.com.
For more information the public may phone 415-522-9899, or go to the official website of
the World Championships, www.footbag.org/worlds2002.
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