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GoExpo is *the* exhibition for the sports junkie!

March 13, 2014

Last weekend Messukeskus (the Helsinki Exhibition Centre) hosted the annual GoExpo, *the* exhibition for the sports junkie in your family. There are several smaller sports-themed exhibitions mixed into one, including golf, fitness, bikes, fishing, hunting, trekking and the horse fair and the photo and camera fair. As I have mentioned before, the Mr. and I run our own small company called OP-Sport and we took part in the Ball Sports Expo, which was set up in Hall 7. We were promoting KIN-BALL (which is played in 30 countries around the world) and had some help from the International KIN-BALL Federation. I won’t get into KIN-BALL here, if you want to know more, you can always google it.

In any case, the Ball Sports Expo is a great opportunity for those more “obscure” sports in Finland to take the stage for the weekend. The Finnish Olympic Committee was also on board and gave kids (of all ages) the opportunity to fill in a check list of sports that we (yes, we) could try as part of the Kids Olympics. In no specific order that included: KIN-BALL, American football, rugby, padel, tennis, badminton, baseball, basketball, handball, budo sport (including taido, taekwondo and aikido), floorball (also known as salibandy), footbag, soccer (which can’t be considered “obscure” in Finland), field hockey, paralympic sport, volleyball, liaanihyppy (which translates to Liana vault) and sailing and boating. The Ball Sports Expo also included other organizations dedicated to sport including Ice Hearts, Liike (has ties to children’s sport in Tanzania), the Kuortane Sports Institute and Extreme Toys (which includes rodeo riding simulators!). There were a few retailers along as well selling salibandy equipment, sports clothing and sports simulator experiences.

I only spent Saturday at the expo because of other committments, but I sure did learn a lot!

I played slo-pitch baseball when I was still living in Canada, so I was so happy to be able to give the batting cage a try. 🙂 Unfortunately women’s baseball (in any form) has not caught on in Finland, women’s pesäpallo is still queen. Tony Jones is spearheading a lot of the groundwork for baseball in Finland and was happy to report that they have gotten some good backing from the Finnish Pesäpalloliitto.

I finally got to throw a handball (and wishing I was younger, so I could play!) and learned that there are different sizes of balls for kids, women and men… You learn something every day.

I knew footbag as hacky sack when I went to university. The men’s national footbag team was at the Ball Sports Expo and I can tell ya, footbag demands a high degree of speed and agility! Footbag is played on a court the same size as a badminton court. When they were on the field I found out that the leading country in the sport is Canada. 🙂

I tried field hockey once when I was in high school and was happy to give ball handling a go. The stick technology has changed since I was a kid and learned there are different kinds of sticks depending on the position one plays.

Padel is kind of like tennis and was a new addition to the Ball Sports Expo this year.

The Little Miss had a riot and by far her favourites were American football, rugby and Liana vaulting. She practically wore herself out! 😀

To attest to the growing popularity of the GoExpo, 48,000 people visited the exhibitions over the course of the weekend and on OP-Sport’s behalf, it was a good one for us too! KIN-BALL was well-received, as were the other balls that we threw out on the field. 😀

The 2015 GoExpo will be held from March 6-8 – watch for it!

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