By: Daniel del Ben
Roxbury resident Kim Kruse was voted onto the International Fistball Association Board in recent board elections. She was appointed by the IFA to a four-year term where she will represent North America in the sport of fistball.
Fistball is a European sport somewhat similar to volleyball. It has a recent growing interest in Northeastern America and specifically in Morris County, since the World Fistball Championships were held last year at Horseshoe Lake in Roxbury. Kruse meets with the IFA board monthly via Skype to provide updates on what is being done to help the sport grow in America.
Kruse is a member of the Sport & Swim Club in Flanders which is a big supporter of fistball. In 2015, they hosted the First Pan American Championships. She was first introduced to fistball by her parents as a child and has returned to it in recent years when she first came in contact with the IFA.
“I had become acquainted with several members of the IFA board,” said Kruse. “They were looking for more women on the board and wanted a rep from North America. So they approached me and asked if I would be interested in running. I am also the Treasurer of the United States Fistball Association.”
It can be tough to introduce people to new sports, but fistball is pretty easily accessible to new players. “I feel that just about anyone can play. All you need is a ball, a line and a field,” Kruse spoke of spreading the word to newcomers. “The best way to introduce fistball to someone is to show them a video from one of the Men’s World Championships which you can easily find on YouTube. We also invite people to come out and try the sport either at the SSC during the summer or at one of the indoor practices the USFA holds over the winter in Roxbury.”
With the World Championship sparking interest in the sport last year, Kruse said people of all ages have been wanting to learn. Along with others at the SSC, Kruse has been working to make it more readily available. “We had some great exposure last year and picked up a few college-age guys who have started playing at the SSC and a few really young kids who love the sport,” said Kruse. “SSC President Bob Feid has been going to schools and day camps, during the summer, and giving demos. The kids seem to really enjoy it.”
With fistball popularity growing rapidly, the goal is to bring fistball to a much wider stage in upcoming years. “Right now, the IFA has a big push to try and get fistball into the Olympics by 2028, when the Olympics will again be in Los Angeles,” said Kruse. “There are approximately 60 countries playing fistball and it is growing. The USFA is in the process of getting curriculum written, so we can get fistball taught in gym classes here in the US. Several members of the USFA have attended Physical Education conferences in the area over the last few years and the reception has been positive, especially since it is rather inexpensive to get started.”