Follow the Bouncing Bells 

Introducing: Goalball

SAT 11/22

Not many sports can be played successfully without the use of your eyes. But how about one that is designed around using all the senses except sight? Meet Goalball. Conceived by an Austrian and a German in 1946 as rehabilitation for post-WWII blind veterans, Goalball spread internationally after its debut at the 1976 Paralympics, the Olympics for the physically disabled.A unique and action-packed team sport, Goalball is one of the only Paralympic sports that is actually a whole new sport unto itself -- rather than, say, wheelchair basketball or modified track and cycling events. Boundaries are marked on a volleyball court with taped-down rope so players can feel them. The sport borrows more from hockey or soccer, with three-member teams on each side bowling the bell-filled goalball -- basketball-sized but heavier -- back and forth at speeds up to 40 mph. The opposing team attempts to block the goalball, usually by throwing themselves face down or sidewise, sliding on the ground (knee and elbow pads required). If the ball makes it past the opponents' best efforts to block it and crosses over the back line, a goal is scored.

The Bay Area Outreach and Recreation Program (BORP), which provides sports programs and other activities for physically disabled people and their friends, hosts the seventh annual Goalball Invitational Tournament this Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Recreational Sports Facility, UC Berkeley. Watch for Jessica Lorenz of the 2002 world champion US Women's Goalball team, now training for the 2004 Athens Paralympics.-- Annika Dukes

SAT 11/22

Bigger than you

Let's face it, neither Cal nor Stanford is conquering the world -- let alone the Pac 10 -- this football season, but that only means the two teams will be angry when they square off for the 106th annual Big Game this Saturday at Stanford Stadium (12:30 p.m.). The Bears (6-6 overall, 4-3 Pac 10), behind second-year coach Jeff Tedford, are continuing their rebuilding process after finishing 7-5 in 2002, but have a long way to go before they can dream of a conference championship. Offensive standouts so far have been sophomore quarterback Aaron Rodgers and junior wide receiver Geoff McArthur (above). But anything can happen in a Big Game, and probably will.-- Kelly Vance

11/21, 11/23

Nick of Time

Beat the Heat

Their front line is a bit busted up and the season is still way young, but this year there's a certain optimism in the air above the Golden State Warriors. That's a switch. The logical place to look for an explanation is point guard Nick Van Exel, who brought stick-to-it-iveness as well as charisma when he arrived this fall from Dallas -- but coach Eric Musselman has muscled up on several key positions, with guard Jason Richardson and fill-in center Erick Dampier rising to the occasion. Friday's game (7:30 p.m.) against the lowly Miami Heat should be a useful warm-up for the always-formidable Blazers on Sunday (6 p.m.). Tix: Warriors.com -- Kelly Vance

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