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Art from Sports

One might think of this as a statue of a dog made out of old sneakers. In so doing, one would be remarkably astute. For it is in deed a statue of a dog, and in deed made out of old sneakers.

It is this very fact, the fact that it is made out of old sneakers, that makes this statue, for all its artistic cunning, of such great interest to us, and also to me. It is one of nine such artworks, each made from sports-like accessories and apparel, each demonstrating how one person's junk can become the very stuff of one other person's art.

Many more examples of this clearly enlightened, and light hearted fun-eco-sports-centered art initiative can be found here. I quote:
"RECYCL'art is art created from used sports equipment, including balls, rackets and shoes. Our goal is to promote the 'reuse' of goods in an enjoyable and positive way, and sports, which represents fun and friendship, is the ideal theme to express these ideas.

As we train harder and harder at sports we often grow attached to the balls, rackets or shoes that we use, but then quickly discard them when they become worn, broken or old. RECYCL'art is a great way to give new life to old sports equipment."

Much the same could be said about Junkyard Sports, and probably will.


This is a "Bubblebag." It is called a Bubblebag because it is made of a plastic grocery bag wrapped around a chunk of bubble wrap. Note, if you will, that there is no tape being used to keep everything together. Note again how the cunning use of the bag handles stretched over the bubble-wrap-containing bag makes possible the construction of a tight and durable ball cover. Yes, the ball could be rounder. However, after several many hours of deft experimentation, it became clear that bubblewrap resists being made into a round ball. And as the bubble wrap goes, so goes the Bubblebag.

Enough about the Bubblebag, except, perhaps, to note how wonderfully hit-uppable it is. Different than a balloon or beachball. Light, yet hefty. Clearly not round. Possessing properties. One could imagine oneself hitting the ball up in the air repeatedly, as if one were engaging in a sort of anti-dribble, bouncing up, where one would normally bounce down. This, it turns out, to be almost all the inspiration required to lead one inexorably towards the new, and profoundly playworthy Junkyard Sport of Baggyball.

Here you see an image of a Bubbleball adjacent to a plastic shopping bag (this one donated by the very same Staples that sponsors that homage to the competitive spirit known locally as Staples Center. Note the relative size. It is somewhat central to the playability of the game that the bag is larger than the Bubbleball. Two such bags and one Bubbleball make up all the equipment you need to play Baggyball.

Baggyball, you see, is played very much like basketball, except for the following distinctions:

1. One dribbles up instead of down
2. The baskets are bags, and are held by players, who position themselves anywhere they want throughout the court (because it's too boring to pretend to be an immobile basket, and it makes the game a lot more fun and strategically complex if the baskets can run around). This makes the basket actually a member of your team. And a key member, at that.
3. The game can be played anywhere, on sand or grass, or even a basketball court.

I first played this with a bunch of amazing elementary school kids who volunteered to help me out at a demo session for the AAHPERD(American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance) conference held last month in Chicago. Once I demonstrated the basic dribble technique and the mobile bag-basket concept, they figured out everything else. And they didn't want to stop playing. And they laughed a lot.

It is possible that it is also legal to kick the ball.


We know them, oddly enough, as "Devilsticks." The Devilstick is a juggling kind of toy, easier, at first, than juggling with balls, and lending itself to complexities of prestidigital cleverness that are nothing short of devilish. It is a thing with many potentially jolly consequences: watching a master perform, playing with these sticks and developing your mastery over them, playing with someone else who is as good or perhaps even better than you.

Which brings us to an actual sport based on these Devilsticks. A sport called "Jolleystick" - an appellation which I find far more intriguing. To think that all one needs do to transform the Devil, stick-wise, into a source of health-giving Jolleyness (also of the stickly kind) is make a game out of it.

The sport of Jolleystick is "...like volley ball or volley club, but played with a devilstick. In jolleystick a devilstick is played backwards and forwards across a net into your opponent's end of the court. It's a one-on-one game. The devilstick is played with one handstick. The name is an amalgamation of juggling, volleyball and devilstick. It's a fascinating game in which both players must at least be able to do propeller throws."

There is a lesson to be learned here about the transforming power of games. I am not sure, however, exactly what it is. But I do find myself oddly reassured to learn that, in the proper hands with the proper skill, even the Devil becomes a plaything.


Triskelion - a new, three-team sport designed by Steve Kramer.

The simplified rules follow:
1 Triskelion is a field sport played with three teams of four players each. The field is in the shape of a triangle, with goals at each corner and a touch zone on each side, opposite each goal. There is also a perimeter in front of each goal.

2 Matches are three periods long. Each period is twenty minutes.

3 One of the teams starts on offense in their own touch zone, opposite their goal. Only the offense may score a goal. Having possession or control of the ball has nothing to do with whether or not you are the offense or the defense.

4 The offense may play the ball however they wish. The defensive teams must not use their hands, arms, or shoulders -- the same as in soccer -- except when claiming (picking up the ball in their own touch zone).

5 Either defensive team may become the offensive team by taking the ball to their own touch zone and claiming it.

6 The defense may down (stop) the play of the offense by touching the offensive player in possession of the ball with both hands. The offense must then scrimmage the ball with a hand-pass (punching the ball) or a kick.

7 If any team plays the ball out-of-bounds, or commits a foul while in possession of the ball, the other two teams hold a faceoff for the ball. The team out of the faceoff must not touch the ball for five seconds afterwards.

8 A defensive team may not have more than one player inside the perimeter around the offense's goal, unless the ball is inside the perimeter.

9 If a team commits six fouls in a period, and again for every three fouls after that, the other teams receive one point. Individual players may be charged with a major penalty, for which the player must sit out for three minutes, or a match penalty, for which they are ejected from the match.

10 Goals are worth one point from inside the perimeter, two points from outside the perimeter, and three points if they were kicked or hand-passed in from outside the perimeter.

This is a Flickr badge showing photos in a set called Junkyard Sports. Make your own badge here.

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