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Tennis Polo

Tennis Polo - a.k.a. Toccer answers the question: "what would happen if everyone had a tennis racquet and we were playing in an open field somewhere, in teams, trying to get the ball through the other team's polo-like goal?"

Bowing to the necessities of sport invention, Tennis Polo has become an official game with impressively official rules, but that doesn't keep the idea of the game from being an inspiration to any of us with a bunch of old tennis racquets.

One of the neat things about tennis equipment is that eventually it gets thrown away - racquets get warped or something, balls get dirty or wet or just lose their bounce. So there's all this once-costly junk around just waiting for some playful mind to recycle it into a new invitation to fun. Tennis Polo, despite (and maybe because of) its official status and well-documented, mpeg-illustrated instructions, is just such an invitation. The designers have done everything possible to gain the respect needed for Tennis Polo a.k.a. Toccer to be seen as a "real" sport. And we, the junkmasters of the world, can accept that invitation, completely, but not necessarily literally. All signs point to Tennis Polo being something fun to play, no matter where or with whom or with what we are playing. People in wheel chairs, in a parking lot, with old ping pong paddles and semi-feathered badminton birdies can have just as much fun with this as college athletes on a football field.

Thank you Tennis Polo Toccer creators. It is a gift.

Archery Golf

Archery Golf is, apparently, currently played in Italy and Cuba. Go figure. It is in deed and in fact a combination of archery and golf, and hence the descriptive name. It is also, at least in essence, a paradigm of the Junkyard Sportly mind. As explained so vividly in the following:
"Scottish many years ago enriched the pleasure to go for a pleasant walk in woods by carrying under their arm bow and arrows, which had been already used with not actually playing aims, stopping sometimes to dart an arrow: to a grass lump, a tree log, a root or only aiming high trajectory in the next of a grassland.

"This play was named "roving" (literally "to wander") and Archery Golf takes inspiration from this ancient activity adjusting little the quality of targets but keeping the spirit intact: living and enjoying the environment that you can find without leaving unpleasant tracks of your passage.

"Archery Golf is a play made by darting arrows towards original targets, which have been distributed along the path that has been adapted following territory characteristics. Bows and arrows are rigorously simple and wooden. Arrows have a garish fletching with the aim to brake and make the trajectory predictable, above all for what it concerns parabolic darts towards a centre, which is marked by a flag: just a bearing-pole with flag, such as for the classic Golf, where instead of a hole in the ground in the centre is marked a circle with a diameter of some meters."
Clearly, Archery Golf is not one of your casual, play anywhere, nobody could possibly get hurt, kind of sports. On the other hand, for any group that has ever wandered with long bow and loaded quiver amidst the rills and meadows of a sufficiently vast and clearly unpopulated land, Archery Golf is an invitation to significant play and many pure flights of delight.

Gianter Pick-Up Sticks

Embedded Funmaker Chris Saeger writes:
"Over the weekend we had a picnic for the ISPI Potomac Chapter. They wanted some kind of game to play so Becky and I thought we would try a version of giant pick-up sticks.

"We used twenty 1 inch x 10 ft. pvc pipe and colored tape on the ends. A little bendy but very light weight and they could fit in the car :-)

"We played teams, but we couldn't remember the rules about scoring so just had each one worth the same points. You only got to get one stick at a time. (this we called European union rules) Then a twelve year old who was playing, suggested that if you picked up a yellow stick you got to go for one more on that turn. (this was dubbed French rules) We played French rules. He also informed me that these were by no means the biggest pick up sticks. He had read about much bigger ones in the Guinness book of records. (he was right)"
You can read about the "gianter" game of Pick-Up Sticks, Guinness-Record-Making here. Ask me, those sticks, PVC or not, look dangerous!

Chris and Becky, by the way, are both colleagues from the much-revered NASAGA (North American Simulation and Gaming Association), who'll be having their deeply playworthy conference this year in October, in New Hampshire (should be beautiful there and then).

For even more Giant Pick-Up Sticks Stories, see this.

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