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A different kind of Junkyard Golf

Raymond Fox describes his interpretation of Junkyard Golf:
"Well, the junk became old aluminum cans from soda, old plastic water bottles, some rolled up newspapers and three practice putting cups I got at a golf store. For about a month, I saved cans and bottles. Then I bought some rolls of duct tape and started taping them together. I had about 190 feet of this 'junk' in my garage (separated in 10 foot sections, so that I could transport them). I also had some old rolls of carpet for remodeling jobs in my house. This became more important once I found out that my location was on the paved school playground. The golf balls came from my supply of practice balls and were colored with markers. The golf clubs were borrowed from a local miniature golf course."
Read the whole story here.

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Bossaball

bossaball - volleyball on inflatables and trampolines. And a beautiful site it is. As is the game (sight-wise). As you can see on every impressively animated page.

Bossaball is "a ball game between 2 teams. It's a mix of volleyball, football, gymnastics and capoeira. The court is a combination of inflatables and trampolines, divided by a net. And it takes less than 45 minutes to set it all up and get ready to play."

It is always exciting to see a new sport - it means new opportunities to play, new expertise to develop, and a new invitation to fun. Because the sport is new, there's no need to take it "seriously." There's no world cup, no national teams. The only reason to play is because it looks like something you might actually enjoy. Well, it looks like volleyball, actually. Except for the trampolines, which makes it look like Trampoline Basketball, except it's volleyball.

It's the spectacle of seeing bodies flying, tumbling in an ecstasy of aerial acrobatics. It's the bounce: The bouncing, tumbling players on the trampolines and surrounding inflatable mat. The bouncing music.

Bossaball. It looks like fun.

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iSpott

ispott is "a mobile scavenger hunt game played with cell phone cameras." Read on:
"ispott hosts the world's first and only mobile scavenger hunt games. ...After you join us (it's FREE), you'll be ready to play. ...You'll receive a text alert on your mobile phone as soon as a new game begins. This alert will let you know what items to find. Then, you'll find as many items as you can before the game ends. Snap a quick photo of each item with your mobile camera, email it to us and visit ispott.com to check your status. The person with the most points at the end of the game wins.

"Points are awarded for each item on the list. The harder the item is to find, the more points it is worth. Plus, if the time bonus is active, bonus points are awarded based on when the item photo is sent to ispott. Basically, the sooner you find the item, the more points you get."
So here it is - an actual game, designed specifically for people with camera-enabled, Internet-connected, cell phones. A potentially city-wide, or perhaps even world-wide gathering of admittedly silly people, taking advantage of a coincidence of increasingly pervasive technologies, so they can do something coliberatingly silly together.

It is a good thing. Junkly, at its heart.

Sustainable Fun

Sustainable Fun? In an ecologically-sensitive kind of way. Like, for example, any of these "Possibly Scoring 10 for Non-consuming" activities:
  • the pleasures of breathing fresh air in the country
  • sea-bathing and surfing
  • collecting empty shells or other beach combing
  • hiking (no litter),bushwalking
  • playing most team sports that don't necessarily involve personal violence (which 'wastes people' by damaging them)
  • birdwatching
  • bee-keeping
  • scrabble
  • friendships, love and affection
  • climbing, canoeing, running, horse-riding
  • picnic in the park - the 'park' part of it
  • politics in the pub
I love this concept: sustainable fun. Of course, what I love about it is thinking that there are sources of fun which are, in fact, sustainable. Not your consumable fun. But your sustainably fun kinds of fun. Your always fun, Junkyard Sports kind of fun. And that this kind of fun, this sustainable resource of endless delight, is as natural as friendship and snow.

In fact, so central to fun are these natural resources that, corrolarily speaking, one can say that "if it isn't fun, it isn't sustainable." Which just happens to be, according to this source and Funscout Joey Gray, a central theme voiced by environmentalist Dr. David Suzuki.

Gas Tank Orchestra

Gas Tank Orchestra "...features a wide range of instruments including strings, reeds, horns, and percussion, all constructed with discarded automobile gas tanks from the streets of New Orleans by Artist/Musician/Scientist Gregory John Wildes. GTO is an orchestra improvising with improvised instruments."

Scavenger Hunts

Scavenger Hunts. Think of them as yet another kind of junkyard sport. Go ahead.

And while you're thinking, take a quick jump to this site and read about some of the scavenger hunts they put on, in, for this example, New York - which could as easily be Baltimore or Boston, Chicago or Connecticut, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, San Juan - well, you get the picture.

It's about looking, carefully. For example, you find yourself in New York, in Times Square, even, reading this: "In the center of Times Square, face a song and dance man and stand over a grate to hear a weird, resonant, haunting hum. This unidentified sound is actually an installation by an artist. What person is named closest to this grate?" Haunting hum. Cool. What person? Closest to the grate?

The answer? Well, if you look carefully enough, and you are extremely observant or lucky, you might just happen to notice that: "Douglas Leigh is named on a plaque near the strange sound, opposite a statue of George M. Cohan."

These geographically intimate scavenger hunts and team building programs are designed and led by maybe the world's only completely dedicated scavenger hunt organizing company, Watson Adventures. It is very encouraging to know that there is such an organization in this world. And that it is prospering.

Watson Adventures conducts ecologically sensitive scavenger hunts (nothing gets disturbed, only knowledge has to be brought back) for every purpose you can imagine. And the better you are at imagining, the more you can appreciate the team building, community building, body building, mentally challenging fun that Watson Adventures brings to the world.

Of Marbles, Junk, and the Spirit of Play

I first wrote about my understanding of the nature of play and sports in an article called "A Million Ways to Play Marbles, at Least" - originally included in the appendix of The Well-Played Game.

You can listen to me read it here.

In it's own silly way, it reflects pretty much everything I know about the nature of games. Personally, I think every kid between the ages of 8-12 needs to hear this at least once, and every adult over 30, several many times, at least.

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