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Junkyard Sports: The Blog

The invention of Trekking

In his article on IPFrontLine, Donald Grant Kelly reports on the invention of a new sport, called "Trekking." The inventor, Phil Stebler, drew his inspiration from a training exercise he saw in a Marine camp boot training film where, he explains: "teams mastered coordination and collaboration by "walking" with feet positioned on parallel rails. Short ropes attached to the rails enabled team members to lift each rail in unison, moving it forward in a synchronized walking motion. Forward progress depends upon strength, timing and perfect cooperation."

This very same exercise actually made its way into the New Games repertoire via Stewart Brand in his efforts to introduce what he called "soft war." We played it for the fun of it. And it has propagated hither and yon (see, for example, these Team Traks). Stebler has apparently taken both the fun and the spirit of it one step beyond with his new sport. Kelly explains: "the ropes are eliminated and the rails, or Trekkers as he calls them, are equipped with multiple foot-bindings accommodating more than one person. For indoor competition, Trekkers are provided with carpeted lower surfaces. Forward movement is accomplished as players lift the foot bindings and press them forward, much like cross-country skiing. Excitement is ratcheted up by Phil Stebler's special features. He interconnects front/rear ends of the skis to form ski "chains" and adds parallel players sharing common skis with their partners."

I spoke with Mr. Stebler about his invention. He explained that by eliminating the ropes, players can gain more stability - holding on to the shoulders of the player in front; and that when fewer players want to give it a try, there are no extra ropes to worry about. Stebler has explored many variations of his device. He's added a hook-and-eye system so it is possible to join Trekkers together for larger groups. He's even found a way to use two sets of Trekkers in parallel, mixing two teams together so that one team uses Trekkers 1 and 3 while the other uses 2 and 4. All to bring both collaboration and hilarity to the most serious enterprises of developing teamwork and promoting fitness.


Finger Jousting

Finger Jousting"...is a sport where two consenting players square off in an attempt to prod their opponent with their lancing (right) index finger before the opposing player can. The competitors must keep their right hands locked in an arm wrestling fashion and not use their legs or latent (left) arm in an offensive manner. The competitors are known as jousters, and the act of touching the other person’s body with the index finger is known as lancing. A player can lance anywhere except the lancing (right) arm."

Finger Jousting? Could it be just a jest, this jousting-with-the-finger concept? A jest? Surely, you joke. How could anything as challenging and artful and demanding of physical prowess and as contest-worthy to lead to the establishment of the World Finger Jousting Federation be taken as anything but or else? Verily, one could, having perused and pondered the patently Pseudo History of Finger Jousting, conclude that it is little more than a laughable lark, a prank, a juvenile josh. And yet, at heart, there is a clear smackage of something fun and physically sportlike and worthy of patently public approbation.


Feather Bowling

They call it "Feather Bowling." And, contrary to the conclusion to which you've probably already leaped, there is no bowling of feathers. Rather, there's bowling of something looking remarkably like wooden cheese rounds. Considering that the game comes to us from Belgium, the cheese-round-likeness of the balls is all but self-explanatory.

The feather? That's the thing stuck into the ground near the end of the alley. The goal? To roll your wooden cheese round so that it stops as close as possible to the feather, in a bocce- or horseshoe-like manner.

The alley. Ah, the alley. Not flat, as you might assume from previous bowling experiences. But concave. Curved, don't you know, so that it becomes quite possible to roll your wooden cheese rounds up and down and around in a most remarkably strategic manner.

Not impressed? Take a look at these clips.


FreezeTagBasketball (invented by Phil Anker & David Fisher)

"You see, FreezeTagBasketball (invented by Phil Anker & Dave Fisher) combines basketball and freeze tag. Each team has an 'IT.' The IT can tag people on the opposing team to freeze them, or tag people on ITs own team to unfreeze them. Everybody becomes unfrozen when a point is made. The ITs can make points and everything else everyone else does. The rest of the game is played just like basketball."
"But," you ask, "won't people just stay away from the ITs? Why not give the ITs the ball and let them make points?"
"Certainly," the designers respond, "ITs have an offensive advantage, but don't let that fool you. ITs can freeze each other, and once frozen cannot unfreeze themselves. So if an IT is given the ball, other players might stay away, but the opposing IT would go for the freeze. If your team's IT is frozen, you can see how you would have an obvious disadvantage. The opposing IT could freeze your entire team, and unfreeze all of the opposing players. Bad news for you."
FreezeTagBasketball is what I, Bernie DeKoven, author of Junkyard Sports (as soon to be seen in Family Fun Magazine), registrar of the registered trademark Junkyard Sports®, host of Junkyard Sports, the Blog, call a Junkyard Sport - even though it doesn't (but certainly could) involve the using of junk. What it does involve is the putting together of a sport and a game in such an ingenious way as to create a new sport. A new, fun sport. A new, fun sport good enough to be played very, very hard; and new enough to be really fun, and stay really fun, for anyone who really wants to play.

My Junkmasterly blessings on you, Phil Anker and David Fisher. Play on!



QuadBall is a sport based on the theories of a brilliant and devoted physical educator named Muska Mosston. Dr. Mosston is the author of the Slanty Line theory that I describe with such enthusiasm in my article on Fun and Flow.

I quote from the site:
"Observing a boy shooting hoops, Muska noticed the consistency where the ball hit the front of the goal rim. He walked over to the goal and pulled on it until it slanted down about 20°. The boy’s next three shots went right through the goal. Muska realized that slanting the goal 20° significantly increased a shorter student’s chances of making the goal.

"QuadBall is based on that 'Slanted Rim' theory developed by the late Dr. Muska Mosston. It's designed to create an environment prone to 'inclusion,' where every child has an opportunity for skill development through experimentation."
And it looks like fun, too.

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Volotennis "is a sport that blends elements from paddle tennis and badminton." So, already we know we're talking Junkyard - it's a sport built out of other sports. And, well, sure, you need special equipment, though clearly you could use not so special equipment. A wiffle ball, even a Baggyball would most potentially do. And for paddles, well, there's the, of course, recommended Pick-a-Paddle, but clearly one could use, let's see, shoes perhaps, feet maybe, boxlids probably.

Volo, should you wonder: "The root 'volo' comes from the Latin word (volatus) for 'flight.' In volotennis, the ball is usually struck while still in flight, (i.e. before it bounces)." Ah. Of course. Still in flight. As in badminton. With Paddle Tennis. Furthermore, "volotennis can be played indoors or outdoors on any surface (concrete, asphalt, grass, sand, wood, etc.)." Again ah. A sport for many surfaces.

"The sport of volotennis was invented on the 4th of July, 2002 in Lafayette, California, USA. The sport's creators are Paul Loscavio, Nancy Loscavio, Steve Cornacchia, Kelly Cornacchia, Ray Ginochio, and Tom Schulting."

Thank you to each and all. You have brought a little more fun into the world.


Double Ball

Years ago, when I was writing for Games magazine, I proposed that we do an article on what I called "Two Balls Tied Together." We actually got as far as doing a photo session for the article, but, ultimately, it got killed. I suppose because of the semi-salacious significance of what I was calling the game. And perhaps also because the game didn't seem to be "real." Nobody we knew of was actually playing it. Even though it was clearly fun. And most definitely playworthy. There weren't any Two-Balls-Tied-Together Leagues or clubs, even.

Recently, maybe 20 years later, I heard from a company called Yazoo. These Yazoos were in fact marketing their own patented version of something remarkably similar to TBTT (Two Balls...etc.). Coming to me as it did in this enlightened age of the Internet, I gleefully Googled for evidence of this game elsewhere. And behold, it was, in truth, a game called Double Ball, played by our Native American brothers o so many years ago, as further explicated here.

There's something to be learned here about the nature of new sports, and timing, and naming, and patents and stuff.

When you figure it out, please let me know.



Newmindspace promotes "...interactive public art, creative cultural interventions and urban bliss dissemination based in New York and Toronto." Many are the events conducted by Newmindspace in the names of art and fun. There's Bubblebattle as depicted, and, for perhaps just one other example, Urban Capture the Flag:
"Capture the Flag is a massive, adrenaline-pumping, urban game played on the streets of downtown Toronto. Two teams hide flags in their territory and attempt to capture the enemy flag using subways, streetcars, bicycles, longboards or their own two feet. Join us as we dash through the Financial District, evade the enemy, hide behind Toronto's skyscrapers, travel through the PATH and score a point."
Many are the events, and many the stories (some of which inspire, some of which engender ire). All of which help define a play-art form which, crazy as it may be, redefines art, play, and the world we live in.

You can download the instructions for conducting a game of Capture the Flag in your very own urb.

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According to the The International Ringette Association:
Ringette is a Canadian game that was first introduced in 1963 in North Bay, Ontario. Developed originally for girls, Ringette is a fast-paced team sport on ice in which players use a straight stick to pass, carry, and shoot a rubber ring to score goals.

Ringette is played on a rink and there are five players plus goalie on the ice at the same time from each team. Ringette is fun and fast, it has no body contact and there is a need to cooperate to be able to move from one side to another.
Again and again, I'm finding new sports that emphasize a gentler, more cooperative, and yet physically and mentally engaging interaction. I think there's a message here.

According to Ringette Canada:
The growth has continued internationally with the formation of associations in the U.S.A., Finland, Sweden, Russia, and France. In addition, Ringette Canada has been instrumental in demonstrating the game in the Netherlands, Switzerland, West Germany, along with New Zealand, Australia and Japan.
Yup, definitely a message. One that is clearly being listened to. Very carefully.



According to Pickleball.com, "The mini-tennis game called Pickle-Ball was created during the summer of 1965 on Bainbridge Island - a short ferry ride from Seattle, WA. The original purpose of the game was to provide a sport for the entire family, according to co-inventors U.S. Congressman Joel Pritchard, William Bell, and Barney McCallum."

Wikipedia calls Pickleball "a combination of ping pong, tennis, and badminton." Already, I like this game - junkly in its very essence, combining elements of other sports to create a new, more accessible sport. Again, according to Wikipedia, "Pickleball's small court also allows younger players or those with varying degrees of mobility and paraplegics to participate in a way that the larger court of tennis sometimes prohibits....Pickleball is designed to keep everyone in play. There's a no-volley zone close to the net to prevent overcompetitive players from smashing their way to one-sidedness. Pickleball is a game of shot placement and patience, not brute power or strength. Once the ball has hit the ground on both sides of the net, the volley can continue as in badminton, with the ball constantly in the air."

funfinding by Bill Harris


Asphip - Spinning Top Boomerang Bowling Tennis

Asphip includes both the Asphip Looper and the Wandering Disks. Both are attempts to introduce objects with different physical properties into traditional ball sports.

The "distinctive and primary element in Asphip Looper is this unique ball that's similar to a top in that it spins on a shaft. The ball is round and has two shafts, one at the top and one at the bottom. The racket is used to hit and spin the ball. This racket like those used in some other sports has a grip and palm. The palm is filled with a sponge material so that it flexes when it comes in contact with the ball." The Looper, of course, travels best on the specially smoothed surfaces of an Asphip Court. And, once you have an Asphip Court, you might as well also have a set of Wandering Disks and play a combination of shuffleboard and tic tac toe with pucks on wheels. Pucks on wheels!

It makes you think. What other wonderfully mechanical things do we have that we could have fun with, get involved with, get completely, physically engaged with, make sports out of? New kinds of balls and pucks with new properties that invite play. Not that easy. Not that small of an accomplishment, this Asphip thing. Something to get interested in, very, very interested in.


Shotgun Golf

ESPN.com: Shotgun Golf as described by Hunter S. Thompson to Bill Murray:
"Shotgun Golf was invented in the ominous summer of 2004 AD, right here at the Owl Farm in Woody Creek, Colo. The first game was played between me and Sheriff Bob Braudis, on the ancient Bomb & Shooting Range of the Woody Creek Rod & Gun Club. It was witnessed by many members and other invited guests, and filmed for historical purposes by Dr. Thompson on Super-Beta videotape.

The game consists of one golfer, one shooter and a field judge. The purpose of the game is to shoot your opponent's high-flying golf ball out of the air with a finely-tuned 12-gauge shotgun, thus preventing him (your opponent) from lofting a 9-iron approach shot onto a distant 'green' and making a 'hole in one.' Points are scored by blasting your opponent's shiny new Titleist out of the air and causing his shot to fail miserably. That earns you two points.

But if you miss and your enemy holes out, he (or she) wins two points when his ball hits and stays on the green.

And after that, you trade places and equipment, and move on to round 2."
For those of us seeking a less, shall we say, junkly challenge, there's of course Schmerltz Frisbee Golf, which would, similarly of course, be played with a, well, flying disc-like Frisbee-like thing (like a paper plate), and, as hitherto implied, a Schmerltz.



Apparently, Ringo is like volleyball, played with a ring. The inventor, Wlodzimier Stryzewski, was, at the time, captain of "the Polish épée fencing team for the Academic World Championships 1959 in Turin." He explains: "in my childhood I and a small friend played catch with a tyre which had come off a pram, which we would throw over the tops of horse-drawn carriages driven a long the main road of Sochaczew, my home town. Oh yes! The field can symbolize my body. The tyre – is my sword. There shall be no time limit between the catching and the throwing, so I never know when my opponent will begin his attack and in which direction, as in any fighting game."

I read on: "First, you have to throw the ring from the spot where you caught it, second – when throwing at least one foot must touch the ground. You may only leap when catching, never when throwing. Otherwise the defending party would have no chance at all and the entire game would be senseless. But why? – He demanded. Because it’s my game and my rules – I said."

Stryzewski has made it his game ever since, and has brought to it a vision and passion that borders on pure zeal.

"Ringo is a very simple game," he writes, "even though challenging, a fighting sport combining maximum effort of the soul and body with all the natural human movement: run, turnover, jump, catch, throw, bend. To be a Ringo champion you need forecast ability of the chess player, tactic and reflection of a fencer, with power of a boxer, flexibility of a ballet dancer, jumping ability of a volleyball player, speed of a sprinter, and precision of an archer, intellectual link with partners like a bridge player, space imagination as a pilot and endurance of a marathon runner. With a focus to make Ringo an Olympic sport America Ringo Association will be bringing closer the dream of the families around the world to participate in the Olympic games participating in the family category where parents with their children will play other families of the world in the spirit of friendship and peace."

Families. Cool.

from Junkyard Sports: The Blog



Socci "is an individual fitness activity, social game, and a competitive sport ...combining elements of soccer, basketball, and hackysack." A sport after my own junkyard-inspired heart - creating by combining some of the must fun parts of other sports. Like soccer and hackysack, Socci is played without using hands. Like basketball, no physical

The Socci goal is perhaps the most innovative aspect of the sport. It is low, round, and free-standing - so a goal can be scored from all sides. This makes defending the goal much more challenging, and more interesting for players and audience alike. The inventor sees Socci as "the ultimate soccer training game." I see it as a new sport. Better than soccer, because it is faster paced. The goals are closer together, so players have to shift from offense to defense suddenly and often. There is more opportunity to score, and more opportunities for fun. Though I'm certain a good Socci player masters many soccer-related skills, the value of Socci is not in its soccer- or hackysack-likeness, but in the fun.

Need more evidence? See especially the first two recommended alternate games:
"Trash Socci - If you're dying to play Socci, a trash can will do. Just count one point for hitting the "can" and two for putting it in.

"Circle Socci - Even if you can't get a can, just draw a circle. Count one point for rolling into the circle and two for dropping it into the circle."



TsegBall (pronounced seg-ball) "is a combination of basketball, volleyball, handball, rugby and hopscotch." Again we see how new sports can be built from old. Again we find a sport that is designed to be "non contact." And again, we see that along with all this renewal, we are being given sports that reduce "the amount of injury prevalent in most contact sports while removing the physical intimidation factor on the court. Second, TsegBall's design allows for co-educational teams. By removing the violence aspect, men and women are able to play together on the same team--a feature not common in many of today's more popular sports."

Here's more from the site: "team sport designed for use in schools, recreation and fitness centers, rehabilitation clinics and even the military. The game is easy to play and allows men and women to compete on the same team. Because it is a co-ed sport, the rules are designed to prevent any bodily contact. Men and women can enjoy the game together without the risk of injury prevalent in most contact sports. The game emphasizes good strategy rather than physical prowess and generates a lot of creativity. There is no jumping and players can only use their hands, so they've got to rely on quick thinking and fast reflexes in order to win."


Hanet Ball

Hanet Ball? According to this press clip, Hanet Ball, invented by Fritz J. Valdeus, is played:
"...with two circular goals called 'pengoals' on opposite ends of a court, teams compete with seven players on each side, including a goalkeeper who stands inside the goal, which looks like a playpen. The remaining players use a pint-sized ball that must be bounce-passed to a teammate and players shoot at the opponent's pengoal from outside a circle surrounding the pengoal area.

"Anybody that can bounce-pass a ball and catch it can play Hanet Ball," Valdeus, 30, said. "That's how basic it is. But there's a lot more things involved than just a bounce pass. There's more than 40 different ways to pass the ball, but they all require a bounce."

The movement looks similar to movements in basketball. Players are allowed to hold the ball for five seconds or four steps. Fouls can result in two free shots at the pengoal, similar to a penalty kick in soccer or free throw in basketball. Games are divided into four 13-minute quarters.
This was about the clearest description of the sport itself that I could find. And yes, it seems to be very, very much in the same spirit as that of the just-previously-blogged sport of Socci.

But before we rush to judgment about which is what, I'd like to direct your attention to the passion that fuels the invention of a new sport, as revealed on a sidebar in the front page of the Hanet Ball Website:
Welcome to HANET BALL - The sport that brighten even light into your path. I, Fritz J. Valdeus personally welcome you on HANET BALL online, the sport that every one in Palm Beach & Broward County are talking about. The sport that excites and alternates the ways you exercise.
"The sport that brighten even light into your path." Whatever that means, it reveals something of the passion, the reach of the vision, the genuine nobility of the spirit that envisioned it into being. It's far more than someone trying to sell new sports equipment. It's someone trying to bring something new into the world - sports for fun, sports that more people can play, sports that are created to celebrate the human body, spirit and community.



"QOLF," (pronounced KWALF) is, according to the manufacturers, "an indoor/outdoor game that is a cross between golf and croquet." It is, again according to the manufacturers, a popular leisure game in South Africa, which "now comes to the U.S. as the ultimate family fun game, as well as a unique golf practice tool."

Heartened by all these promises of patently family-friendly goflike glee, now, at last, available indoors and out, one is drawn inexorably to a contemplation of the various implications of the vertical target with both hole and arch, especially when combined with the shot-shapable nature of the Qolfball.

There's been a lot of very focused playing around here. The path from golf to Qolf, clearly, was by no means direct. The goal here was not to come up with what one might consider a "new" game, but rather with a way for people to practice an old game in new environments. Replacing a golf cup with an arch (as in croquet), but still playing by the rules of golf (no, you don't get to knock your opponents' balls off the green) certainly make things a lot easier to set up. But adding an extra hole on top of the arch is what we in the game biz call a "significant variation." By managing to pitch the ball through the hole, the player gets bonus points, and a chance to pull closer to the lead. Thus sustaining hope almost all the way to the last stroke.

Not truly a Junkyard-like golfish thing, but inspiring significant golf-croquet-like contempation, nevertheless.


Frisbee Bowling, at least

Frisbee Bowling, from what may actually be, as advertised, the "Ultimate Camp Resource. I quote:

Use a few soda bottles, or plastic water bottles. You may want to put a little water in the bottom to weigh down the bottles. Lime them up as bowling pins, use the Frisbee to knock them down and score like regular bowling rules.


Frisbee, water bottles
OK, so not the most complete instructions. You could probably use two frisbees so that you could play a frame and aim for a spare, as it were. And maybe some boundary markers to indicate where the gutters are. In fact, you could probably also include a few trash cans or something for the frisbee to bounce off of. It would add a certain reflectivity to the whole thing - a miniature golf-like element, which, of course, makes one wonder about the frisbee golf/water bottle connection. Meanwhile, back at bowling, perhaps if you could skip the frisbee off the ground before it hits the waterbottles, you could get an extra point or two or multiple thereof. Of course, the whole thing could, in a similar manner, become a cricket-like experience. I suppose you'd have to use a squash racquet as a bat, don't you know.


Chess Boxing

Chess Boxing? Apparently, yes.

"The basic idea in chessboxing," explains the author of the op. cit. site, "is to combine the no.1 thinking sport and the no.1 fighting sport into a hybrid that demands the most of its competitors – both mentally and physically, yet which can be performed by easiest means. In a chessboxing fight two opponents play alternating rounds of chess and boxing. The fight goes over a maximum of 11 rounds, 6 rounds of chess and 5 rounds of boxing. The fight is either decided by checkmate or ko."

"The fight is either decided by checkmate or ko." One can only wonder.


Beep Baseball

Beep Baseball, according to American Association of Adapted Sports Programs, requires special equipment:

"The balls are large, 16-inch softballs with an implanted electronic beeping device so that players can gauge the location and movement of the ball. Bases are columns of foam rubber, four-feet tall, and at least seven inches across. Each base has a buzzer placed three-feet high that faces home plate and is operated remotely from behind home plate. The buzzer is, again, an auditory indicator for the players."

Beep Baseball is a serious sport, one designed so that the visually impaired can participate fully, passionately, and safely.

"Blindfolds," the AAASP continues, "are also an essential component of the equipment list."


You bet. Blindfolds that "...must incorporate a nose pad to eliminate the ability to peak down the side of the nose; each player must be blindfolded, regardless of the extent of their visual impairment."

Cool. Significantly cool. So everyone's equally handicapped. Which, in a way, means that no one is.

And this: "When a batter hits the ball, they will run to either first or third base, depending on which base has been remotely activated. This is done in random order; the batters are never sure which base to run to until they hear it beeping."

Perfect. A split-second of confusion. Just long enough to make things suddenly fun again. And maybe, as the other team races to field the ball, just the split-second they need to find it.

Sounds like a game that would be fun for anyone.

Seems like a significant achievement, this Beep Ball, the product of a deep understanding of play and sport and humanity.



Staredown? you ask. Yes, staredown, I respond. Staredown the children's game. Staredown the sport. Staredown the contest of wills. Professional staredown, such as the very same championed by the National Association of Staredown Professionals themselves.

The game. The sheer drama of it. As shown so compassionately in the freely downloadable documentary Unflinching Triumph.

Have no one to practice with? Click on over to a Virtual Staredown.

Thanks for the find, funscout Alex.



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.


Capture the Flag - city rules

Capture the Flag, Game One, Kensington Market, July 26, 2005, Toronto, Canada. Game one of three, so far as I can tell from the newmindspace site. A site, if I may say so, worth seeing. A generous site, describing not only how to play Capture the Flag in the middle of a city, but also how to have a subway party, for example, or, yes, a giant pillow fight, and even a city-wide Easter Egg fortune cookie poetry event.

But I like Capture the Flag the best. Because, I guess, I like the game, the poetry of it, the metaphor - the whole "jail" thing, with the guarding and desperation and heroism and laughter. And I especially appreciate the junkyardness of the way they adapted the rules, how they've incorporated not only the city into their vision, but also the "affordances" of city life - maps, cellphones, access to public and private transportation. And I like even more than that thinking about all sheer, silly drama of it all unfolding against a cityscape, waking everyone in a half-mile radius, hobo and executive, shopper and tourist, to the possibility of fun.



Crockey, according to the eponymous Wikipedia, is a baseball-like game in which everyone has a bat. The field is marked as illustrated. In addition, "there is the Crock" - "a regular softball encased in foam padding and wrapped in several layers of duct tape. A Nerf-type foam is typically used to pad the ball, and this is accomplished by slicing the foam ball in half, coring it to the size of the softball, and reassembling it around the softball with duct tape." (hence, our junktropic interest). On the only other Crockey-specific site I could find, I also learned the following:

"Crockey is much like volleyball or tennis. The ball is propelled back and forth across the midlines by each team. Each player may use a bat and other methods to propel the ball. If a team fails to return the ball to the other side, the other team scores one point."

and "In the game of crockey, having fun is the primary object. Winning is secondary, so let the younger players have a chance to have fun. Rotating gives every player a chance to play a different position."

Crockey bears all the marks of true, Junk-enabled fun. Hence, we hereby grant the title of Junkmaster to the game's inventors, Joshua and Josiah Inman of Seaman, Ohio. We thank you, Junkmasters Joshua and Josiah, for this gift of junkly fun.


Urban Golf, revisited

Now that we've awakened to the depth and reach of Junkyard Golf, we are now a bit more prepared to consider Urban Golf

The message on the home page: "everybody sucks. The worse you play, the more fun you have. And that's what this game is all about. Having fun, not winning."

An excerpt from their blog takes us deeper into the bizarre, and clearly fun-like reality of the Urban Golf Course Developer:

"So, finally, Big Mike and I scoped out a course near him on the decommissioned naval base in Alameda. Yesterday was our first official outing on the new course. It went well and the course is varied enough to be interesting, but it looks like this will be a daytime-only course due to the lack of sufficient lighting. It's quiet with very little traffic and hopefully not too toxic... "

One final moment of hard-won, Urban Golf-like wisdom, as explicated in the rules section of the website: "There is no one person in charge. You are not the leader of the group. Get over yourself. All decisions and adjustments to the game should be agreed upon by the golfers present. If you have a god complex, move to the mountains, start a cult, and stay the hell out of the way."


Cup Stacking - professional and amateur

There are, of course, official stacking cups, which have an anatomy specifically designed for Speed Stacking: holes in the bottom or top (depending on what part of the cup you think of as the bottom), special shoulder ribs, reinforced lips, textured high-grip surface...that sort of thing.

When it comes right down to it, the sport of cup stacking can be Olympic in its competitiveness and demand for performance. I "quote:" "Cup stacking is an exciting individual and team sport where participants stack and unstack 12 specially designed plastic cups (Speed Stacks) in pre-determined sequences. Individually, stackers race against the clock for fastest or best times. Stackers also compete on a relay team racing against another team in head-to-head competition. With practice, a person can stack at lightning speed that has to be seen to be believed!"

To me, the exciting thing about the sport of cup stacking is that it is so easy to junkify. Yes, there are Speed Stacks and special non-slip Stack Mats for practice or performance, an official clock and even mini-Speed Stacks. But you could, if you had to, use any cups, really. Paper. Styrofoam. Plastic. Ceramic even. And you could try to do it with four hands (two ambidextrous people simultaneously), for example, or seven, and try to beat your record rather than try to beat each other. You could probably even learn to do it with your eyes closed.



It's a lot like hockey with a whiffle ball and without the skates. You have a hockey-like stick. You have a whiffle ball. You're trying to get the ball into a hockey-like goal, passed the hockey-like goalie, who is kneeling. You are not, however, allowed to:
- hold, check, block or trip an opponent,
- hit, block, lift, push down or kick an opponents stick,
- hit the ball with the stick or foot above knee level,
- lift the stick above waist height,
- kick the ball twice.
- touch ball with hand
- jump up to reach ball
- passing stick between players legs
- play if body parts, other than feet, come in contact with floor.
It was, according to Floorball USA, played in Sweden in the early 1970s, and now attracts 1.5 million players world-wide. It was invented as a sport that could be played by both sexes, together. I just hope it stays that way.


Trash Basket Baseball

Cyrkam Airtos is a simple, and significantly challenging online game - and I mean significantly. Because aside from the significance of the challenge and all that is therein implied, it also signifies the "fun anywhere with anything" premise, which is central to junkyard sports and related junkly efforts. And, perhaps of even greater significance, it is a clear, virtual illustration of a game that you and your friends can play with real trash and real trash baskets.

You need: a chair, at least one trash basket, a pitcher, and a basket repositioner. You don't really need a chair. And, if pressed, you could probably play by yourself. However, the scenario depicted by the virtual game has more strategic depth, and is probably a lot more fun (especially if you're the kind of person who has more fun playing with other people than playing by yourself). You could easily add bases and more people to the game, should you so desire. Suppose you had several trash cans, for example. And each can was a different base. And the opposing team had basket repositioners for each basebasket.

You could even play this game on wheelchairs!

Thanks In4mador!, for noticing....


Newspaper Sumo

Clearly, Newspaper Sumo is yet another junkyard sport destined for the Junkyard Sports® Hall of Fame. The first newspaper-using sport, I might add.

The game was devised by some educators in Japan. I took a few liberties with the description of the game - modifying it only slightly to take it out of the classroom context.
1. Place a sheet of newspaper on the floor.

2. One stands on the edge of the paper. The other stands on the other side. Their backs are facing each other.

3. The asks a question (e.g. "How old are you?", "What's this?" etc.)

4. The first to answer correctly takes one half step back.

5. Repeat from 3 until....

6. When their feet touch, they stop. The says "Go!" and without turning round they have to push the other player off the newspaper!! Just like the real game of Sumo, the first person to touch any part of the ground outside of the "ring" (or newspaper) loses!

My respect for the playability of this Newspaper Sumo increased significantly when I read the author(s) comment: "The beauty of this game is that the kids love to play it themselves in their free time!"


Brof, Brockey and Plunger Ball

Always on the lookout for evidence of the junkyard sportly, I revel in the following:

Every school culture has a way of arriving at its own games of eccentric ingenuity. Found objects in the environment - a set of steps, a stick, a trash can, a ball of any kind - are inspiration for play, for sport, and for the relationships they weave. And Ralph Wales, my colleague for nine years, is my archetype of the school-game inventor.

First there was Brolf. Ralph and his sixth-graders would tee off from their classroom porch using dilapidated brooms, the bristles wound with a regulation 36-inch length of duct tape, and deflated volleyballs. Had to be deflated. The "pin" was the willow tree down in the swamp by the studio, and a good Brolfer could make it in, say, eight strokes, weather permitting. Brolfers are undeterred by wind, snow, sleet, or rain.

Then came Brockey, a hybrid of equal parts brooms, hockey rules, and the circus, which often turned into low and muddy fooling around when the teams of six faced off in the spring muck to try to drive the lightweight six-inch plastic ball through the regulation clown-shoe goals. The teachers who played this every day with the eighth-graders often wore foul-weather gear; however, many a post-recess class was conducted with squelching feet.

When it came to plunger ball (plumber's helpers, softball, two toilets - tankless), the school headmaster had to draw the line. The parents conducting admissions tours were hard-pressed to explain away the toilet "goals" in front of the library. Headmasters are contractually obliged to be Wonkham-Strongs on occasion.

From the article by Todd Nelson "The Importance of Having Fun"


Bicycle Tire Quoits

If you click on this image it'll get large enough to actually see. Upon careful observation, you'll eventually discover that the stuff on the top of the telephone pole is a pile of bicycle tires. This is fairly incontrovertible evidence of the international presence of a bicycle-tire toss sport, similar in structure to a game of Quoits, but clearly of junkly intent.

My son, the almost-doctor, alerted me to the sport of Bicycle Tire Quoits as a typically Dutch junkyard-style pastime. Looking for record of this activity on the web, I came across this photo, which, it turns out, is of the sport as played in Egypt.

Similar in spirit and affect to the international sport of Hang the Shoes on the Wire, Bicycle Tire Quoits represents a class of junkyard sports that are neither ecologically sensitive nor socially sanctioned, and yet are clearly fun. The closest parallel I've been able to draw is to the "extreme" junkyard sports as found in the Junkyard Sports Hall of Fame.

This leaves much to ponder.

Another ponderable: I know I said that I'd not be doing any more daily blogging until I came back from the Netherlands. And yet, here I am, in the Netherlands, in my son's office at the University of Delft, having access to high speed bandwidth, at last, and, well, I just couldn't let this opportunity be taken unadvantage of. Thus, I blog on.


Homemade Sports

When I wrote Junkyard Sports I had to make up maybe 100 games. I mean, actually invent them. All myself. I did it alone, but never without precedent. A site called "Homemade Sports," it and all seven of the sports they've so far documented, is one more validation of the nature, purpose and spirit of junkly sport-invention and all that is therein implied.

Witness, for example, KA Paddleball as submitted by Andrew "The Gaspumper" Wert on Dec 06, 2003:

Players: 2-6
Ages: All Ages
Equipment: 1 volleyball
2 pvc pipes (3/4" thick, 1' long)
2 plastic crates

The object is to put the volleyball in your opponent's plastic crate.

Created by Andrew "The Gaspumper" Wert in 2000. Claimed to be played by over 300 people in southern Oregon.

Place the plastic crates about 15' apart from each other. Choose two teams of people of there are more than two players. Each team stand behind one of the two crates.

Each player takes a turn hitting the volleyball with a PVC pipe, trying to get the volleyball to land into the opponent's crate.

• If the ball lands in the crate it's worth one point.

• If the ball hits a wall or an opponent and then goes in it's worth two points.

The current player can only hit the ball with the pipe - no hands or feet.

Driven to learn more about the who and why of this site, I wrote the author. Here was the response:

I'm a web designer, and I just get bored sometimes. That's about it. ;)



Epigroove http://www.epigroove.com
Babble http://www.playbabble.com
DozenHoles http://www.dozenholes.com
HMS http://www.homemadesports.com

Once more boredom paves the way to play!

Jamie has created a home for a collaboratively authored collection of invitations to play and reasons for people to go out and make their own games - out of junk, for fun.

Your Homemade Sports are invited.

Don't wait.




"The best roofball ball is one of those cheap, light-weight jobs, about 10 inches in diameter, with all the swirly colors. You find them at the drugstore, dollar store, toy store, and even the supermarket when they're "in season". Of course, you may use any sort of ball that works for you...The basic game is played by 2 opposing players. They are both positioned on the same side of the building with the roof in question. Let me spell that out clearly in the negative mode: the players do NOT play on opposite sides of the roof. One player hits the ball up on the roof. Gravity (whatever that is) causes the ball to slow down, stop, change directions, and then start back down the roof, picking up speed as it does so. After it comes flying over the edge of the roof, the other player is obliged to smack it back up on the roof. As in tennis, a player has the option of hitting the ball "on the fly" - that is, before it hits the ground - or else letting it bounce once on the ground before hitting it back to the roof."

There's more. There's lot's more. There's also this.


Urban Golf

Urban Golf. Some call it an "extreme sport," I call it "junkyardly." Very, very junkyardly. An embodiment of junkyardliness. Absolute junkyardification.

I quote from the site of the Urban Golf Association:

Who needs Pebble Beach? What's a master, anyway? Where's my Bullhorn?

From the people who brought you the Urban Iditarod, the Urban Golf Association brings you the 4th Bi-Annual Emperor Norton North Beach Open.

That's right folks, golfing in North Beach. Nine Holes, Nine Bars, and not a Nine Iron in sight. Bring any club you can find (a 3 iron is handy, but a putter is great) as we golf through the streets of San Francisco. Each hole offers fun urban challenges, hazards, and yes - even danger!

Why wait in annoying lines at Mini-putt course? Why suck up to 6AM tee times? The UGA (Urban Golf Association) offers you non-stop fun all day long, with plenty of watering holes for every putting hole."

Yes, yes, I know, it's an adult-only kind of thing, combining a plethora of potentially precarious putting with the increasingly debilitating joys of bar-hopping. So, it's not what you might consider a paragon of junkyardhood. But in every other aspect, in the creativity and spontaneity and sheer foolery of it all, it is an apotheosis of extreme junkyardliness.

Also known as Crossgolf, according to the BBC Sport Academy, traditional Urban Golfers (yes, it's been around that long - since 1992, at least) use a leather ball filled with goose feathers." I of course, would recommend the three-sack Sacky Sack.


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