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Junkyard Sports: The Blog

Maze Zing

Maze Zing mazes are made of real objects. Exactly like the Gone Fishin' maze in this illustration, actually made out of actual fish hooks. Fish hooks!

Created by Jeff Montayne, these mazes are testimonies to the man's playfulness, patience, and ability to scrounge. He explains:
"The mazes were set up for the picture and then taken apart immediately after. Most of the objects in the mazes were purchased through Internet auctions and from local stores. I am looking forward to hunting through yard sales for items as I continue to create more intriguing mazes. I got the idea for creating the mazes one Saturday while reading books with my little cousins, Kayleigh and Taryn. We exhausted our collection of picture puzzle books and began searching the house for items to make our own picture puzzles...Using my digital equipment, I spent a Saturday building and photographing four picture puzzles to entertain Kayleigh and Taryn. I didn’t want to recreate what someone else had already done, so I began experimenting with my own styles. The four pictures I created kept the kids amused for a while but I quickly learned that my work would never be finished. They wanted more and more. Thus, Maze Zing was born."
The mazes in Maze Zing represent many small, but brilliant contributions to the World Maze. Montayne's discovery that little bits of stuff can make great mazes, that different stuff has different properties which lends itself to different kinds of mazes, that the digital camera makes temporary things permanent...each and all opened new doors for maze play. And Montayne's willingness to be guided by his cousins' playfulness demonstrates once again how children can lead us into new forms of art and play, and how love can make it so much worth doing.

from Bernie DeKoven, funsmith

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Junk, art, and fun

I'm thinking there's something inherently fun about the junk-art connection. I'm thinking that if you, in your virtual way, toured the Brian Jungen Gallery you'd come up with virtually the same conclusion. Nike art. How, well, artistic. And how, let's see, how
clever, how effective, how well-crafted, how unique, how ecologically sensitive, how commercially potent, how politically relevant, how, hmm, fun.

And perhaps even more spectacularly artistic and funny, his Plastic Chair Whale Skeleton.

So what I'm beginning to conclude is this: the junk-art connection is a big one, it connects this part of our brain with that part, this part of our culture with that, truth with beauty with profound silliness. Look for it. Nurture it. Enjoy it.


funscouting by neatorama.

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Funderbirds, etc.

This 24-page, illustrated and PDF'd booklet describes how to make and play Featherball. Yes, yes, it's a shuttlecock, all right, familiar to all those who've ever played or wondered about badminton. Yet badminton itself is only one of a vast, international panoplay of shuttlecockish pastimes.
there's "Funderbirds," for example, a non-competitive game, similar to the perhaps far more familiar game of Peteca (which you, of course, might know better as Indiaca), only played without a net or court, like the bimillenially-played, Southeast Asian game of Chapteh but not like Jianzi, except no one is eliminated.

It is but one of many instructively playful resources awaiting those who download from it from Teamwork and Teamplay available to the connected many through the expertise, good will and generosity of Jim Cain, Ph.D.

funscouting by Roger Greenaway, author of the provocative and appropriately playful piece Reviewing for Fun.


from Bernie DeKoven's FunLog

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Junkyard Jacks

There's an older version of the game of Jacks, called Fivestones. It's Jacks, all right, but played with, well, stones. Five of them.

Sure, sure, everyone remembers Tali, the Fivestones-like game Roman kids and gods purportedly played, with, well, goat knuckles. (And beautiful goat knuckles they were.) But it's the stones version to which we need pay the majority of our collective attention. Because it's played, see, with stones. In other words, junk. The very kind of junk upon which Junkyard Sports is so amusingly built. Found junk. Free junk. Everyday, all around you junk.

It's Junkyard Jacks, is what it is. And it you can't find rocks, bottle caps will do, and if you can't find bottle caps, coins would certainly do, and if you can't find coins, God bless you. In fact, if you can't play Jacks, you can change the rules to exactly the Jacks-like game you play best. Like, maybe, One Jack. Or Horizontal (no throwing) Jacks. Or, for the Post-Apocalympic-minded, Three-Handed Jacks.

from Bernie DeKoven's FunLog

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About Junkyard Sports

I had the good fortune to meet Dr. Juico a few weeks ago. We discussed how Junkyard Sports could provide an opportunity for people in the Philippines to celebrate their own culture, and perhaps be encouraged to become more involved in athletics. He recently published this article. I quote enthusiastically:
Junkyard Sports emphasizes fun and creativity, teamwork and leadership, inclusion (as opposed to exclusion and exclusivity) and adaptability, compassion and acceptance, humor, playfulness and community. The activities are designed not only to engage mind and body but also to help participants develop the arts of collaboration and effective teambuilding, acquire leadership, and experience the power and practicality of using problem solving and the scientific method.

The Preface to "Junkyard Sports" states that "Junkyard Sports" is a play on a TV series called Junkyard Wars. Like junkyard sports, Junkyard Wars is a team effort, requiring ingenuity and collaboration in the use of found materials. The similarity stops there. Junkyard sports are not wars or even competitions, and the purpose is not to build machines but to build community.

As one goes over the book, one realizes that it is a collection of ideas for new, fun and challenging invitations to sports. For example, when looking in the baseball section of the book, you will see a baseball-like demonstration game played with a tennis racket for a bat, a beach ball for a ball, five traffic cone bases, and the batter sitting on a gym scooter.

Each demonstration game really is a collection of innovative principles — ideas that can be used to create other demonstration games. Borrowing the gym-scooter idea, one suddenly has a new way to play soccer or basketball. Every demonstration game gets refined as it is played. In refining the demonstration game, players create a new demonstration game, which in turn results in the creation of another and another.

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Cardboard Box Maze

It's a maze made out of cardboard boxes. Constructed, according to the terse description, "out of cardboard boxes, duct tape, and 300 bolts. The maze spans two rooms and a hallway." (See this for a larger, annotated image.) Cardboard-box-maze-making being a minor passion of my son and his family, I cannot but applaud the joyous absurdity of the abovementioned.

Bolts? Cardboard box bolts? Yeah, like these.



Thanks for the find, Boing Boing

from Bernie DeKoven's FunLog

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Shopping Carts of Art, Hubcaps of Playfulness

Take, for exmple, the Shopping cart art of Ptolemy Elrington. Contemplate, if you will, the depth of the artist's knowledge of shopping cart architecture. Note the consummate skill, the intimacy of the dialogue between form and substance, sculpture and cart. Now consider the artist's collection of Hubcap Creatures. One could only say the same.

Mr. Erlington is an artist who understands playfulness. He knows his junk. He knows what it will let itself be made into, and then he plays with it, right there, right at the edge, always honoring the essential junkitude of his medium, junk and artist making something new together, something lovely, something fun.




funscouting by Joel

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Junkyard PE?

Using Scoops and Cups in Physical Education is but one of a generous collection of Huey Pearson's Ideas for Elementary Physical Education and Wellness. The one in the picture is Huey's "Side by Side Milk Jug," or, as I like to refer to it, Two Sawed-Off Milk Jugs Glued Together

Huey suggests that you "try these challenges":

1. Toss a ball from one side to the other.
2. Try the challenge with your non-dominant hand.
3. Bounce the ball and catch it with the right side.
4. Bounce the ball and catch it with the left side.
5. Try it with a partner.
6. Toss a ball to a wall and catch with the right scoop.
7. Toss a ball to a wall and catch with the left scoop.

And then try any of the hundreds of Huey's clearly fun, delightfully junk-based. and signifcantly physical gifts to the general wellness.

Huey Pearson. Defender of the Playful.

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Laundry Balls

According to this article, a game often referred to as "Norwegian Golf" (a.k.a. Arizona Golf Balls, Australian Horseshoes, Ball Dangle, BlongoBall, Bola, Bolo, Bolo Ball, Bolo Golf, Bolo Polo, Cowboy Golf, Dandy Golf, Dingle Balls, Flingy Ball, Gladiator, Golfball Horseshoes, Hillbilly Golf, Hillbilly Horseshoes, Horseballs, Ladder Ball, Ladder Game, Ladder Toss, Monkey Balls, Monkey Bars Golf, Montana Golf, Norwegian Golf, Norwegian Horseshoes, Pocca Bolo, Polish Golf, Polish Horsehoes, Poor Man's Golf, Rattlerail Toss, Redneck Golf, Rodeo Golf, Slither, Snake Toss, Snakes, Snakes & Ladders, Spin-It, Swedish Golf, The Snake Game , Testical Toss, Tower Ball, Willy Ball, and Zing-Ball) is actually called "Bolo Toss" or "Ladder Golf."

Searching for the commercial branches for the potential junkyard roots of this multi-named, outsider sport, I found myself constructing my very own set of bolo balls. Two superballs, some plastic wrap a couple of rubberbands, and, as herein depicted, voilà bolo balls. And then, as I went out to show Rocky (depicted above) my new achievement in junkitude, I couldn't help but notice the bolo-ball target-like qualities of that laundry drying thing we use. I threw. They twirled and bounced and wrapped around one of the laundry drying thing's sticks, and it was as if the game destined to be known as "Laundry Balls" invented itself. Which it did. And so did I.

Given the above, next time someone asks you if you know how to play Norwegian Golf, please ammend your standard response to: "do you, by any chance, mean Australian Horseshoes, Ball Dangle, BlongoBall, Bola, Bolo, Bolo Ball, Bolo Golf, Bolo Polo, Cowboy Golf, Dandy Golf, Dingle Balls, Flingy Ball, Gladiator, Golfball Horseshoes, Hillbilly Golf, Hillbilly Horseshoes, Horseballs, Ladder Ball, Ladder Game, Ladder Toss, Laundry Balls, Monkey Balls, Monkey Bars Golf, Montana Golf, Norwegian Golf, Norwegian Horseshoes, Pocca Bolo, Polish Golf, Polish Horsehoes, Poor Man's Golf, Rattlerail Toss, Redneck Golf, Rodeo Golf, Slither, Snake Toss, Snakes, Snakes & Ladders, Spin-It, Swedish Golf, The Snake Game, Testical Toss, Tower Ball, Willy Ball, or Zing-Ball?"

By the way, these plastic-wrapped, rubber-band-tied super balls are significantly fun in and of their own right, bouncing, as they do, and spinning, as they also do, in a visually pleasing, oft humorously unpredictable manner, whilst simultaneously displaying far tamer bounciness and more catchable properties than the single super ball.

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Sneaker Art, and plastic chairs, too

I'm thinking there's something inherently fun about the junk-art connection. I'm thinking that if you, in your virtual way, toured the Brian Jungen Gallery you'd come up with virtually the same conclusion. Nike art. How, well, artistic. And how, let's see, how
clever, how effective, how well-crafted, how unique, how ecologically sensitive, how commercially potent, how politically relevant, how, hmm, fun.

And perhaps even more spectacularly artistic and funny, his Plastic Chair Whale Skeleton.

So what I'm beginning to conclude is this: the junk-art connection is a big one, it connects this part of our brain with that part, this part of our culture with that, truth with beauty with profound silliness. Look for it. Nurture it. Enjoy it.


funscouting by neatorama.

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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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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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Fork Art

Think of it as Fork Art. It's logical, actually, that you might think of it in those terms, since the name of the site is FORK-ART.com, the products are very much like works of art, folk art, perhaps, but fork art, definitely, because the material that is used in creating these works of forky art is actually, as one might suspect, forks, metal forks. Take a look, for another example, at this fork dragon, for example, or fork helicopter, for another, or even the fork dentist.

So, ye Protectors of the Planet, yes, all of ye, ye Recyclers of Hope, next time you think about bringing public notice to our endless capacity to produce junk, think also about celebrating our equally endless abilities to turn junk into art.

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