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Finding Inspiration

This is an excerpt from Junkyard Sports by Bernie DeKoven.

This is an excerpt from Junkyard Sports by Bernie DeKoven.


One of the key inspirations for the development of a junkyard sport is playing in the “wrong” environment with the “wrong” equipment. Stickball, for example, was invented so that kids could play baseball on the street. They didn’t have bats, so they made them out of sticks. They didn’t have gloves, so they used a rubber ball.

Trying to play soccer in a gym is just like trying to play baseball in the street. Certain things just don’t work as well--for example, the combined absence of soccer goals with the presence of basketball hoops. It almost begs the question, is it possible to score a basket soccer-style, without using your hands? In theory, definitely, given appropriate kicking and butting skills. In practice, unless you’re training a college basketball team, this is a little too much to expect.

Two more variables are who’s playing and the junk they’re playing with. The more significant of the two variables is who’s playing. You have to consider the playing preferences of a wide range of ages and abilities, which is always a good practice when creating a junkyard sport, because junkyard sports are for everybody. Then there’s the second variable, the junk. We need a ball, for sure. It could be any kind of ball--soccer ball, basketball . . . well, not a baseball. It could be a balloon or a super ball. Or a beach ball, perhaps. A beach ball has the added advantages of being light and slow, easy to kick and butt, and hard to get hurt by. It also has the disadvantage of being very hard to aim. Generally, you don’t have to run a lot to catch up with a beach ball. It’d certainly be a good choice for seniors, for players with limited mobility, and for kids.

Another thing about a beach ball is that it’s hard to take seriously. Its lightness gives the game a lightheartedness of its own. So if you use a beach ball, you’d need ways to aim the beach ball, especially if it’s supposed to land inside a basketball hoop in order to score (all right, so it can’t go through the basket, but it could land in it, and stay there, with a little help).

You could borrow an idea from curling. You could include brooms in your junk pile. Four brooms would be good--two for each team or one for every four players. Brooms can be used to guide the ball into the hoop and knock it out. Depending on how the brooms get used, they could also be a perfect invitation for active participation by people who use wheelchairs.

This is the evolution of the game Beach-Basket Soccer, located on page 36.

Read more from Junkyard Sports.