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Junkyard Sports Community

This is an excerpt from Junkyard Sports by Bernie DeKoven.

This is an excerpt from Junkyard Sports by Bernie DeKoven.

As the concept of junkyard sports takes hold, a community of junkyard sports players will form around it. Because junkyard sports invite participation across ages and across abilities, this community can grow very large very quickly.

Junkmasters' Guild

The more successful your junkyard sports program, the more likely it is that some of the people in your program will want to carry it forward into their own neighborhoods, acting as junkmasters for friends and family. This is good for everyone because it helps them find ways to play with anyone, anywhere. It's good for their community because it leads to more opportunities to get more people into play. It's good for you because these junior junkmasters become a source of new ideas and fresh energy, allowing you to move from a position of responsibility to one of shared responsibility and freeing you to focus on those who are most in need of your guidance and creativity.

It's to your advantage to encourage this shift in responsibility every way you can. Invite people to talk about their own experiences in creating or facilitating junkyard sports. Invite the most enthusiastic to meet with you after hours to discuss how they might contribute to the expansion of the junkyard sports program. These people become the core group for forming a junkyard sports club. They can become key organizers for your community junk-gathering efforts, co-facilitators during your junkyard sports sessions, and co-coordinators for community junkyard sports festivals.

Going Public

The best way to guarantee the success of your junkyard sports program is to involve as much of the community as you can reach: students and their families, local businesses, neighborhood clubs, and service organizations. One way to involve the greater community is to ask them for things, as in the socks and pantyhose drive described in chapter 2. Another way is to give them something in return, like a couple of exceptional hours of play, creativity, and celebration. This is what we call a community festival. And it's the most logical and best possible evolution of your junkyard sports initiative. It gives everyone who played and invented junkyard sports an opportunity to celebrate and be celebrated. Because they will have to tailor their approach specifically to the event and the players, it gives them further incentive for developing and refining their understanding of junkyard sports.

If you plan on inviting hundreds of participants (and why not?), your junkmasters in training need to develop junkyard sports that lots of different people can play. They have to scour the community for festival-worthy resources. What kinds of scrap are being produced? Is there a carpet store with lots of carpet tubes to get rid of? (You know, those things that carpets get rolled around--giant toilet-paper cores, some of which are 15 or 20 feet long. Just perfect for group javelin throws, or giant pickup sticks, or a really big game of Capture the Flag.) Cardboard -cartons? Shoeboxes? Fabric? Newsprint?

Structurally, you follow the same festival format we've already described: many different sports going on simultaneously with players free to go from game to game. The sports and the junk are more varied so that a variety of activities are available--tabletop soccer, beach-ball tennis, sock-ball football. Fill the spaces surrounding the sports events with music and food. Whenever possible, have local community groups supply food (at a modest price) and local artists provide music.

Read more from Junkyard Sports.

More Excerpts From Junkyard Sports