pop pop pop pop pop…whoosh, whoosh…slam!
I’m sorry, but I just can’t find a way to accurately describe the thrilling sound of sport stacking. The excitement and electricity that flows through the stackers as they up-stack cups then down-stack in specified configurations, all while racing the clock, just can’t be conveyed in mere words.
This Saturday, February 28, is the WSSA Great Lakes & Hoosier State Sports Stacking Championships held in Connersville, Indiana. Imagine rows and rows of tables covered in stack mats and cups with over 200 competitors waiting to give their best at the various stacking events. Stackers range in age from preschoolers to adult, including a Special Stacker division, all vying for the top positions in their age categories. Eagerness, excitement, nervousness…it’s all there! I should know. Not only have my kids been participants, but so have I.
When I first got a flyer home from school with a kid eagerly asking me to buy a set of stacking cups, I said, “No way! Why do you need special cups to make cup-pyramids?” Sounded like a waste of money and a waste of time. But then something happened. I actually learned about the sport of sport stacking. A representative from Speed Stacks (the official cups of the World Sport Stacking Association) came to our school and presented an assembly which I attended. I learned about the rules and the various individual and team events in the sport. I watched hypnotically as kids raced through the stacks and marveled at their speed. I cheered as the students did relays against the teachers. Most importantly, I learned about the benefits of sport stacking. Sure there is the obvious motor skills used, teamwork, and confidence-building, but because it uses both hands equally, it makes both sides of your brain work. Hand-eye coordination is developed. Many athletes, especially, basketball players, have seen the benefits of stacking as a form of training. I also learned of the special design of Speed Stacks: weighted and with holes to allow air-flow and prevent cups from sticking together.
After that, the kids got their own stacking cups. The house was soon filled with the clacking of plastic cups as the kids practiced everyday after school. It wasn’t long before I took my chances and gave it a try. The trick is to work on fundamentals. Get the flow down, know the different stacks, learn the tricks of the trade before you work on the speed. I was hooked, too, practicing at the kitchen table after the kids had gone to bed. By the time the next Spring came around, sports stacking fever had swept through our school and we found ourselves hosting the first statewide Hoosier State Sports Stacking Championship in 2009.
Each year since, the tournament has grown by leaps and bounds, drawing stackers from several states as well as Canada. Under the outstanding direction of our coach and tournament director, Lisa Hauger, and an endless cast of volunteers, the success of this tournament caught the eyes of the powers-that-be at the World Sports Stacking Association (WSSA) and changed to the WSSA Great Lakes Regional & Sports Stacking Championships in 2013. Many state records, as well as some national and world records, have been set at this tournament. (I don’t mean to toot my own horn, but I have a state record or two, and so does my oldest daughter. My middle daughter is a past state record holder.) It is a fun day with great talent to watch, too, as there are usually several members of Sports Stacking Team USA.
This year’s tournament is set to be equally exciting. Spectators are welcome to attend. It would be a great family outing! Here’s what you need to know:
BUT…If you want to win TWO FREE TICKETS to Saturday’s competition, simply leave a reply below to this post. One lucky commenter will be randomly chosen and receive two tickets to the WSSA Great Lakes & Hoosier Sports Stacking Championship on Saturday, February 28. Deadline is Friday, February 27 at 5:00 P.M. EST. Winner will be notified by email. One entry per day. Give it a try!!!
If you are still confused about what sports stacking is, here is a small sample. This video was taken at the Hoosier State Sports Stacking Championship in 2011. (I don’t own the video. I’m just sharing it from Youtube to show you the kind of talent that comes to this tournament.) Michael comes from a very talented stacking family. Although this video is several years old, he still holds several national records. DON’T BLINK or you might miss it!