Summer program includes sport stacking

Published 12:00 am Friday, June 22, 2007

DEMOPOLIS &8212; This week as part of the 21st Century Summer Enrichment Program at Westside Elementary School, a group of children 10-years-old and younger learned the fine art of sport stacking, a unique sport that is growing in popularity.

The idea to add this sport to the school&8217;s program came when Barbara Hill, community education director for Demopolis City Schools, attended a National After School Program Convention in Phoenix, Ariz., last year.

Other aspects of the sport are its ability to teach teamwork, cooperation and ambidexterity.

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Sport stacking, originally known as competition cup stacking, was begun in the 1980s by a boys and girls club in southern California. The sport gained some notoriety when the group was featured on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. The sport became so popular that The World Sport Stacking Association was founded in 1995. Now, they boast tournaments in the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, Australia and Japan.

At Westside Elementary, the sport is a relatively new addition. Markelle Smith, a student aide who regularly volunteers with the summer program, had to learn sport stacking in order to teach the children. Twelve-year-old Andrew Guin, who has been helping teach other children how to sport stack, first saw sport stacking on television.

The key to sport stacking is speed. Each competition is a race against the clock to stack and unstack cups in one of three groupings. There are three main types of stacks; the most complicated kind is known as the cycle stack.

Guin&8217;s best time in the cycle stack is 14.53 seconds. It&8217;s a bit shy of the world record, which is 7.41 seconds, but he is still practicing his time.

Sport stacking uses specially designed plastic cups that are optimal for quick-paced stacking.

Some of the participants in the sport stacking activity were Harrison Wood, Brett Blackburn, Ann Taylor Wood, Hunter Lewis, Adam Brooker and Ben Guin.