It's a junkyard out there
2019 Note: Our friend Bernie De Koven passed away on March 24, 2018. We have built a new area here on Streetplay to pay tribute to him, his spirit, and his ongoing legacy in the world of play as we celebrate our own Twentieth Anniversary. To learn more about Bernie, maybe the best place to start is his Wikipedia page, which we had the honor of creating (though it has been updated many times since!)
Junkyard sports is a colorful term evoking images of wacky games played with all kinds of funky materials. Truth is that while this activity is a bit offbeat, many of the games are quite recognizable. As the creator of the concept and self described "junkmaster" Bernie DeKoven explains, "Junkyard sports are 'real' sports and games played with the wrong equipment."
Many of us will recognize junkyard sports as a distillation of fundamental principles from our own childhood, where we would adapt a game like stickball to account for the vagaries of the specific field or teams. For kids, play is the thing that really matters and all obstacles can be woven in to be part of the game. Children naturally use their imagination to create new games for specific situations and can find adventure and opportunity in many common household items. What Bernie has done is to create a format safe enough for adults to give themselves permission to once again partake in this type of experience. The time needed is reasonable and the format is loose with just the right amount of structure to keep the flow positive and encourage all the players to play and have a good time.
We've asked Bernie to bring some of his junkyard sports ideas into Streetplay. We're hoping it will give our readers more opportunities for fun and help us expand the recognition in the power of play as a cultural bridge in this dangerous and yet wonderful world.
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