Bubblebags and Baggyballs

A bit of environmentally-sensitive playfulness for you and yours

Posted May 01, 2017

Bernard De Koven
Source: Bernard De Koven

This is a "Bubblebag." It is called a Bubblebag because it is made of a plastic grocery bag wrapped around a chunk of bubble wrap. Note, if you will, that there is no tape being used to keep everything together. Note again how the cunning use of the bag handles stretched over the bubble-wrap-containing bag makes possible the construction of a tight and durable ball cover. Yes, the ball could be rounder. However, after several many hours of deft experimentation, it became clear that bubblewrap resists being made into a round ball. And as the bubble wrap goes, so goes the Bubblebag.

Enough about the Bubblebag, except, perhaps, to note how wonderfully hit-uppable it is. Different than a balloon or beachball. Light, yet hefty. Clearly not round. Possessing properties. One could imagine oneself hitting the ball up in the air repeatedly, as if one were engaging in a sort of anti-dribble, bouncing up, where one would normally bounce down. This, it turns out, to be almost all the inspiration required to lead one inexorably towards the new, and profoundly playworthy Junkyard Sport of Baggyball.

Bernard De Koven
Source: Bernard De Koven

Here you see an image of a Bubbleball adjacent to a plastic shopping bag (this one donated by the very same Staples that sponsors that homage to the competitive spirit known locally as Staples Center). Note the relative size. It is somewhat central to the playability of the game that the bag is larger than the Bubbleball. Two such bags and one Bubbleball make up all the equipment you need to play Baggyball.

Baggyball, you see, is played very much like basketball, except for the following distinctions:

1. One dribbles up instead of down
2. The baskets are bags, and are held by players, who position themselves anywhere they want throughout the court (because it's too boring to pretend to be an immobile basket, and it makes the game a lot more fun and strategically complex if the baskets can run around). This makes the basket actually a member of your team. And a key member, at that.
3. The game can be played anywhere, on sand or grass, or even a basketball court.

I first played this with a bunch of amazing elementary school kids who volunteered to help me out at a demo session for the AAHPERD (American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance) conference held last month in Chicago. Once I demonstrated the basic dribble technique and the mobile bag-basket concept, they figured out everything else. And they didn't want to stop playing. And they laughed a lot.

It is possible that it is also legal to kick the ball.

About the Author

Bernard De Koven is the author of The Well-Played Game. He writes on theories of fun and playfulness and how they affect personal, interpersonal, community and institutional health.

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