Stacking Up

By Dedra Cordle
Staff Writer

Messenger photo by Dedra Cordle Gianna Nickoloff concentrates as she and her fellow students at Park Street Intermediate try to break the world record in sport stacking. The goal of the event, which took place in November, was to have 600,000 students from around the world participate in sport stacking over the course of one day.
Messenger photo by Dedra Cordle
Gianna Nickoloff concentrates as she and her fellow students at Park Street Intermediate try to break the world record in sport stacking. The goal of the event, which took place in November, was to have 600,000 students from around the world participate in sport stacking over the course of one day.

Open space was hard to find on the floor of the gymnasium at Park Street Intermediate.

Everywhere you looked, there were cups. There were yellow ones, green ones, blue ones and pink ones scattered around. Some had a metallic finish to them while others sported cool designs such as world maps and flames.

With a passing glimpse through the doorway, a conclusion could be made that a pep rally had gone terribly wrong. Upon further inspection, one could clearly see that it was nothing but organized and colorful chaos.

Spread throughout the four corners of the gymnasium was students hard at work in front of those cups. Though they took breaks to laugh at what they were doing and tease their friends, a look of determination was seen across each of their faces. They knew this day was coming and they wanted to be a part of history.

Weeks earlier, Mike Kusan, the school’s physical education teacher, told them that they would be trying to break a world record as a part of Guinness World Record Day. The event they would be participating in was sport stacking.

Some of the students had limited knowledge of sport stacking. Some have been doing it for years. Gianna Nickoloff falls into the latter category.

“I’ve been doing this for about three years,” said the sixth grader.

Nickoloff said she loves the competitive aspect of the sport.

“You really have to focus and try to be as fast as you can.”

At her location on the floor, she flew through the patterns and gained a small crowd. Then she got up and helped some friends that were having some difficulties with the intricacies of sport stacking.

It was not a day for competing against each other – that will happen at the end of the year in a school-wide contest – but the number of 555,932, which is how many students from around the globe participated in the sport stacking challenging last year.

It was a number and that number fell that day.

“There were 556,401 students (globally) that stacked cups,” said Kusan. “The goal was 600,000 so we were short, but they are still trying to verify some schools.”

He said his students were thrilled to learn they were world record breakers.

While Guinness World Record Day has come and gone, Kusan said students should get accustomed to sport stacking as it is becoming an integral part of the physical education curriculum.

Kusan said he did not believe the sport could offer much until he tried it for himself.

“I was terrible,” he said. “I think I’m good at almost everything related to physical education and I struggled with learning sport stacking. That’s why I was so intrigued by it.”

After practicing and learning more about the sport, Kusan realized that though it may look a bit silly, stacking does have its merits.

“It helps with focus, reading and math skills, bilateral proficiency and memory,” he said.
It has even been a hit with the Park Street students.

“I would say 99 percent of the kids love it.”

He said the 1 percent that does not likely have a fear of failing or they feel vulnerable being exposed to something new like sport stacking.

“It will challenge you but one always gets better with practice.”

He said he would keep a station up in the gym for students who want to learn or want to improve. After all, there are school and world records waiting to be broken.

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