By Mary O’KEEFE
In a blur of plastic in colors of pink, blue and black Monte Vista Elementary School students participated in the World Sport Stacking Association’s attempt to break the Guinness World Record for “Most People Sport Stacking at Multiple Locations in One Day.”
On Nov. 12 the students joined other sport stackers from around the world in this fast moving sport.
What? You have never heard of Sport Stacking? It is a fast growing sport that began in southern California in the 1980s, according to Speed Stacks website.
The sport has grown in popularity throughout the world with 241,779 stackers counted so far that participated in trying to set the 2009 world record.
Stackers must rapidly move specially designed cups from one side to the other creating different combinations and then collapse them all together in mere seconds.
“It’s fun. It helps with coordination,” said student Taylor Pasohal.
Students race against the clock and each other to complete their stacking. Will Brookey clocked in at 7.12 seconds while Chris Wood stacked in 10.71 seconds.
Like all major sports Sport Stacking has a sponsor, Wonderful Pistachios.
“This sport is a little under the radar,” said Joan Wickham, Wonderful Pistachios spokeswoman.
The company supplied shirts and other gifts for the event.
“The sport is a little quirky like pistachios are a little quirky nut. It seemed like a match,” Wickham said.
Physical education teacher Roger Sondergaard brought the Sport Stacking craze to the school.
“For the last three years Monte Vista has been involved in stacking,” he said.
The kids learn to stack during P.E. class and this world record event was like a having a stacking festival, Sondergaard said.
“We have about 300 kids participating in the event. The kids love it and some of them are so fast,” Principal Susan Hoge said.
The event had several stations including the large relay stack where kids stacked large bucket-size cups. Then there were the mini cups, about the size of shot glasses, and competitive stacking.
“We had fourth, fifth and sixth graders compete and some visiting Rosemont kids,” Sondergaard said. “Young Paek, now a seventh grader, is one of our fastest from Monte Vista,” Sondergaard said.
Paek is training to be the fastest kid in California to eventually compete at the world championship in Colorado, he added.
Sondergaard’s classes at Dunsmore and Valley View elementary schools also participate but more students are part of the sport at Monte Vista.
“We actually got involved in speedstack.com who are located in Colorado. Anytime they need stackers for media they call us. The kids have been on a Disney show and local news.
Students took the sport very seriously, some breaking out in a sweat as their hands crisscrossed the plastic cups.
“I practiced a little at home,” said fifth grader Indira Evans as she stepped up to another competition station. “This is really fun.”