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Junkyard Sports Paperback – August 23, 2004

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 184 pages
  • Publisher: Human Kinetics; 1 edition (August 23, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0736052070
  • ISBN-13: 978-0736052078
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.4 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #574,021 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


Junkyard Sports is a collection of activities students can play, and use to create their own sport from their experiences. Students can take previous sport knowledge, play with a different piece of equipment or "junk" within that game, and create a new sport. Every junkyard sport is a combination of rules from different sports, and another sport's equipment or toy. Winning is not determined by points, but playing together is winning.

The book is presented in two parts: Introducing and Implementing Junkyard Sports, and The Junk Master's Guide. Part one has three chapters, and the first chapter explains the purpose and benefits of playing junkyard sports. The second chapter describes the people, place, junk, and games of junkyard sports. There are 120 junk items listed to start your program. The final chapter provides ground rules and teaching strategies for implementing a successful program.

The Junk Master's Guide section has 6 chapters containing versions of junkyard activities that relate to soccer, basketball, baseball, hockey, football, and volleyball. Almost every junkyard activity includes rules from one sport, and equipment from another sport. DeKoven describes 7 ways to make games more fun:

1. Instead of two teams, add a third or take one away. 2. Change sides when one team gets too many points. 3. If there are turns, take them at the same time (serving the ball). 4. Play pointless, or keep scoring until you have a second, third, and last place. 5. Change it if it isn't fun. Take a rule away or add a rule, take a ball out or add more, or do something silly. 6. Try it with a blindfold, one hand, or the non-dominate hand. 7. Cheat (if it makes the game better).

All the games have a small description of the goal, number of players, the space needed, junk items needed, the setup, safety, and coaching tips. Some of the activities have a drawing to describe the setup. One activity in the soccer chapter is called Beach-Basket Soccer. It is a soccer version of basketball using a very light ball. Broomies (goalies, but with two brooms) must use both brooms (or mops, yardsticks, or broom handles) to try and stop the beach ball, balloon, or kickball from going into the basket (hoop or a garbage can). Players may not touch each other, and goalies need their own space. Getting hit by a broom is a foul and a new broomie takes over the brooms! Another coaching tip is to try more than one ball, or to add more brooms and baskets.

This easy to read and use, friendly paperback book would be a 5 star for recreation leaders and elementary physical education teachers. The cooperative activities provide a valuable collection for various populations. -- http://www.pelinks4u.org/bookreviews/junkyardSports.htm

Everytime I tell someone about Bernie DeKoven's brilliant new concept of Junkyard Sports, the other person's eyes light up, and he invariably says, "What a great idea!" And then he looks at me as if I've just given him a gift. -- Matt Weinstein, Emperor, Playfair Inc., author, Managing To Have Fun

I am predicting that Bernie's new book will start a revolution that will change the way sports is played around the world. -- Sivasailam (Thiagi) Thiagarajan

The sports in DeKoven's book give people a chance to play and have fun together without necessarily worrying about who wins and who looses. Perhaps as important, it also gives participants a chance to run around, burn up some energy and improve their level of fitness. -- Larry Magid, Larry on Fitness

This book by Bernie DeKoven has just been published by Human Kinetics. The eye-catching title doesn't explain a lot. The subtitle explains everything: 'Make sports fun again! -- Roger Greenaway, Reviewing Skills Training

This easy to read and use, friendly paperback book would be a 5 star for recreation leaders and elementary physical education teachers. The cooperative activities provide a valuable collection for various populations. -- P.E. Links 4U

While in Los Angeles three weeks ago, I was finally able to meet Bernie DeKoven. I first "met" DeKoven when I was still writing this same column for another broadsheet. He emailed me to say that he was amazed that somewhere in the world there was someone who shared his ideas on the primacy of participation over competition when it comes to play and sports.

In "Junkyard Sports -- Make sports fun again!," one of two books that have been written by DeKoven, the other being "The Well-Played Game: A playful path to wholeness," DeKoven is described as "being serious about having fun and helping others have fun too."

DeKoven has been reinventing sports for more than 35 years by modifying rules and equipment of existing popular sports to make them more player friendly and to emphasize participation and fun rather than dog-eat-dog type competition. He has designed curriculum for more than 1,000 children's games and developed the training program for the New Games Foundation.

Although the New Games Foundation does not exist anymore, the concept of New Games has had a worldwide effect on physical education and recreation.

DeKoven, who has a Master of Arts in theater from Villanova University, has invented almost every kind of game -- educational, entertainment, digital, physical, social, mental -- for companies such as Mattel Toys and the Children's Television Workshop. He is a member of the Association for the Study of Play.

Junkyard Sports emphasizes fun and creativity, teamwork and leadership, inclusion (as opposed to exclusion and exclusivity) and adaptability, compassion and acceptance, humor, playfulness and community. The activities are designed not only to engage mind and body but also to help participants develop the arts of collaboration and effective teambuilding, acquire leadership, and experience the power and practicality of using problem solving and the scientific method.

The Preface to "Junkyard Sports" states that "Junkyard Sports" is a play on a TV series called Junkyard Wars. Like junkyard sports, Junkyard Wars is a team effort, requiring ingenuity and collaboration in the use of found materials. The similarity stops there. Junkyard sports are not wars or even competitions, and the purpose is not to build machines but to build community.

As one goes over the book, one realizes that it is a collection of ideas for new, fun and challenging invitations to sports. For example, when looking in the baseball section of the book, you will see a baseball-like demonstration game played with a tennis racket for a bat, a beach ball for a ball, five traffic cone bases, and the batter sitting on a gym scooter.

Each demonstration game really is a collection of innovative principles -- ideas that can be used to create other demonstration games. Borrowing the gym-scooter idea, one suddenly has a new way to play soccer or basketball. Every demonstration game gets refined as it is played. In refining the demonstration game, players create a new demonstration game, which in turn results in the creation of another and another.

The main impetus for DeKoven's advocacy of junkyard sports is that it leaves a lot of room for inventing one's own sport. Junkyard sports are what they are because the sports themselves are throwaway. They're junk compared to the treasured experience of inventing a sport that brought everything and everyone together in fun.

DeKoven is interested in getting senior citizens, young people and those with disabilities to play together. He aims to get people to create junkyard sports for the tri athlete to play with a person who uses a wheelchair, and the preschool child to play with the adult. His interest is in sports where the focus is on playing together and in celebrating everyone's abilities.

I share DeKoven's views that as schools reduce the scope of physical education to sports and calisthenics, as more parents force their children into organized sports for which they have neither the skill nor the inclination, we find ourselves with a growing population of sedentary, obese, disenfranchised, isolated kids who lack basic physical and social skills. Entering the community and the workforce, these people find themselves unable to function as part of a team or to muster the physical and mental stamina necessary to reach their goals. Lack of teamwork is, by the way, one of the reasons why this country has tremendous difficulty putting its act together.

Junkyard sports therefore give people a way to have fun together. It really doesn't matter what people are playing. It also doesn't matter who wins what. What matters is that they are all engaged, challenged, involved, and enjoying themselves and each other. As far as we're concerned, fun is the whole reason for playing the sport. Junkyard sport is an invitation to have fun with each other, with one's bodies, abilities, minds and hearts. It is an opportunity to create new, funny sports for which winning isn't the point. Playing together is.

Using the philosophy of junkyard sports, the vision of a Festival of Play has come into the horizon. Without giving minute details, the envisioned festival is a public gathering that combines spectacle with people empowerment, recognizes athletic achievement and affirms the human capacity to play without compromising values and ethics in sport, manifests social justice, equitable development, gender equity, entrepreneurship and provides a venue for new ideas of indigenous artisans of all ages.

One of the concerns of the festival is to include the discards, the things that get thrown away, objects and even lives that get thrown away: the children-at-risk, the adults, elderly, the disabled, the neglected, the forgotten.

The object of the festival is to bring people together. Sports bring people together and the festival of sports will celebrate community and working towards a common goal. And have fun doing it. -- The Philippine STAR


The joy of learning has been driven underground and with it much of the pleasure of teaching...Junkyard Sports brings them to the surface again."

-Herb Kohl
Author of 36 Children

"Bernie DeKoven continues to provide mankind with ideas to have fun. He is a master at stimulating the creativity and imagination in all of us. This inventive, clever, and brilliant contribution is his latest to making our lives more fun. It's a must read for every recreation leader and parent!"

-Jonathan Korfhage
Superintendent of Parks & Recreation in Foster City, California and a past president of the National Park & Recreation Association

"I think DeKoven is a modern day alchemist. In this book, he magically shows readers how to turn a junkyard into gold mine. What a joyful world this would be if we all read this book and followed his advice."

-Dr. Allen Klein
Author of The Healing Power of Humor and The Courage to Laugh

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By GREENAWAY on August 22, 2004
Format: Paperback
The subtitle explains everything: 'Make sports fun again!'

All sports started out as fun. Then they got organised. And during their transformation into sports with rules, competitions, prizes and professionals, much of the fun disappeared.

For those familiar with the 'Cooperative Sports' or 'New Games' movements this is not a new message. What is new is the idea of getting participants to design new games that they can then enjoy playing and adapting as they go. The idea of adapting popular sports provides a handy short cut - and appeals to the subversive in us all.

Because Junkyard Sports encourages players' own creativity, the process described in the opening pages could lead to hundreds of new games. Just in case they don't, you will find that most of the book is dedicated to describing ready-made and ready-to-play games - 77 games in all. These are called 'demonstration' games. This active initiation into Junkyard Sports inspires participants to create and try out their own games.

The game titles give you the flavour: Ad Hoc Golf Soccer, Everybody Has a Ball Hockey, Goodminton, Hide-and-Seek Hockey, Musical Basketless Basketball, Spoon Football, Wheelchair Doubles Basketball.

The games can be played for pure fun. The author also sees plenty of scope for achieving many worthy goals through Junkyard Sports and provides many tips on how games can be made more inclusive - by the participants, and by a few cunning rule changes. For example, games normally played between two sides can be played by three sides or one side. Or you can add extra balls, or add a goal, or add a rule, or take a rule away or borrow a rule from another game.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By P. Hughes on March 2, 2009
Format: Paperback
I'm in teacher education in physical education at the university level, and my students teaching at the secondary level always comment about the attitudes of secondary students-- they are bored by most games, and hate everything until proven wrong. Junkyard Sports gives a new twist (or 10) to all of the major sports-- football, basketball, volleyball, hockey, baseball and soccer. This book is guaranteed to add a novel twist by encorporating other sports, other rules, other equipment, to make the standbys fun again. The ideas in this book are awesome, and even work in programs where there is not a lot of equipment.
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I was looking for a book on games for seniors with visual impairments to play. Low aerobic, heavily entertaining and gentle flexibility. For active people, it would be a good book, especially for families with children.
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More About the Author

Bernard De Koven is the author of The Well-Played Game, originally published by Doubleday-Dolphin in 1978, it served as the philosophical underpinnings of The New Games Foundation. Reprinted in 2013 by MIT Press, The Well-Played Game has become a seminal resource for videogame designers as well as youth leaders and physical educators. His full bio is on his website at http://www.deepfun.com/bernie/.

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