Just for kicks

Hacky sack increasing in popularity…

Rebekah Barnes | Staff Writer

The hacky sack has become the newest fad for students at Mason High School, according senior Elisabeth Renner.

Renner, who has been playing hacky sack for about 10 years with her family, said she was shocked at how the game reached her fellow MHS students.

“I was kind of surprised [that hacky sack is popular in Mason],” Renner said. “I thought it was just my little group of friends [who played]. I just brought [the hacky sack to my friends] and was like ‘Oh this is fun! I just thought it was really surprising because I didn’t think that other people would really know much about [hacky sack].”

Junior Nick Hartshorn said he is an avid “hack-ster” himself, and that hacking has become a large fad in Mason society.

“It’s getting more popular, I would say, more and more people are picking it up,” Hartshorn said. “It’ll be soon like those water bottles, maybe moccasins.”

With its increasing popularity, experienced hackers are starting to spread the fad throughout fellow classmates around school, according to Hartshorn.

Senior Tony Rood, said he found out about hacky sack through a fellow band member and since has been playing nonstop.

“My drummer in my band is really good at hacky sack so we would play [together],” Rood said. “Eventually I bought my own hacky sack and brought it around school and started playing it whenever I could. I used to play a little bit [before I bought a hacky sack], but once I bought my own [hacky sack], I just brought it everywhere because you can play everywhere.”

Due to the rise in hacky sack’s popularity, the Hacky Sack Club has been introduced to by Renner and Kujawa.

“We were just playing [hacky sack] out in the parking lot, waiting for all of the traffic to go by [when we thought of the idea to start the club],” Renner said. “Then we were thinking it would [be bad] if it got cold in winter. We thought we should make it a club [so] we could have indoor space [because hacky sack] was getting a lot more popular [around school].”

In addition to the motivation to keep their hobby of hacking continuing throughout the seasons, Kujawa said that the inspiration to get involved with their school also helped.

“We always heard about how it’s so important to get involved in clubs,” Kujawa said. “I’ve been involved in other clubs, but I thought [about] how much fun it would be [for Renner and I] to actually start our own club. And so we thought, ‘We love hacky sack; let’s do it.’”

The Hacky Sack Club is being held in history teacher Daniel Distel’s room, Z107, after school. The next meeting is November 12th and will meet every other Tuesday, run by Kujawa and Renner.

The club is a laid-back atmosphere for hackers to play, according to Kujawa. Hackers form circles to play and socialize amongst themselves. Renner and Kujawa said they have plans to also have a meeting to make hacky sacks themselves.

To play hacky sack with a group, Kujawa and Renner said that their most popular choice of play with all of the players in a circle. One person serves the hacky sack, by either throwing it to someone else, or drop-kicking the hack themselves. From then on, players kick the hacky sack to keep it off the ground. Only rule: no hands. Hackers try to get a ‘full hack’, where the hacky sack has been successfully hit at least once by all members of the circle without hitting the ground, and then can move on to trying to achieve double and triple hacks.

But, players can play hacky sack by themselves, same rules apply, but they kick the ball to themselves. This is similar to soccer players who juggle the soccer ball.

Experienced players, such as Renner, begin to learn different ways to serve, kick, and use the hacky sack as they continue to play. Stalls are when you stop the hacky sack on various parts of your body like the top of the foot or even the forehead. Many players invent different ways to kick the ball as they continue on playing.

Having an outlet to meet and engage with other hacky sack players and enjoy the new games and tricks, Kujawa said, helps hackers bond together.

“It brings people together over one interest,” Kujawa said. “Everyone who likes [hacky sack] can easily relate over that.”

Rood said he helped several people get into to the world of hacking, including Hartshorn.

“[Rood] threw the hack to me, I did what came naturally,” Hartshorn said. “It was a hack attack.”

It is easier to learn the game of hacky sack when joining a circle of hackers rather than learning individually, according to Rood.

“It’s easier when you play with people who are already pretty good,” Rood said. “The more you do it, obviously, the better you get. And eventually you can play [by] yourself.”

For Renner, experience is her strong point. She has had the game of hacky sack has been in her family since the creation by John Stalberger and Mike Marshall in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

“[Hacky sack has] kind of been a part of my family,” said Renner said. “We always go on vacations and all my family goes down and [we play hacky sack]. It originated in the sixties or seventies, so my [grandparents] were all kids [during that time] and it kind of just kept going [through the generations].”

Senior Emily Kujawa said that the ability or experience of the player shouldn’t matter, as long as the hackster enjoys the game.

“You might not be that good, but it is still really fun,” Kujawa said. “Everyone who plays [hacky sack] and isn’t that good at it, they still keep wanting to play it. It’s not competitive or anything, it is just kicking [the hacky sack] around.”

Hacky sack is also a way to find new friendships and have a “good hacking time”, according to Rood.

For Renner, anyone can enjoy the game of the hacky sack, and should represent something special for each player.

“Hacky sack is love,” Renner said.