Class leads to 'sport-stacking' success for Alcott student
During a rainy gym class last year, Alcott Elementary School teacher Duane McDonald got creative and introduced classes to "sport stacking," a game that involves stacking plastic cups in sequence.
The goal is to stack as quickly as possible.
Student Sam Hauersperger, 10, took an interest in the sport immediately.
"Mr. McDonald taught us, and we did it a couple of times (during) the year," Hauersperger said. "We ordered (cups) and then we started practicing."
Karla Hauersperger, Sam's mom, said he's practiced the sport nonstop.
"Ever since January, he's done it every day," she said. "He pretty much taught himself as far as increasing his speed."
At the urging of his grandmother, Sam and his parents found and started traveling to out-of-town sport stacking competitions.
"I'd have to blame his grandmother on starting his competition," Karla Hauersperger said.
"She just thought it would be interesting for him to go and watch one. She found one in Indiana. He wanted to participate, as opposed to just watching it."
After the competition in Indiana, Sam competed in a St. Louis, Mo., competition.
"We had no idea beyond St. Louis that there was more to do. Then we received this letter June 29," Karla Hauersperger said.
The letter announced that Sam's times in the St. Louis competition qualified him for the sport stacking Junior Olympics in Texas.
The family traveled to the competition at the end of July. It featured more than 300 competitors up to age 18.
"It was pretty fun, and pretty intense with the other stackers," Sam said.
He competed in six events and although he didn't earn any medals, he placed in the top 10 in several events.
Karla Hauersperger said she and Sam's other mom, Bella Hauersperger, plan to talk to Alcott administrators to see if there is a possibility of creating a sport stacking team at the school.
"In California and Texas, sport stacking is just everywhere in all the schools," Karla Hauersperger said.
"They'll create teams and practice 8 to 10 hours a week," she said.
She said Sam plans to keep competing in the sport, and she encourages it because it's good way for Sam to challenge himself.
"We realize that this is sort of his little niche and decided we'll go ahead and do this for him," Karla Hauersperger said.
"It's a very repetitious thing. For some kids, that's exactly what they want," she said.
"It's a very challenging eye-hand coordination kind of thing. It's better than video games, as far as I'm concerned."
Bella Hauersperger said she thinks sport stacking is great for Sam, and hopefully some of his classmates, to get involved with because the sport has a strong sense of team and community.
"It's all in good fun," Bella Hauersperger said.
"The teambuilding and camaraderie is great," she said. "It's a real sport atmosphere. Everyone's trying to do good, but they're all in this together."