Last month I explored a few of the existing sports at SAIC, and put forth the theory that sports at the school are what I referred to as a “Do-It-Yourself (or DIY) affair.” This was a really insightful insight. And since I am not able to report on the SAIC basketball team’s recent success in the Midwestern Art School Athletic Conference1 semi-finals, and since I don’t really feel like talking about the Bears2 anymore, I thought I would advance my own ingenious postulation with an exercise. It is my plan, therefore, to propose a number of possible sporting activities for SAIC students. Feel free to steal these ideas, and to let them grow and evolve as you will. That’s the spirit of DIY, after all, like knitting an Abercrombie and Fitch logo into a pair of homemade socks instead of the GAP logo suggested by my girlfriend’s saucy and irreverent knitting guide. Do it yourself, it’s right there in the acronym.3
And so, without further acronymization (FA), here is a list of potentially spirit-building, self-worth-realizing “sports” for you to try out for yourself4:
While traditional Jai-Alai takes place in a three-walled arena known as a fronton, maybe you can just open the curtain doorway thingy to your studio and pretend that the whole wall has been “opened.” So there’s your fronton. You’ll also need a ball (pelota). I say you wad up a piece of paper tape,5 or roll up some wax, if that’s your medium. Again, this is on you, not me, so think of a good pelota. The real challenge will be the xistera,6 which is a Wolverine-style basket-hand that you will use to propel the pelota. If you have any paper tape left over,7 I might suggest constructing a basket-hand from some paintbrush handles, or stray shards of discarded pottery. If you are a basket-weaver, what are you waiting for? Just weave one.
Once you’ve established your playing surface and your equipment, you’ll need to study and master the rules of Jai-Alai. For that I would suggest that you look on Wikipedia like a normal person.
I left the noun on this one intentionally open-ended/blank. Not only does this save me the mental energy of having to devise yet another sport on your behalf, but you can also think of it as a way to let your imagination determine what there is around you that could, with the right attitude, become truly Ultimate. This very American encouragement assumes that you have the wherewithal to dictate your own future, and to rise above the seemingly mundane circumstances of your own life. Something with a flap of canvas, maybe?
Your friends in the sculpture department will come in handy on this one. Have them sculpt you a hockey stick out of something. I would discourage the use of glass, and encourage the use of glowing neon tubing, which may, in fact, involve the use of glass. For a puck, umm, hell I don’t know, just use some more paper tape.8 Several big gray trashcans overturned at each end of the hallway should do nicely for goals. First to 632 wins, loser takes, and if you score in your own trashcan goal it’s minus 3,204. Goalies, full-body checking, and security authorization optional.
This is a starting point, I realize. There’s meant to be some breathing room. I also realize that the “sports” that I have devised for you, SAIC student body, are not sports that encourage team spirit, unity, and cooperation as much as they encourage the pitting of one combatant against the other in a bitter struggle, valuing individual prowess and a King of the Hill mentality more than anything else. What can I say? Welcome to the Art World.9
1 Which will be known forthwith by its acronym, the only slightly easier to pronounce MWASAC.
2 That’s a football team with a bad quarterback and two metal lions, apparently.
3 It should be painfully obvious by this point that I have acquired a crippling addiction to acronyms (CAA), in both my printed words and my out-loud diction (IBMPWOLD).
4 I apologize ahead of time if these read like horoscopes. I got a little worked up.
5 Don’t waste all your tape. You gotta have something to build your xistera with.
6 That’s the Basque terminology, as opposed to the Spanish.
7 If you ignored footnote five and used all of it on your pelota, then I can’t really be responsible for that, can I?
8 Assuming that you got so excited about Studio Jai-Alai that you didn’t read through to this point and you’ve used up all your paper tape by now, I guess you’ll just have to go the store and get some more.
9 Or the AW