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All I Really Need to Know I Learned Playing Hacky Sack

March 30, 2014

Anyone who went to high school with me surely remembers the long hours I spent kicking a footbag around the concrete patio in front of the reflection pond. At the time it was as much a fidget as it was a hobby – something I could do with my body to block out the adolescent insecurities we all experience. Small surprise, then, that playing hacky sack hasn’t stuck through my adult years. As I’ve grown into myself the need for a fidget, a distraction, has passed. And yet the lessons hacky sack taught me linger to this day.

There are only three rules. It’s a cooperative game with no clear winner or loser. The rules are designed to keep the game fun, fair, and fraternal.

Rule number one: Don’t serve to yourself. Anytime the sack falls to the ground play stops, only to resume when someone picks it up and tosses it to another player in the circle. This engenders the spirit of sharing and cooperation. Players who serve to themselves often end up playing by themselves. There are a few ball players who could benefit from a reminder of this lesson.

Rule number two: Don’t say you’re sorry. Everyone messes up sometime. In a game of hacky sack gravity is the ultimate victor; as long as you’re trying there’s no reason to apologize. In our ultra-competitive world of professional sports and business it’s easy to lose sight of the big picture, to get defensive, to shift your focus from pursuing success to trying not to fail.

Rule number three: Don’t use your hands. This is the most abstract of hacky sack’s rules as it’s specific to the game itself. While there are many sports involving the use of arms and hands, hacky sack is a test of the whole body’s coordination except for those parts. The lesson here is to recognize and respect the specific rules of a game, sport, or other social function.

Cooperate, try your hardest, and follow the rules. What more do you need to know?

The rebel inside me can’t help adding: it’s just as important to be able to recognize when the rules are letting you down and change them. And when you’ve made a mistake worthy of an apology. And, darn it, those rare times when you just have to bypass the circle and forge ahead on your own.

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From → Journal

One Comment
  1. Prana permalink

    I like this!

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