Back to the Future of Play

Ted  Kroeten
by Ted Kroeten | Apr 03, 2013
| 1 Comment

Summary:

Remember "the good old days" of sandlot baseball, pick-up basketball and pond hockey games? Children had a responsibility to the game and each other. Play brought everyone together, and it took everyone together to play. Yet today, parks are vacant and many outdoor rinks are unused. Kids just don’t play together like they used to. This has created a generation of kids who are “free play illiterate.”

Joy of the People (JOTP), a Saint Paul nonprofit that promotes the idea of soccer free play as a way to build healthy kids and communities has a unique concept. Last year we provided over 1000 hours of safe monitored free play soccer for kids of all ages at no cost. JOTP would like to greatly increase that with a revolutionary new field that will rejuvenate the power of play.

JOTP would like to build a “Puckelball” field at the current South Saint Anthony Recreation Center, currently home of Joy of the People (JOTP), to help create a new “center of play” in Saint Paul.

If Dr. Suess were an urban planning soccer fanatic, Puckelball is the field he would design. Also called ‘Mogul ball’ for its resemblance to the moguls on ski runs, the pitch is made of artificial turf and is a design concept by artist Johan Strom of Sweden. “Puckelball” is an artistic impression of the phenomenon of sport and how it resembles the playground of life which is neither equilateral nor level. The ball doesn’t go where you want, the different halves of the field are not the same for everybody and the goals are definitely not the same size. The unevenness on the field of play make the game fair in a remarkable way which invites a more imaginative way to play.

About You

Visit websitemore ↓↑ hide↑ hide

About You

First Name

Ted

Last Name

Kroeten

City

St. Louis Park

County

Country

United States, MN, Hennepin County

Website (if you have one)

Names of others who helped contribute to my idea

Johann Strom, Victor Kasanezky, Glenn Kroeten

How did you hear about the Forever Saint Paul Challenge?

Email

About Your Organization (if applicable)

Organization Name (if applicable)

Joy of the People

Organization Website

Organization Phone

651-298-5770

Organization Address

890 cromwell

City

saint Paul

Organization Country

United States, MN

Your idea

read more↑ hide↑ hide

Title of your idea

Back to the Future of Play

Give us the highlights of your idea for making Saint Paul great (2,000 characters maximum or approx. 250 words)

Remember "the good old days" of sandlot baseball, pick-up basketball and pond hockey games? Children had a responsibility to the game and each other. Play brought everyone together, and it took everyone together to play. Yet today, parks are vacant and many outdoor rinks are unused. Kids just don’t play together like they used to. This has created a generation of kids who are “free play illiterate.”
Joy of the People (JOTP), a Saint Paul nonprofit that promotes the idea of soccer free play as a way to build healthy kids and communities has a unique concept. Last year we provided over 1000 hours of safe monitored free play soccer for kids of all ages at no cost. JOTP would like to greatly increase that with a revolutionary new field that will rejuvenate the power of play.
JOTP would like to build a “Puckelball” field at the current South Saint Anthony Recreation Center, currently home of Joy of the People (JOTP), to help create a new “center of play” in Saint Paul.
If Dr. Suess were an urban planning soccer fanatic, Puckelball is the field he would design. Also called ‘Mogul ball’ for its resemblance to the moguls on ski runs, the pitch is made of artificial turf and is a design concept by artist Johan Strom of Sweden. “Puckelball” is an artistic impression of the phenomenon of sport and how it resembles the playground of life which is neither equilateral nor level. The ball doesn’t go where you want, the different halves of the field are not the same for everybody and the goals are definitely not the same size. The unevenness on the field of play make the game fair in a remarkable way which invites a more imaginative way to play.

Website address (if applicable)

Innovation

read more↑ hide↑ hide

What makes your idea different or unexpected? (4000 characters maximum or approx. 500 words)

This field speaks. Go to any park and you will see them mostly unoccupied. The fields are there, but the kids are not. A Puckelball field invites. From the youngest kids to the oldest it says, “Come and play!”

A Puckelball field communicates JOTP’s model of building free play opportunities for kids. Our vision is to create better, simpler and unique ways of enjoying soccer. By focusing on a better environment and thus a better delivery system, we will shape the next generation of players, building life skills, and a healthy, lifelong love of the game.

There is currently one Puckelball field in Malmo Sweden and a 2nd is being built in Stockholm. Mr. Strom has been working with JOTP to develop Saint Paul Puckelball which would be the first of its kind in the U.S.

Impact

read more↑ hide↑ hide

This Entry is about (Issues)

How will your idea make a difference in Saint Paul? (4000 characters maximum or approx. 500 words)

This project connects--art and sport, sport and life--it connects players of all ages, kids and adults. With Light Rail in 2014, it connects St. Paul, giving thousands of kids and families an opportunity to play together, with JOY! This project builds a cohesive new community.

It connects with our past. JOTP’s model has always been the vaunted East Side pond hockey culture of the 1950's where a generation of kids played for the fun of it. Outdoors, unstructured and self directed. They called themselves the "Grand Army of Phalen Creek," and they changed the world. Johnson High School Champions, 1960 Gold Medal, Herb Brooks, and the Miracle on Ice--all generated from pond hockey. They showed what can happen when a community “plays” together. Impact? How about changing the World? Again!

Sustainability

read more↑ hide↑ hide

Why do you think people will recognize or remember your idea after it comes to life? How might it inspire others to do something similar in their community? (4000 characters maximum or approx. 500 words)

This project teaches. Generations of kids will learn from each other. Already hundreds of kids who come through JOTP are spreading the joy of captivating, imaginative free play. This field will become a destination stop on the Light Rail, with families and kids stopping off to be part of the fun, further spreading the idea. With the growth of this model, communities will certainly want to have a puckelball field of their own and will seek to build other inviting and unique spaces for kids to play together. But, the lasting impact will be the use of Free Play (of any sport, really) as a way to build healthy kids and communities, and how joy of play as kids is sustaining us through life and passed on to the next generation.