Since last year I play kubb with my son. It’s a sport/game of marksmanship and patience. It’s a quite inclusive game and it’s played outside, in a grass or sand field.
It happens that the Spanish association of Kubb is in the town where I live (even, in my neighbourhood!) so several family gatherings with tournaments happen in the parks near my house. Last year we attended for first time and learned how to play, and since then, we participated in 2 or 3 events more.
As kubb is played in open air, season starts in March/April, when the weather is good enough to have a nice morning in the park. I got surprised that being a so minority game, about 50-100 people gather in each local tournament, grouped in teams of any kind: individuals, couples or up to 6 persons-teams, mothers and daughters, only kids-teams, teams formed by people of 3 different generations… as strenght or speed (or even experience) are not relevant to win this game, almost anybody can play with anybody.
Enjoying playing kubb makes me also think about how communities around a non-mainstream topic are formed and maintained, and how to foster diversity and good relationships among participants. I’ve noted down some ideas that I think the kubb association does well:
- No matter how big or small you are, always take into account the possible newcomers: setting a slot at the start of the event to welcome them and explain “how the day will work” makes those newcomers feel less stressed.
- Designing events where the whole family can participate (or at least “be together”, not only “events with childcare”) but it’s not mandatory that all of them participate, helps people to get involved more long-term.
- The format of the event has to be kept simple to avoid organisers to get burned out. If the organisers are so overwhelmed taking care of things that they cannot taste the result of their work, that means that the organisation team should grow and balance the load.
- Having a “break” during the year so everybody can rest and do other things also helps people get more motivated when the next season/event starts.
Thinking about kubb, particularly together/versus with the other sport that my kid plays (football), I find similarities and contrasts with another “couple” of activities that we also experience in our family: the “free software way of life” versus the “mainstream use” of computers/devices nowadays. It’s good to know both (not to be “apart of the world in our warm bubble”), and it’s good to have the humble, but creative and more human-focused and good-values-loaded one as big reference for the type of future that we want to live and we build everyday with our small actions.
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