Balls will be bouncing, aces will be ruling, and cries of 'dunce', 'into' and 'lines' will fill the air, at what's being promoted as the world's first Handball Festival (Aussie Schoolyard Style) at the Powerhouse Forecourt in New Farm on Saturday 18 August.
I've become familiar with the strange language of schoolyard handball over the last year or so, as my sons' school has fallen into the grip of handball frenzy. My boys often play both lunch-hours, and then keep me waiting half an hour or more after school as they keep on bouncin' with their buddies.
Going by what I hear from other mums, we're not alone. Boys and girls all over Brisbane are obsessed with this fun, fast-paced game, which requires only a ball, some concrete, and at least one other willing player.
Decent hand-eye coordination helps, but I've seen even the most unco kids have fun on a handball court. And, at the other end of the scale, I'm in awe when I watch my Year 6 son and his friends receive and return balls at blistering speed, often at ankle height.
Picking up on the current schoolyard craze, the New Farm Neighbourhood Centre is holding the first Brisbane Handball Festival in the forecourt of the Powerhouse arts centre from 1-4pm on the 18th. And they're inviting everybody to come and play. To quote their flyer: 'Whether you're in Grade 3 or remember Grade 3, come show us how you bounce!'
There are three categories for players who want to register beforehand and play in the organised draw (Under 12s, 12-17s, and Open). From what I can see from the competition website, entry is free and there are prizes on offer -- but places are limited.
If you don't want to play in the official comp, or can't get a spot, you can just turn up on the day and play for fun. Or, if you don't want to play at all, you could still head to New Farm Park for the afternoon and drop by to watch the games.
In a world where public sporting events are so often about a few elite athletes competing while most people watch, it's great to see a community event where everybody can have a go. Plus it's about time this sensational schoolyard game got the recognition it deserves!
So grab your ball, practice your returns, and head down to the Powerhouse on the 18th for a world-class sports festival like no other.
We headed down to the festival this afternoon and it was great fun, despite gusty winds adding that extra challenge to the matches. Over 100 people registered and it was a wonderful community event. And, as a proud mum, I have to let you know that my 10-year-old made it through to the Under 12 boys' final. He lost in the end, but we all had an absolute ball -- pun intended...;)