Footbag Reference: Groups:HOF/2008

Footbag Reference

Groups:HOF/2008

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Footbag Hall of Fame: 2008 Inductees

71. Daniel Botkin

Daniel Botkin
  • When did you see your first Footbag?
    • I saw my first (Haiti two panel) footbag on Red Square, on Evergreen campus in Olympia, Washington in 1978. As an avid bicyclist and soccer athlete I was happy to join in, but soccer-style toe kicks didn't work well at all. I stunk so bad it was embarrassing. I didn't try it again for seven more years, till when I was nearly 30!
  • Your own personal comments and notes?
    • I rediscovered footbag as a secondary school teacher in 1985 - in an attempt to bond with a beloved but difficult gang of alternative school truants. One morning I "caught" a group of my pupils hiding out in the woods smoking, engrossed in kicking a small ball around. I told them that I didn't care what they studied, but that they had to come to class and make an effort. The wise guy of the group called my bluff. OK Dan, lets study "hacky sack" then! One thing led to another and those kids and I began playing daily, studying the game and making our own primitive (awful) bags with upholstery leather and cotton thread.
    • Footbag was a fortuitous and miraculous addition in my life. Having incurred a severe "condromalacia" knee injury at 23 (as a bike-touring fanatic) five years previous, footbag offered a convenient, fun, serious, aerobic workout with little of the repetitive motion pounding and grinding so damaging to knee joints. For this depressed, sidelined athlete, having endured two unsuccessful knee surgeries, footbag came as a miracle reprieve and an amazing rehab opportunity.
    • From the start of my kicking career, I was fascinated by footbag's uncanny capacity as a group builder. Playing the game with my alternative school, teen students, I observed a powerful, spontaneous catalyst of comraderie and community, a unique social vehicle and a keenly intrinsic motivator. Keeping the bag aloft within the circle and rallying together in quest of the proverbial "jam" or "hack", friends, strangers, colleagues - even supposed enemies... couldn't help being drawn together in gleeful communion. In a world of rampant stereotypes, hatred and violence, this was a thrilling discovery for me...
  • Major achievements?
    • Created the Footbag Peace Initiative: Traveling widely in Central America in the 80's, (working on material aid and human rights related projects. I'd long witnessed how narrowly and negatively we "gringos" are viewed by our "Latin" neighbors. Centuries of misunderstanding and cultural stereotypes on both sides of the Rio Grande beg for private citizens to step forward and forge more personal connections with citizens of these so-called alien or "enemy" cultures. In 1986 I read an article by Hampshire College poly sci professor, Michael Klare which described citizen peace initiatives as an alternative means for concerned individuals to get meaningfully involved "politically" in a troubled world. I already knew that musicians, artists, singers, dancers as well as doctors, carpenters and relief workers had an important role to play in people to people diplomacy. But footbaggers?? C'mon... Then, on New Years Day, 1987, waylaid en route to Nicaragua with 14 other (Sister Cities) carpenters in egucigalpa, Honduras, I had an experience which awakened me to the deeper, peacemaking power of footbag... Waiting out an unplanned and very unfriendly layover in the steamy "airport", I started a low-key 'hack' jam on the edge of the tarmac with one of my female companions. Immediately, a Honduran airport security guard (already suspicious of our young brigade to Nicaragua) strode menacingly toward us. But, before he can speak, I toss him the footbag and in Spanish, half jokingly invite him to join our little game. "Es un nuevo juego americano, muy parecido al futbol...". An aficionado of soccer (futbol) he cannot resist one quick kick to show off to my friend... then another and another. The severe looking security guard is now toe dribbling and leaping about, all the while cradling his big AK-47 at his side. Within minutes this bizarre circle attracts the attention of another guard who marches angrily, then quizzically toward us... And he too is quickly engulfed in the new game. Finally, the comandante appears on the runway demanding his turn with la pelotilla. By now I've looked up to realize that the entire airport terminal is assembled on the balcony, laughing, cheering and enjoying the enormously silly yet serious spectacle of los gringos and la policia playing baby soccer together. In the 98 degree heat, the game ends shortly, but the gleeful buzz and general good will in the airport endures all afternoon, with various strangers chatting us up, buying us cokes and inviting us home to meet their families and in-laws. Later in 1987, smitten by the peacemaking potential of the footbag, I returned to the States and began recruiting like-minded young kickers. The Footbag Peace Initiative was launched in the winter of 1988-89 when five idealistic, young, North American athletes embarked on our own footbag peace mission through war-torn Central America. Armed simply with the game of footbag, sewing equipment and 50 lbs. of leather scraps, we staged participatory public spectacles of play, performance, sewing and street theatre in and around the cities and backwater villages of Guatemala and Nicaragua. We six, young Americans, los "Futbolitistas por la Paz" evoked great curiousity, connection and goodwill within Central American peasants, workers, kids, even soldiers! The game of footbag, affectionately tagged "futbolito" (little soccer ball) by some indigenous Guatemalans, dramatically facilitated these athletes' attempt to create positive dialogue and challenge age-old barriers of racism and hatred with their Central American counterparts.From this first, highly successful three month expedition, independent filmmaker, Robbie Leppzer and I produced a 30 minute video-documentary (released in '94) entitled: "Futbolito: A Journey through Central America".
    • Teacher, Counselor, Peace Activist - For thirty+ years Daniel has been a teacher, social worker and merry athlete with an enduring penchant for adventure, alternative sports, and people-to-people activism. He traveled extensively, working and living in Central America during the 80's. In the 90's he worked as a bilingual health educator with The Family Planning Council, of Northampton MA, and a group leader with the Amherst, MA based, Men Overcoming Violence (MOVE) counseling program. For three years He taught classes on violence prevention and relationships and sexual health for incarcerated men. Daniel also worked extensively with at-risk and special needs youth in residential programs, private schools, wilderness programs as well as considerable time in public schools. Today Dan Botkin is a full time, organic farmer and local foods activist in Western Massachusetts. He makes and loves footbag and integrates the game and his peace mission wherever and whenever possible.
    • In 1988 I organized and led a six person, athletic friendship expedition through rural Central America. I conceived and produced (with independent film director Robbie Leppzer) a self funded video documentary chronicling this trip: "Futbolito: A Journey Through Central America". The tape was nationally broadcast on PBS in 1994 and on The Learning Channel (excerpted) in 1996. Futbolito still pops up from time to time on community and cable access TV.
    • I worked as a health education trainer consultant and counselor in the 90's, with an emphasis on sexuality, violence prevention and at-risk youth. In '93 I began combining my work in health and sex education with my love of footbag in the Footbag Mentors Project, a peer leadership program which used the game to 'hook' and motivate hard-to-reach teenagers. With a grant from Kaiser Permanente I also put together Challenging Peer Violence, a school-based health workshop on teen sexuality and relationships which also includes a series of after-school footbag sessions, sewing clinics and ongoing discussion groups.
    • I also design and make my own custom footbags as well as teach footbag making to youth, classes and others. I have been offering footbag making clinics, large and small, now for 22 years. Many of my students have taken the beloved craft of footbag sewing to new dimensions, including Anna Foot of England who has taught geometry for two decades using footbag making as the foundation, and Albie Heckeroff who took my "winged" footbag idea and combined it with a multi layed, applique motif to produce one of a kind footbags never before seen. Many of my sewing proteges have mastered and entirely transcended my modest repertoire.
  • The sports future?
    • ?

Daniel Botkin 02.jpg




72. Martin Cote

Martin Cote
  • When did you see your first Footbag?
    • ?
  • Your own personal comments and notes?
  • Major achievements?
    • ?
  • The sports future?
    • ?








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73. Vince Bradley

  • When did you see your first Footbag?
    • I know I had a few leading into my 10th birthday, some original hacky sacks, a neon hacky sack kicker, and a good friend had the hacky sack jammer. Later on I saw a video on early MTv which had two guys doing coordinated kick-tricks and a few stalls and thought it was amazing. I didn't find anyone good enough to motivate me beyond twelve kicks until I got into college and met my friend Mike Hasson in 1990. Mike could keep kicking for hours and did flying clippers and behind the neck catches with the roll up launch. Seeing this in person was way more impressive than the Mtv stuff. Seeing that I broke out an old blue and "white" original hacky sack, practiced until I could kick it for 50 consecutives, and beat it up (high kicks landing it on asphault) during a rain storm to start learning stalls with it so I could join the cool guy at school. Mike and I managed to incorporate kicking into everything we did while we remained in college together. At the end of the two years, he had met Brenda Solonoski, told me how a mom was doing tricks that were sicker than anything we'd made up on our own, (pendulum into sole stall was the smackdown for us at that point), that she ran a store that had insanely awesome bags (cole sleepers laid its own smackdown on our sipa sipas and hacky sacks), and that she runs a tournament each year, that we were going, and that he would pay for the whole deal if he had to. So we ended up at 1991 Funstastiks and got blown away, and hooked. There I saw Martin Cote and Yves Archambault battle for 1st place singles net. Spent most of the weekend playing doubles against Jack Lentz and his partner - even through some of the finals. Entered intermediate in all events. Had a blast. Got the brand new world champion's number so I could get a ride from him to East Coast that October since I'd be on his way from Virginia Beach.
  • Your own personal comments and notes?
    • I've been lucky to be a part of many great aspects of footbag. Highest on the list would be sharing the experience with other new kickers such as Tuan Vu, Tu Vu, Chris Seibert, Patrick Keehan, Jason Langis, Ann Lasken, Jeff Bowling, Ben Kellman, Drew Martin, Neil Payne, Josh Penney, Anthony Intemann, and Greg Neuman.
  • Major achievements?
    • Director of the East Coast Footbag Championships 1995 - current year.
    • Along the way I helped with tournaments in Fairfax Virginia, Farmingdale New York, Philadelphia PA, World Championships in San Francisco (all 4), Montreal, Vancouver, Oregon? (I blame Kendall for my lack of memory of this - she didn't need me much, if at all), Florida, Chicago.
    • I helped a few footbag products and television promotional spots happen, including an MTV Sports HardCore minute in 1995. I think I'm in two cameos, the majority of the 'minute' focused on Eric Wulff, Peter Irish, and Tuan Vu.
  • My future in footbag?
    • Either way, I'm pretty certain they will stay intertwined. I'm not done yet. Now that I've been recognized behind the scenes by being inducted into the 2008 Footbag Hall of Fame, I'm hoping to be worthy of some spotlight as an athlete. Even if I am nearing 40.


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74. Randy Mulder

  • When did you see your first Footbag?
    • ?
  • Your own personal comments and notes?
  • Major achievements?
    • ?
  • The sports future?
    • ?

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75. James Roberts

James Roberts
  • When did you see your first Footbag?
    • 1982...my sister brought one home that summer and I told her that I had seen some kids playing and that it was "one of the stupidest things I'd ever seen." Today, not so much.  :)
  • Your own personal comments and notes?
    • Footbag changes lives.
  • Major achievements?
    • Getting out of bed this morning. And, as far as footbag is concerned:
    • Meeting my wife
    • Using the sport to share God's love with female inmates that don't have a lot of hope
    • Blessed with the opportunity to partner with an American Hero - 2-tour Vietnam Veteran, Craig Lord; and, with multi-time Freestyle Singles World Champion, Peter Irish
    • Two World Titles - 1991 Golf in Golden, CO and 1999 Men's Overall in Chicago
    • The HoF, no doubt.
  • The sports future?
    • ...does not concern me because it does not affect my passion and love of the sport. You'd always love to see it take off in some fashion but it just wastes time to "worry about tomorrow, for today has enough problems of its own."

James Roberts Funtastik Spike Gilles vs JF.JPG

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