June 29, 2016


Guinness World Record attempt stacks up with students` help

ELYRIA – It`s hard to figure out what to focus on first.

The hands busily grabbing, gripping and balancing or the cups those hands are reaching for or the colors that go flashing by.

Hands and cups and colors were everywhere Thursday at Elyria Community School as students played Speed Stacks in an attempt to set a world record.

It`s a game that is simple enough for a 5-year-old to master and so much fun an 80-year-old grandmother could try.

The idea is to construct miniature pyramids with 12 colorful plastic cups.

It is popular across the world, inspiring thousands to simultaneously play the game in an attempt to set a

Guinness World Record for the most people speed stacking in one day.

Students in the Elyria school joined others across the country trying to break the record Thursday.
Health and physical education teacher Jill Fuleki set up five Speed Stacks stations around the school`s gymnasium and rotated groups of students every 10 minutes until all were able to join the fun.

Some kids attacked the game with the focus of a hawk swooping down on its prey. With eyes trained squarely on the rainbow-array of cups in front of them, everything else faded out. The only thing they could see or hear was the blur of their flying hands stacking cups up and down to the rhythmic clanking sound they made.

Sarah Applegate said it took her about a month to master the sequence that starts with making pyramid designs of three, six and three, down stacked to designs of six and six, up stacked to a pattern of one, 10 and one and back down to pyramids of three, six and three.

Now, the 12-year-old said she can whiz through the cycle in about 20 seconds. Four cups at the bottom, three on the next row, now two and finally one cup at the top finishes off a pyramid in the one, ten, one sequence Applegate makes with a few fluid hand movements.

“I play this game all the time,” she said. “I got them for my 11th birthday and am really good. It`s fun, but challenging still.”

Before the school day was done, 250 students in kindergarten through eighth grade took part in the attempt at setting a record. If successful, the attempt will be billed as the “World`s Largest Sport Stacking Event.”

But Fuleki won`t know for sure until next week when the results are tallied and announced.

“Last year, 81,000 people joined in and it was the first time a record attempt was even tried,” Fuleki said. “Hopefully, we will beat that this year.”

And, while it is cool to know her students will be part of something that will live on forever – or, at least until another group breaks the record – Fuleki said students secretly are learning a lot from the game.

“It takes focus, speed, concentration, coordination and learning how to get your left sides and right sides of your body and brain working together,” she said. “It`s all the things you need for competition in any sport.

They say Speed Stacks is a track meet for your hands.”

Speed Stacks is addictive for sure. Just ask 5-year-old Devin Smart. He couldn`t keep his hands off the set of neon pink cups in front of him Thursday.

“I like to stack them really high,” he said. “I can do all kind of things.”

Contact Lisa Roberson at 653-6268 or lroberson@chroniclet.com.

About Lisa Roberson

Lisa Roberson has been with the Chronicle since 2006, and covers Elyria city government and public education. She can be reached at 329-7121 or LRoberson@chroniclet.com. Follow her on Twitter.