Kendall Jennings, The Koondrook and Barham Bridge Newspaper
I started working at The Bridge News on February 1, 2021 and up until then I didn’t realise I was a sports die hard. Sport to me challenges any individual without knowing it. Sport teaches you to set goals, to win, to fail, to regroup, and keep trying or quit. Every successful sportsperson has faced some type of adversity, whether it be injury, selection issues in team sports or mechanical issues for motorsport. I have always said I don’t care what sport it is. It could be marbles or cards, as long as it was competitive, I would support it.
It was a wet Monday morning in the old Rechabite Church Hall when a lovely, proud grandmother walked into the makeshift office with a story to tell. I was quite surprised that Lloyd pointed her in my direction, I usually cover sport on the weekend and write about it for print during the week. I am quite privileged to be able to write about this magnificent sport I didn’t know anything about until Monday. The sport I am talking about, the ABC says, was developed as a sport in America in the 1980s and was popularised after appearing on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson in 1990. It was taught in PE classes in American schools. In a country that races anything from lawn mowers, tractors and trucks, and everything in between, I bet there is a competitive side to any hobby in America.
The sport is called Sport Stacking. What is that I hear you ask? It is a competitive sport where participants stack plastic cups in an arrangement against the clock. This sport is open to any gender, any age, any demographic, any religion and any intellectual ability.
If you go to YouTube and type in ‘Jaydyn Coggins’ you will see a collection of videos and world record attempts, plus a channel for ‘Jaydyn Coggins’. Sport stacking is a competition against yourself to see if you can beat your own times, while also being a competition against your peers, world record times and Guinness Book of Record Times.
Jaydyn Coggins is a former student from Barham Primary School. The school had cups and that is where Jaydyn first tried sport stacking. At this moment the world changed for Jaydyn, his family moved to Adelaide after he completed year one. Then, at nine years old, Jaydyn rediscovered the sport on YouTube, but it would also be the start of an obsession with sport stacking. With the support of his family, at 15, Jaydyn quickly became the fastest cup stacker in Australia, with a dream to travel overseas to the World Sport Stacking Championships. As a young man with Autism, Jaydyn has had his hurdles to overcome throughout the years and so, when he found a sport that he not only loved, but excelled in, there was no turning back.
Many people, (myself included) see Autism as a superpower. I have an aunty and friends with Autism. Ask my aunty about carpet bowls and scores – she’d remember them all. I have a friend who knows football scores and statistics off the top of his head, and another who can name Holden Bathurst wins and fastest lap times, hence why I see Autism as a superpower. There’s no way I could remember all that.
Unfortunately, there has been a negative stigma with Autism. Breaking everything down, these individuals have a different way of thinking. They can be sensitive to light and sound, and they often become frustrated with themselves and everyday life, while trying to fit into society. On top of all this, with the seemingly rushed world we live in, people find it hard to spend a little more time with someone who has Autism.
It seems to me that Jaydyn’s superpowers continue to go from strength to strength and now you can watch his story for yourself. ‘Stackorama’ will air on Wednesday, March 31 at 8.45pm on ABC TVPlus and iView! ‘Stackorama’ is scheduled to screen across Australia and shows Jaydyn Coggins’ journey as he travels to the World Sports Stacking Championships in Orlando, Florida to fulfil his dream to compete against the fastest sport stackers in the world. A great birthday present for the soon to be 19-year-old young man.
Well done, Jaydyn!
This article appeared in The Koondrook and Barham Bridge Newspaper, 25 March 2021.