You’ll probably remember hacky sacks if you were around at all during the 1990s. They were found all over student campuses as people wanted to play a sport but didn’t feel the need to actually get sweaty. Sure there was skill involved, but playing with yourself is only exciting for so long. They went out of fashion a long time ago, but fans are hoping for a comeback.
What is a hacky sack?
If you don’t know what a hacky sack is by name, you’ll probably be familiar with it by sight. It’s a pretty small little pouch often woven from wool, that is filled with beans. The point is to try and keep one juggled in the air for as long as possible by kicking it. It’s like soccer but on a pedestrian level, and generally, you try to keep the hacky sack off the ground on your own.
You can play with friends if you’d like, but it requires finding someone else actually willing to play it with you. Then you just stand around in a circle and take turns and keeping the sack in the air for as long as possible.
No new hacky sackers
The problem for hacky sacks is that they were really a thing of the moment, and during the ‘90s, people on college campuses went wild for them. Since those people all graduated and grew up, the activity is no longer as popular as it once was. After one generation of people playing with hacky sacks, the activity seemed to fade into obscurity, and no one new was willing to pick one up and play.
Sometimes called footbagging, the activity has become less popular over the years, but it never truly went away. It’s a bit like rollerblading and paintballing. People loved it for a time, but now society has moved on and found better ways to pass the time, like the internet.
Filling the void
Footbagging hasn’t been popular on a social level for a while, but there are still events going on celebrating the ‘90s craze. Hacky sack tournaments began sprouting up whenever it was at its peak, and several of them still remain today. The game that was once played in the park or on grassy parts of the college campus was adopted by experts.
If you’ve ever tried it, you’ll know it’s not that easy to get good at it. The mainstream moved on, but a dedicated few remained and wanted to challenge themselves against others. Those events have grown and developed into the Footbag World Championships. A huge 100 to 150 hacky sackers are estimated to gather for the championships and relive their old college days.
Struggling to find new players
The problem for the hacky sack is that it’s competing against the internet and social media for people’s attention. In the 1990s, if you were bored at college you would go out onto the grass, meet random people, talk, and maybe play some hacky sack. These days if you’re bored at college, you just go online, or turn on your games console and interact with people from all over the world.
If hacky sack is going to make a comeback, it needs to find a way to go viral in a big way. Otherwise, it’s just going to remain a very niche activity that very few people pick up.