NORTH PERTH – John McVicar has plans to approach North Perth council on Sept. 20 with a challenge for the community. He will be asking for support to challenge Sheffield, England’s status as the city that holds the current Guinness record for the largest number of people playing hopscotch at the same time. It’s 664 and that status was earned in May 2019.
“I like looking for new kinds of activities that a community can get involved in,” he said. “Then quite by accident because I was roaming through Guinness I came across hopscotch and because I grew up with it I started investigating what is involved in anything to do with hopscotch.”
Before Sheffield’s success, the record was 615 and there were two other attempts to beat that number. A high school in Indiana tried in 2017. No luck. A church in Rochester, New York tried in 2018. Same result.
“When you watch the Sheffield group, the thing that’s different about them, is that the hopscotch panels are printed on vinyl like the Twister game,” said McVicar. “So what immediately hit me was you could have a church group buy five panels. So four people per panel, they would have to get out 20 people and they could have their name printed across the panels and then when the whole thing is over they own the panels and they can use them in their youth group or maybe even their seniors’ group.”
He laughed. He’s resigned to the fact that hopscotch is a game for the young and he hopes to encourage younger residents of the municipality to participate.
“I showed the video (of Sheffield’s success bid) to our 22-year-old granddaughter,” said McVicar. “She said, ‘wow if I was 10 or 12 again, I’d be on this in a flash and get a couple of groups of friends into this.’ She said that this kind of activity and the notion of challenging a world record would be so very appealing to pre-teen girls.”
He returned to the idea of vinyl hopscotch panels, suggesting it opens up sponsorship opportunities.
“Those sign wars guys over on Mitchell Road could sponsor 10 panels all on their own,” said McVicar. “With each panel needing four players, that would involve 40 people. Churches, service clubs, employee groups and others could sponsor groups and organize their members to get out and play. Then they get to keep the panels after the event is over.”
That idea of sponsorship is what convinced him that beating 664 was doable.
“That is 166 panels,” he said. “You need a bit of space for that.”
He wonders where that space may be but he did mention that using printed vinyl, it’s possible to lay it out on the grass. At this point, McVicar is hoping to find support and enough people to hop up to the challenge.
Colin Burrowes, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Listowel Banner