Inspirational Cardboard Tubes

24 Jun

This post could be thought of as a programming post, but really, it is more about a whack to the head by inspiration.

Finding program inspiration in the most unusual places is one of the joys of being a programmer/librarian. For this summer, inspiration struck me early, just before the generic Holiday season in winter of 2009. One day, while thinking about the cardboard tubes under all the wrapping paper I had unsuccessfully applying to my gifts, I remembered the glory of cardboard tube fights with my sister, and also using them as impromptu odd megaphones that give your voice that nice echo effect. Then I came across the notion of using those tubes in Library programming via a couple of teen librarian listservs. An idea was truly born by then.

Now, I know you are thinking that all those listservs would just show you how to “craft” and “DIY” the stuffing out of those tubes, but that is where you are WRONG. Let me tell you about awesomeness that is the Cardboard Tube Fighting League. The CTFL is based in San Francisco and sponsors both duel tournaments and battles. They have very specific rules to both. They have cardboard armor-building workshops. They have a lot of fake history and testimonials! But mostly, they have my heart.

So, I developed a program for the summer: a cardboard tube war battle using official CTFL rules of combat. Teens have to sign up so they can receive a Library-sanction tube and a parental waiver to get signed.  Before the tournament cardboard boxes will become armor (but NOT shields)! During the tournament the goal will be to break the opponents’ tubes! After the tournament there will be snacks and glory!

Of course for practicalities’ sake, there are rules:

The first and most important rule is to NOT break your tube. Breaking the tube is how you lose. In the tournament style play the team with at least one tube left standing wins…shared fame, glory, and the right to tube fight again another day. Because the objective is to hurt the tubes and not one another other rules like no stabbing or body slamming and “try not to work the face” also apply. The point of this program is to have fun, safely. Anyone exhibiting unsafe behavior will be ejected immediately, by me, Scary Battle Ref Librarian Sarah. I will put my mean face on if need be.

This program hasn’t happened yet, but the response so far has been really good and 15 kids have already signed up (most excellent numbers for my Library). So, where have you gotten you strangest program inspiration?

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Posted by on June 24, 2010 in Random Thoughts


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