The Indestructible Soccer Ball

I came across a pretty cool article today about a man that created a durable soccer ball, capable of lasting 30 years. He got the idea after seeing a video of children in Darfur playing with a ball made of trash. He mentioned that many of the donated soccer balls that make it to these parts of the world are rendered useless after a short period of time due to the rough terrain.

In class today, we read part of the article and related information about the design process of the ball to what we have been learning about in science. It was a good real-world application of what the students are learning and a reminder of how science can be used to solve problems and make a positive impact on other people.

Here’s a link to the article, and check out the accompanying video too: Joy That Lasts, on the Poorest of Playgrounds

Many students expressed interest in purchasing one of these balls, known as One World Futbols. For every ball purchased, one is donated to children around the world. Kind of a cool way to give back. If you would like to purchase a One World Futbol, you can do so here: Buy One Give One

Just an aside: The article reminded me of my trip to Costa Rica in 2007. I jumped at an opportunity one afternoon to play in a pick-up soccer game with some local kids in a village called Boruca. The conditions were not third world by any means, but they were not posh either. We played on an old concrete court and were easily defeated by the skilled group of teenagers. I gave one of the three soccer balls I brought on the trip to the boys in my host family, never considering it would possibly be useless in a matter of weeks or months. Below is a picture from the game, with an arrow pointing at me (I’m not very good at soccer, by the way).

2 thoughts on “The Indestructible Soccer Ball”

  1. Dear Mr Baumbach,

    Thank you so much for sharing our story with your students and for sharing their reaction and desire to participate in giving through buying.

    I’m still a big kid myself! I generally say that I’m “more idiot than savant” 🙂

    This journey has been humbling and life changing and we are only in our early days. We have plans to make every sports ball with our technology so schools and other institutions can save funds among other things.

    But mostly, I wanted to encourage your students to remember a few things as they explore their own ideas and dreams. I believe all of us have equal access to creativity and that all creativity is valid and equal, we just all have our own way of expressing these ideas. Some ideas seem bigger than others but even when a thought or idea is only experienced by that child, sometimes that was all that solution was meant for and it will lead to other ideas.

    Einstein had a lot to say about such things, including, “If at first, the idea is not absurd, then there is no hope for it” and “There are two ways to live: you can live as if nothing is a miracle; you can live as if everything is a miracle.” This last quote definitely works for me.

    Again, thank you and your students for taking the time to learn about what we’re doing and I look forward to all the wonderful things big and small that they will do in their lives ahead.

    Finally, in a world and at a time when we are concerned with things like recycling and sustainability I believe the single greatest natural resource we have is the spirit of children, our future, and if we don’t sustain that first, there’s nothing worth saving all the rest of world for.

    I wish you and your students nothing but playful fun and joy in learning and in problem solving.



  2. Tim,

    Thank you so much for taking the time to respond to this post. I have shared your message with the class and we were all very excited and surprised that “the man from the article and video” wrote to us. We believe what you are doing is pretty incredible. As a kid who grew up playing sports, I have always been a big believer that the best toy a kid could have is a ball. Thanks for doing what you are doing. I, too am looking forward to seeing what my students will create in the future. Let me know if you ever happen to stop in Portland. We’d love to have you come visit our school. Thanks again.

    Kevin Baumbach

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