This year, Anne-Fleur and Naomi were runners-up at the KanJam European Championships. By playing the game a lot they had become really good at it! They have their PE teacher to thank for getting them into KanJam. Initially they only played at school but soon they got their own KanJam set, which meant they were able to play a lot in their spare time, especially during the run-up to the European Championships. The Meiden (meaning ‘the Girls’ and the name under which they took part in the European Championships) think it’s just a really fun game to play.
We spoke to Anne-Fleur and Naomi at the Merino’s Football Club in Veenendaal, which is also where they have PE in the winter. Anne-Fleur: “On Fridays, we always had double-gym in the seventh and eighth periods. At first, when our teacher told us we were going to play KanJam, I didn’t know what to make of it. I thought, ‘Uh, isn’t that just a came of catch?’ Nobody could do it to start with.” Naomi wasn’t very impressed at first either: “I thought it looked really boring.” The Meiden were soon hooked! Not only did they play during PE lessons, they also played regularly in the gym after school.
Fanaticism and frustration
It was 14 February 2017. It’s still fresh in Anne-Fleur’s memory: “That was the day my parents gave me a KanJam set! I was really pleased with it. We wanted to take part in the European Championships, so Naomi and I had to train. Having our own set meant we could practice every day!” Playing so often is one of the reasons why the Meiden became so good at KanJam. Now we are real fanatics, although sometimes that can be a little frustrating. “At school the cans are always place nine metres apart. The winner is the first to reach 11 points. That was fine at the beginning, but these days I’ve been wondering, ‘why not set them 15 metres apart and make it the first to 21?’ You can soon get to 11. It also feels quite weird when you have to play with someone else”, says Naomi. Anne-Fleur agrees: “Naomi and I have got used to each other so it’s true that it feels odd when you play with somebody else. For example, when you play with someone who has played Ultimate Frisbee for years and they throw the disc differently because of that. Suddenly, you find it pretty tough to hit the disc properly and slam-dunk it into the can.”
The 2018 European Championships
This year, the European Championships started off well for the Meiden, winning their first match against Team Battum (the 2017 champions). Naomi: “Beating Team Battum felt really cool!” The closer we got to the final, the more exciting it got and in the final, the Meiden would face the Rembrandt Masters, two of their schoolteachers. Naomi thought they wouldn’t win. Anne-Fleur: “The fact that we had to play against our teachers was very exciting, but mainly a lot of fun. After all, they had taught us! Obviously, it’s a pity we lost to them.” The Meiden will also be taking part in next year’s European Championships. Anne-Fleur: “I’ve already made a note of it in my diary. It was the first thing I wrote in my diary as soon as I’d bought it.”
In addition to their regular KanJam set, the girls also have a set for playing the American Football version of the game. We love playing this too. Anne-Fleur: “It’s brilliant fun! But it’s exhausting, and we haven’t been playing it for long. We took the game along to school and played against a teacher and a student teacher. We lost big time! I guess we’d better keep practicing. What I really like about this version is all the running, and as we have to play two against two, there’s certainly a lot of running involved, LOL! Normally you’d play with five on each team.”