KanJam gets the Netherlands moving again
A conversation with Timo and Jos: 2018 European Champions
Timo and Jos are both P.E. teachers. They met during their training and clicked right away. Not very surprising, as they are both sports fanatics and have a clear opinion about sports in education. According to them, fun and the experience of success are important elements. They also like new things such as KanJam, which they discovered a few years ago. A game that fits our times; a game that gets the Netherlands moving again. Their fanaticism ensured their title of European Champion, qualifying them for the indoor KanJam World Championship in the US.
“We have a wonderful job,” Jos tells us enthusiastically. “I work at Het Streek ISK, an international intermediate class. This means that I work with children who have not yet mastered the Dutch language. The class also includes children who have fled from Syria, for example. It is obvious that they are able to forget everything for a moment when they are exercising.” Timo works in formal education at Rembrandt College, where Jos used to work. At Rembrandt College, they were both introduced to KanJam for the first time, hence the team name ‘Rembrandt Masters’ – under which they competed in the KanJam European Championship. Timo: “We were very enthusiastic! During the breaks and free periods, the P.E. teachers at Rembrandt College all played KanJam together. When we saw that there was a KanJam European Championship, we were over the moon!” They participated in different teams with the other P.E. teachers. 2018 was the second time Jos won the European Championship.
Fun and experiencing success
“There are different ways of assessing children in P.E. I don’t think it’s fair to assess them on their motor skills, as that’s genetically decided – you can’t judge them on that. To keep exercising your whole life is much more important nowadays. Children must be intrinsically motivated. It wouldn’t make sense if they only worked for a good score,” Timo said. “KanJam is a game that fits the spirit of our times. You can play it anywhere – at your own level – and you only need two cans and a disc. Anne-Fleur and Naomi, who came second at the 2018 KanJam European Championship, are two pupils who had gotten excited about the game during class and also started playing a lot in their spare time. You could say that KanJam is a game that can get and keep the Netherlands moving. KanJam is very infectious and that’s amazing!”
Not everyone in class was enthusiastic right away when KanJam was introduced. Some pupils were a bit sceptical, but as soon as the first points were made, the enthusiasm also increased. Jos: “One of the great advantages of KanJam is that everyone can play it at their own level. That means that everyone can experience success, which is extremely important. The cans can also be put three metres apart, for example. That makes the game a lot easier to play. Of course, there are also many variations of the game, which makes it even more interesting for the pupils.”
Timo and Jos are very competitive and love games. Timo: “It doesn’t really matter which game! From darts to golf to Settlers of Catan. We are always enthusiastic. As an example: we saw Expedition Robinson on TV the other day. That resulted in Jos and me spending an entire afternoon to prepare an obstacle course in the style of Expedition Robinson, which was then tested out with one of our classes. Fun always comes first!” But when the guys have a goal in mind, they do everything in their power to achieve it: “In the run-up to the 2018 KanJam European Championship, we trained on quite a few Monday evenings. We really wanted to become European Champions and we succeeded,” Jos adds.
KanJam still has to gain notoriety
The fact that you can play KanJam anywhere is a big plus according to both men. Not only does this make the game more accessible, it also makes it easier for people who don’t know the game to come into contact with it. Timo: “In the Netherlands, KanJam is still relatively unknown – which is a pity! I hope that it will become better known in our country. If you look at the US, for example: they have KanJam competitions there and the game is for sale in many sports shops. I do notice that people around me find KanJam interesting when they come into contact with it. For example, I took the set with me to a campsite once, and people were standing around to watch in no time.”