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“How do you stack up?”

The first documented Jenga team begins its rise to fame in the cafeteria of Biddeford High School.

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With a few friends and a tower of wooden blocks, the first documented Jenga team begins its rise to fame in the cafeteria of Biddeford High School.

Though it started out as a pastime in the beginning of the school year, the seven member BHS Jenga team created an Instagram account to post videos of their trick shots. To their surprise, the popularity grew. Senior Matthew Villemaire, a varsity team member, explained that at first it was just a joke.

We had the idea that we should just make trick shots because we were making fun of other YouTube channels [that made them],” said Villemaire. “Then we had the idea of creating an Instagram and it’s taken off from there.”

The team gathers during study hall to try and create undiscovered trickshots that comply with the rules. Senior Chad Ackerson, a varsity member, mentions that a lot of the trickshots they create aren’t legal moves in a real game, but there are legal ones like the “flicky” and the “grip and rip”.

“The flicky is when you flip it [the block] with your finger out,” said Ackerson. “The grip and rip is when you take a block and pull it out really quickly so it [the tower] doesn’t fall.”

Another move is the “karate chop,” where a player chops the tower sideways with their hand. In one of their Instagram videos, senior Evan Paquette, a varsity member, can be seen sliding a block at a single block towards the bottom of the tower, replacing it. Though it’s technically an illegal move, it was for the purpose of their video.

“Right now, we are having trouble finding new things [trickshots] to do,” said Ackerson. “Half the time we do trick shots we don’t even get them on film, it’s like we can’t [capture them] again.”

A normal game of Jenga requires a steady hand and patience; during their turn, a player must move one block from the tower with a single hand and place it on top without holding the tower. Villemaire explains that the game can sometimes be boring.

“If you’re playing it every single day or every other day for the whole block it gets kind of boring, but it’s fun to just chill with your friends and play a quick game of Jenga,” Villemaire said.

In their attempt to discover new, legal moves, the team explains that although there could be trickshots they don’t know about, they don’t like to go on YouTube to find them.

“There’s not that many [trickshot videos] and they’re usually pretty lame,” Ackerson said.  

Villemaire said that they usually “mess around” to think of things—accidentally creating new moves.

“We just started freestyling,” said Villemaire. “We’ll do something and say ‘oh, that was actually pretty cool, we should do that’ and then make a video of it.”

Most of the videos on their Instagram page have over 200 loops and positive responses from fellow students, fueling one of their endeavors: selling Jenga team merchandise. One of their posts displays a T-shirt with the team title and slogan how do you stack up? printed on the back

“If we get enough sales then we could do a ‘150 follower giveaway,’” Paquette said.

The Jenga team is also known for challenging people to try out. In order to get on the team, one must beat a varsity member at a classic game of Jenga.

“We have it posted in our [Instagram] bio,” said Villemaire. “If anyone wants to try out for it, they’re welcome to come challenge these two guys [Ackerson and Paquette].”

Ackerson added that a few people have challenged them, but never succeeded.

“We also had a lot of people challenge us, doubt our skills and never show up; if you want to challenge us—show up,” Ackerson said.

Villemaire explained that in the future, he may look back and think that the idea of a Jenga team was stupid, but will remember that he had fun.

“It could be something cool to show family and my kids when I’m older,” said Villemaire.

The team also hopes to be more involved and expand horizons with after-school practice and the possible idea of a tournament.

“It depends how far it all goes,” said Ackerson. “If we could get in the yearbook, that would be really cool.”

Villemaire, Paquette and Ackerson continue to edit and post the team’s trickshots, update their follower-base on new events and ideas and create new and unique trickshots with their teammates.

“If you’d like to try-out, feel free,” said Villemaire. “We welcome all new players.”

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The student news site of Biddeford High School in Biddeford, Maine
“How do you stack up?”