Bounce is Rolling Along

Yes, it’s been absurdly long since I posted here. So long, in fact, I almost feel the need to re-introduce myself to whomever might be out there reading this. I am the other John Fox who’s got a thing for the ball. Not the one who pops up in nearly ALL of my weekly Google Alerts instead of me. But also not the one who may never live down that horrific post-season implosion against the Ravens last season. So there.

The out of the gate post-pub excitement and buzz for “The Ball” has long since died down, though it was a great ride while it lasted. Along with the standard ‘likes’ and all that, I still get the occasional email like this one from a Masters student in Canada that makes me feel like the ideas in my book are continuing to reverberate out there in unexpected and positive ways:

Last Summer I spent 12 weeks volunteering as a football (soccer) coach and physical education teach in Limbe, Cameroon and brought a copy of your book, The Ball, with me and LOVED it. Every chapter and each story intrigued me and further enhanced an already powerful interest in the power of sport, recreation and ritual in society.

The guy who wrote this is now looking at how sport can play a transformative role in community development – such a ripe topic for someone to dig into and figure out how to make a difference. Very cool to see.

Mostly what’s new in the world of The Ball is the documentary in-the-works, which is called BOUNCE: How the Ball Taught the World to Play. Check out our film website, which features some early, mouthwatering clips. The film is a collaboration with my amazingly talented friends, Jerome Thelia (director/producer), David McLain (director of photography/producer), and Anne Carkeet (producer). Hard to believe, but we’ve been in production for two years already and have shot in England, Scotland, France, Mexico, Brazil, all over the U.S., and most recently the Democratic Republic of Congo, where we filmed bonobo chimpanzees playing in the wild.

Bounce excerpt – bonobos from Merge on Vimeo.

All the footage I’ve seen so far is equally breathtaking, but what’s been particularly satisfying has been watching Jerome, David and Anne get as thoroughly obsessed with this topic as I’ve been for many years, reading and circulating obscure journal articles and digging into the academic and sports literature. Far from being just a spin-off from the book (which, let’s face it, is pretty typical), I view BOUNCE as really picking up the journey into the rich subject of play and the ball where the book left off – ranging farther afield and deeper into human and animal consciousness.

So editing is underway, with the corresponding come-to-Jesus moments around needed footage, interviews to be shot, script elements to be refined, etc. It’s looking like an early-ish 2014 complete date is likely. Look for more updates and tantalizing clips here and on!

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