Galatea speed stacker takes on the world stage
6 May 2015
MOST teenagers battle to stack a dishwasher, but the fast hands of one Galatea 14-year-old have earned him a spot representing New Zealand on a world stage.
Caleb Mills returned from Canada last month after competing for the Junior Black Stacks team at the World Sport Stacking Championship in Montreal.
He began stacking in 2010 after his grandmother bought him a set of 12 specially-designed and bottomless plastic stacking cups.
Speed stacking involves set routines in which competitors race to stack cup towers then deconstruct them.
Caleb said the world championship competitors ranged in age from five to late 70s, however, most stackers were aged 10 to 16.
“I practice about half an hour a day, but I can go for up to two hours at a time without stopping,” he said.
“It’s such an adrenaline rush when you beat a personal best.”
Caleb carried this dedication into fundraising for his trip to Canada.
His family is home schooled and lives on a farm, which creates a flexible schedule and more opportunities to fundraise the $5000 needed for the trip.
Caleb bought 100 day-old chickens, raised them and sold them.
He milked a house cow over winter in return for a calf, relief milked, busked and collected donations.
On cold, early mornings, while biking to the milking shed, he questioned if all his efforts were worth the trip.
“But every time I thought ‘I don’t want to do this,’ I thought, ‘if I want to go to Canada I have to do the hard yards,’ and it was totally worth it,” he said.
His mother, Jenny Mills, travelled to Montreal with him on April 7 for 10 days.
“We are trying to teach the kids entrepreneurial skills so they can fit their school work around these and other hobbies,” Mrs Mills said.
Montreal is a French-speaking city and Caleb completed basic online language classes to help him while he was there.
When it came to Caleb’s turn to stack he was extremely nervous.
He said his first two attempts went well, but he fumbled his third.
The Kiwi team walked away with 36 medals and three trophies and the fastest New Zealander came eighth overall.
He enjoyed meeting other stackers in person after connecting with them online.
“It’s popular on YouTube so it was cool to meet people I had watched face to face.”
The Black Stacks team competing in Germany next year will be selected at the New Zealand nationals in June to provide nearly a year for fundraising.
Mrs Mills said stacking was beneficial for Caleb outside of the sport.
“He really struggled with hand-eye co-ordination, especially with things like batting and catching a ball; the difference is just incredible.”
She said speed stacking had created a niche for children who wanted to advance at a sport but were not interested in traditional outdoor sports.
“It’s incredibly physical. Sometimes they will practise for hours at a time and come out dripping with sweat,” she said.
Source: Whakatane Beacon