Sunday, July 28, 2002

Hey, Guinness: Record this collection

By Marsie Hall Newbold
Enquirer contributor

        Who: Chris Decker, 17, of Milford, a bouncy-ball collector with aspirations of getting into the Guinness World Records.

        On display: So far, 1,300 of the colorful rubber orbs.

[photo] Chris Decker, 17, of Milford, owns 1,300 bouncy balls. He started collecting them in March 2001.
(Greg Ruffing photo)
| ZOOM |
        Where: Under his bed in the home he shares with mom and dad, Karma and Jeff, brothers, Andrew, 18, Ben, 14, Chad, 11, Scott, 9 and their pointer mix puppy, Zeeek. In the beginning: Chris started collecting the super-high bouncing balls in March of 2001.

        “I'd always had bouncy balls,” he says. “But I would lose one and not think much about it. But then, I wanted to see if I could hold on to them. Eventually it started to accumulate. From then it grew really quickly.

        One buy one: “For a while,” he recalls, “It was just me buying them. If I was in a store and had a quarter left over from what I bought, I'd stick it in the bouncy ball machine.”

        Survivor: By the time Chris had amassed 100, he was ready to go “public” with his collection. That's when friends and family started getting into the act. An artistic friend hand-painted a storage container for him to keep them in. He even won a friendly bouncy-ball collecting competition with one of his chums.

        “When he got up to 70 something,” Chris recalls, “He came into school, handed me a paper bag full and said: "I give up.' ”

        Like-minded siblings: There is another bouncy-ball collector in the Decker household. “My brother Ben is probably into this more than I am,” Chris says. “He wants me to get a Web site and have sponsors. When I go to college, it looks like I'm going to have to pass the torch to him.”

        Historical record: For now, they are content to lobby the Guinness Book of World Records people. A recent e-mail to the publishers of the venerable digest revealed that there was no such listing as “Largest Bouncy-Ball Collection.”

        “When I only had three or four hundred,” Chris says, “I sent them an e-mail. I said, “Here's the deal, do you have a record for that?” They said, “We don't have any record but we are interested in starting one.”

        He was also told that he needed media coverage for verification. “That's a really cool idea,” he philosophizes. “To have one thing that is bigger and better than anyone else in the world. It would be really awesome if they would list me. Like, a real claim to fame.”

       Share your prize possessions with Marsie Hall Newbold by mail: c/o The Enquirer, 312 Elm St., Cincinnati, OH 45202, e-mail: Please include a daytime telephone number.



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