Jenga was created by Leslie Scott in 1983 and has since become a national pastime. Often referred to the baseball of board games, university campuses across the country are all too eager to lead in the newest varsity addition. Queen’s has jumped to an early lead being ranked as #1 on the continent. We at Golden Words are avid sports-goers and take every chance we can to catch a game of jenga in the ARC gym. We got a chance to talk with Queen’s team captain Jimmy “Nimble ‘tips” McGruder about the season this far and what it’s like being on such a competitive team.
G&T: “Jimmy, you’ve had what can only be referred to a breakout season, leading the North Atlantic Division in blocks pulled and %stackability. The fan given nickname, nimble ‘tips, is well earned.”
JM: “Honestly, it’s just such a blessing to have the support that we’ve been getting from the fans. When I step up to the block zone, the whole world goes dark. I enter my zone and it’s just me and the blocks. I like to think I play Jenga the same way I make love. I’m talking about pushing and pulling all the right pieces at just the right time. And I always make sure my opponent topples the tower before I do if you catch my drift.”
G&T: “Uh… Right, well it’s certainly interesting to hear about your technique. The fans can certainly feel your intensity when you’re toppling your enemies. You are quite literally like a machine on the floor.”
JM: “I played a machine once. Beat it in 8 turns.”
G&T: “That’s literally amazing. You have a natural skill that only true athletes possess, but we’d be naive to think that hard work and practice don’t play a key role in your success. Can you tell us a little bit about the team’s practice routines?
JM: “You’re absolutely right about practice, it’s the most important tool. I mean it took me 3 months of non stop repetition before I could perform a simple roundhouse finger flip. I like to get the team out to practice twice per week and we do finger strength and endurance training about 3 times per week. It’s an intense regime, but it’s what has allowed us to rise to #1.”
G&T: “That sounds like it can be pretty stressful to balance all that tough practice with school work. How do you let loose to keep from collapsing?”
JM: “Well we really enjoy playing games and we have a bit of a passion for pranks. We have a number of rookies on the team this year and we’ve found a little light hearted joking around is really good for team strength, kind of like taking out a single middle piece instead of the two side pieces you know? I fucking hate that shit. It’s like, way to compromise the structural integrity of the entire structure. Anyway, we like to throw parties for the team and I came up with this sweet party version of Jenga where I write specific actions that you have to do if you pull that block like: take a shot of tequila, or give someone a lap dance.”
G&T: “Wow that sounds like a great team bonding experience! What would you say is the best tile ever drawn during one of these events?”
JM: “Well there’s been some classics: take of you shirt jump into a snowbank, Interrupt the party and deliver a lecture on white privilege and the fact that jenga blocks are all white, but I think my absolute favourite was when Greg drew the “support a family of three on a middle-class salary” tile. I intentionally made it an outside tile so that only a gigantic douchebag who would be willing to leave a single middle tile to support the tower would get it. Fuck You Greg.”
G&T: “Haha that’s a pretty great prank! I can only imagine the look on Greg’s face. Good thing he didn’t actually have to do that!”
JM: “Yes he did.”
G&T: “I’m sorry, what?”
JM: “It’s called community engagement. Greg was forced to open his home to the Abadishadid family. They’re a really lovely family. They have one son and one daughter and they’re both into hardcore into Jenga. Why just last week, little 12 year old Fariha, whooped Greg’s ass. Can you say first female captain of Queen’s Varsity Jenga?”
G&T: “That was probably the most awful way to make someone perform a charitable act, but I guess regardless of the means, you did a good thing. Thank you for your time Nimble Tips and we’ll see you on the court.”
Be sure to catch Queen’s Jenga this Thursday night at 6:30pm in the ARC Main Gym where they’ll aim to crush the Laurier Golden Tiles!