Published on December 19th, 2021 | by Daniel Boyle0
2021 Footbag Joulukalenteri – Andy Linder Interview
Andy Linder has been a pioneer of footbag, setting a number of records, especially in the consecutive kicking area.
I got in touch with Andy to see a little about his footbag career and what he has been up to in terms of kicking lately. He recently shared these “Milk” advertisements. Andy Linder has been a mainstay in the footbag community, setting many records during his competitive year.
Andy Linder in commercials for milk.
How did you first get into footbag?
Before I ever knew about Footbag, I was a soccer player and was passionate about creating tricks with and juggling a soccer ball. This was before Soccer Freestyle was even a sport and it was my hope to attempt to break the world record for juggling a soccer ball. I was introduced to Footbag by my high school Biology teacher, Dale Oldis, and I was able to implement my soccer skills with a Footbag right away, kicking rallies in the hundreds and then thousands. In my school library I saw an article in a magazine that contained the address to The National Hacky Sack Association, whom I wrote to, and soon afterwards received a call from, inviting me to come to the 1982 Championships. That began a 15 year competitive career. Patterns that I had used for juggling a soccer ball became the patterns I used in Footbag for both marathon and speed consecutive kicks, and the tricks I created with a soccer ball were the foundation of my Footbag Freestyle.
Do you plan to try and beat any of your current consecutives records?
I made the decision that I would compete in the two Consecutive Kicks events at the 1997 World Championships and then announce my retirement from competition. I took first place in both events (doubles with Bruce Guettich) and that was a wonderful way to finish my competitive career. That was my final competition. My world record doubles partner, Ted Martin, has repeatedly asked me to come out of retirement ever since :D!
You have travelled to various countries, particularly in Asia. What influence have you taken from other kicking sports (takraw, chinlone, jianzi etc) in your own kicking?
I love the kicking sports. Again, it all started with soccer for me. I’ve done consecutive kicks rallies of 10,000 or more with a Soccer Ball, Footbag, Takraw, Shuttlecock, Chinlone, and Chungi, and I freestyle with each as well. I’ve incorporated my style into each of these sports. I have gone to Singapore twice and have developed wonderful friendships with shuttlecock players there.
Who has inspired you the most in your footbag career?
My biggest inspiration was Adrian Walsh, who was the Soccer Ball Juggling World Record Holder when I was a young soccer player, before I ever knew about Footbag. When I attended my first Footbag event, the 1982 Championships, Footbag Freestyle was still in its infancy and there weren’t many tricks invented yet. And my consecutive kicks styles were different than all other Footbag players.
You still perform and a number of parades and other events. What kind of reaction does footbag get from the crowds?
I perform regularly in parades and festivals and the responses are awesome. Attendees often tell me that I am their favorite in the parade or at the festival. And I enjoy hearing comments about how I’m “an old man” or “an old dude.”
You’ve been involved in various advertisements over the years. Which was your favourite to be involved in? Did any help boost the profile of footbag or yourself as a player?
I had a wonderful endorsement deal with Balywik/Brine Footbags and enjoyed excellent promotion of the sport through that. At the time, Brine was the most successful soccer ball and lacrosse company in the USA and reached a large population. I’m also thankful for sponsorships I had, such as Umbro and Nike. All of my world records and world titles were achieved wearing Nike Bruin Canvas or Nike All Court shoes. I also enjoyed appearing in two commercials for Milk, which aired on television nationally for two years.
An article about your footbag skills was recently featured in the National Association of Social Workers magazine. How do you use your experiences in playing footbag in your work as a social worker?
It’s amazing how much more some kids and adolescents will open up to me when we’re kicking Footbag while talking together. And it makes it much more enjoyable for them to come back for future sessions. The magazine asked me how Footbag and Social Work are similar. I shared about how Footbag is commonly a social activity and about the dynamics of Footbag Circles; that anyone is to be welcomed in to the circle, regardless of skill level or any other factor, that players work together as a group, passing it to each other in a common goal, and that the players encourage each other, building each other up. These are the same relational dynamics in Social Work; welcoming those who come for help and working with our clients as we help and encourage them.
What are your goals with footbag for the coming years?
To continue to promote the sport any way that I can, to play for fun and exercise, to perform professionally, and enjoy the wonderful relationships that I’ve made in the sport. I am so blessed to be able to do all of these things.
What advice do you have to the current generation of footbag players to learn from past players?
In my counseling, I encourage kids and teenagers who play sports to have fun and do their best. I believe almost every Footbag player has fun doing it because I believe every Footbag player is doing it because they want to, not because they are made to do it or expected to do it. I would encourage current players to do their best while keeping their priorities in order and having healthy balance in their lives.