Rock Kicking Gains Popularity in Grande Prairie

Residents divided on activity as concerns over potential injuries mount.

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Cody is a 12-year-old Grande Prairie boy who has taken up a new hobby that is drawing increasing attention in the community. The past-time, know colloquially as “rock-kicking”, has exploded in popularity in Grande Prairie among kids and teenagers. “It’s fun,” says Cody as he shows us how it’s done. “All you need is a rock and some good shoes. You can kick the rock or chip it or do pretty much anything.”

Previously we reported on the unique activity of “kicking a post”, but this is something new that has just sprung up over the last few months.

Not everyone shares Cody’s enthusiasm for rock-kicking. Brodie, a boy who goes to the same elementary school, has a less favourable view of the subject after suffering a serious injury to his foot. “ I had a pretty intense day, competing against a bunch of my friends. I must have kicked a hundred rocks that day, some of them really big.” The next morning Brodie could barely stand. “My foot was so painful. It was bruised all over. I’ll never do any rock-kicking ever again!”

Parents are starting to take notice and show concern. A community group has been formed to discuss the issue. “We cannot ignore that this can be a dangerous activity for our young people,” says the group committee leader Jacqueline Smith. “We have to be proactive here before this gets out of control.” When asked what action the community group was considering, Smith said she would not take anything off the table. “We could try and ban the activity, or move towards regulation. Those are just two of the many options we are discussing.”

Cody, however, is hoping that his fun won’t be cut short. “Rock-kicking is great, especially when you have competitions with your friends. You just have to be careful and you don’t get hurt.”

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