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Myachi Madness Spreads in Mamaroneck

MAMARONECK, N.Y. -Third grader Linet Umer may have enjoyed her lessons Thursday at the Mamaroneck Avenue School a little more than usual.

Umer and other students assembled at the school's all-purpose room to learn about Myachi, a hand sack used to perform tricks. Jason Loeffler, better known as Kid Myach, taught students the relatively new game, which is a modified version of hacky sack.

"There are 1,500 tricks and only one rule," he said. "No palms."

Players can use any body part to perform tricks with the rectangular bean bag, which are available at Toy Box and Miller's in Mamaroneck. To begin, you start out with the hand sack on the back of your hands, which should face down and out - this is known as the lotus position.

"It was really fun when we tossed it up and caught it with our fists," said Umer.

Like many students, Umer's favorite trick was the Hulk Smash, where you pop the hand sack into the air, then catch it with two fists.

"Anything that gets kids moving we like to encourage," said Carrie Amon, principal of Mamaroneck Avenue School. "A lot of kids play organized sports, but some kids struggle to get involved in games. With Myachi, it's a way to get involved."

Loeffler discussed how the game can be played alone or in groups. The idea behind it sprang from an old baseball drill he and founder Steven Bradley Ochs - or Myachi Man - used to do as kids.

The small group of "Myachi Masters," two of whom were present Thursday, originally reached out in 2007 to do an event because Ochs attended Mamaroneck Avenue School while growing up in Mamaroneck. He went on to become a stock broker, but quit his job, bought a mobile home and invented Myachi with some friends.

Although Loeffler, who led Thursday's Myachi Challenge, said he prefers play to talk, the Michigan-native told that story to the students. The older students found it inspirational, Amon said.

Saturday, the Myachi Masters will hold a competition at Toy Box on 300 W Boston Post Rd. from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.

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