British hopeful Paul Hobbs is being tipped to win the gold medal in the highly competitive Dishwasher Stacking event at the 2012 Middle Class Games. Hobbs has spent years perfecting his technique, and is confident he can beat all comers when the Middle Class Games come to Surrey in three years time.
Britain’s dishwasher stacking champion goes about his preparation with a fanaticism rarely seen in men in this class. ‘I don’t see stacking the dishwasher as a chore, it’s a logistical challenge,’ he says, ‘I spend hours thinking how to find a home for an awkward egg cup.’ Egg Cup, is Stacker-slang for any object not catered for by dishwasher designers. It’s a problem all too familiar to Britain’s legions of amateur dishwasher stackers – pieces of crockery that just won’t fit anywhere, and fall over the moment you leave them. Whereas plate work, and to some extent cup and saucer stacking, is a pure physical grind, and largely a question of endurance and muscle memory, ‘egg cups’ present a more cerebral problem.
Most of the great stackers have tended to be either ‘platers’, or ‘egg cup’ men, but Hobbs is that rarity in the stacking world, a man with both physical and mental tributes. ‘I’ve been around dishwashers for years,’ says his coach, Howard Winnard, ‘and this boy is something special. He’s got it all. A dynamite right, a whiplash left, and a brain like an IBM mainframe.’
Lack of funding in this country means Hobbs is forced to train in California and he admits it can be a bind being away from his family for so long. But he insists it will all be worth it if he pips Germany’s Gerd Inzere and South Korea’s Fo Kin Ge Tin to the coveted gold. ‘I don’t think about all the times I’ve burnt my hands unstacking hot plates. You have to make sacrifices, and punish your body. Nobody wants this more than me.’
The Middle Class Olympics are the idea of diversity officer Kevin Higgins who is determined that the Olympics should represent all sections of the community. Other British hopefuls for Surrey 2012 include Jonathan McBride in the Straight-Line Lawn Mowing, William Cooper who last month put on a duvet cover in 7.9 seconds and of course Jessica Corbyn, holder of the European record for ‘Getting all the little bits out of the garlic crusher’.
Stoopy de Gunt