During Christmas 2011 I learned to play Mancala with my brother-in-law. It’s a fun game that involves moving playing pieces around a board with the object being to net the most pieces in your end bucket. After looking at the game board, I thought it looked kind of like a football field, with two end zones. I had so much fun with my brother-in-law that I decided to make him a football-themed Mancala board for Christmas 2012.
The project itself wasn’t too difficult (in hindsight). All I had to do was take a pre-existing Mancala board, sand it, stain it green, paint white lines for the yard markers and end zones, apply some University of Michigan logos (my brother-in-law is a huge fan), and cover the whole thing in polyurethane. The problem was that I didn’t have hardly any of the tools that I needed for the project. Over the course of Fall 2012 I managed to sand a Mancala board, but I wasn’t able to find green wood stain until just before Christmas.
All weekend before the big day I stained it, re-stained it, painted, and repainted, and finally put on polyurethane. The last of which was still drying when I wrapped the present, but when we opened presents on Christmas Eve night, John was pleasantly surprised with his gift. We even played a few rounds, with me losing big at first, but ending the evening with a big win against him. Now he’ll have one more U of M item for his collection, and I have a good experience that will hopefully lead to my own football Mancala board—except I want one with the Detroit Lions!