Tommy Boxdorfer walks over and sits at a table with a common scrambled 3x3 Rubik’s Cube.
What happened next wasn’t so common.
In what seemed like a blur, Tommy quickly solved the Rubik’s Cube in less than 20 seconds, in what has become a family hobby and tradition. Tommy, 14, along with his brothers Sam, 17, and Danny, 13, and father Jeremy, have created a culture of solving Rubik’s Cube, not only for fun but also in competitions.
“My dad started learning how to solve Rubik’s Cube when we were really little,” Sam Boxdorfer said. “He had all different kinds like the 3x3, 4x4, and 5x5 cubes and about one year ago he started teaching Danny, then I started to learn the really basic stuff and got better and better. Then it started growing from there. Tommy is probably the fastest of the three of us.”
It certainly did. The four guys of the family just returned from a Rubik’s Cube tournament in Michigan about two weeks ago set up by the World Cube Association. The tournament, which has about 100 people from not only the United States, but around the world, has categories set aside for the common solving of the cubes. Along with some odd, or obscure ones such as solving a cube with one hand and even blindfolded. Tommy said he isn’t quite up to that level just yet but is working up to completing such a task. The tournaments have no age categories so the adults compete with the teenagers, and vice versa.
“There are people that win I guess, but our main goal is to beat our best times and to get our best averages when solving the cubes,” Sam Boxdorfer said. “The guys at the top go in to win it I guess, but us in the middle just try to improve our times.”
For some context, Tommy’s best time in competition in solving the common 3x3 cube is 16.13 seconds, he solved a 2x2 cube even faster at 2.90 seconds. Sam’s best time solving a 3x3 cube is 25.36 seconds in competition.
The Rubik’s Cube was created in 1974 by the Hungarian professor Erno Rubik and works on a center pivot system. On the original classic Rubik’s Cube each of the six faces are one of six solid colors. The goal is to scramble the cube’s colors and solve the puzzle by returning each side to the solid color.
The popular puzzle game has evolved to more possibilities than the ordinary cube into pyramids and a vast array of others, as evidence to the dozens of puzzles owned by the Boxdorfers. But they are all centered around algorithms, and other math principles.
“There’s a certain process to solving a Rubix’s Cube,” Sam Boxdorfer said. “People think it’s solving each side, but what you want to do is solve the layers of the cube. Each face has a letter associated with it and after that it’s just a string of letters that you memorize.”
The Boxdorfers want to take this family hobby and grow it in the local area.
“We want to start a club just to see what kind of interest there is,” Jill Boxdorfer, the mother of the three boys said. “I connected with one other mom that has a son that has shown interest in Rubik’s Cubes, but other than that there isn’t really anyone else that we know.”
Jill said that she hopes to start a club and use the Faith Presbyterian Church in Perryville as a meeting point to teach young, aspiring cubers the ways of the cube.
“We really want to put Perryville on the map when it comes to Rubik’s Cubes,” Jill Boxdorfer said.
Right now, the Boxdorfers noted that there really aren’t that local many Rubik’s Cube tournaments in the surrounding, St. Louis area, so they have been forced to go to places like Nashville, and Michigan to compete.
“It’s not really your traditional baseball or other sports,” Jill Boxdorfer said. “But is a fun hobby and offers some worthwhile skills. It’s really something people don’t think about.”
For more information on the club, email the Boxdorfers at email@example.com