Saturday, June 21, 2014

Hitting Balls with Sticks

I was checking out some of my favourite blogs this morning, back-pedalling through some I've fallen behind on, and came across Cro's croquet game from a week or so ago.

Oh, wow. Memories of playing a game of which we had no knowledge about rules of play. (Of course, that covers a multitude of sins … I was SO surprised when for the first time, at age 28, I actually read the rules for Monopoly. It was NOTHING like how we played it. Who knew?)


When I was a kid, our Dad took a liking to croquet. He bought a game set and although I'm sure our front lawn wasn't to specifications (is a croquet field supposed to have a 3% slope? I didn't think so) it didn't slow us down.

We played lots of games that involved hitting a ball with a stick. Baseball, for example. In that game, the ball flies through the air and you have to hit it.

In croquet, the ball is on the ground. Flat (flat-ish). How hard could that be?

Then we discovered the beauty of the game. Our favourite play was when your ball rolls up against your brother's ball, then you can place your foot on your ball to steady it, whack it (the ball, not your foot) with your mallet and send his ball way out into the horse pasture.

Is that a legal shot?

Who cares.

 I have been a BIG fan of Calvin and Hobbes since forever, and this is an example of why. He plays croquet like my brother and I did, or at least how I remember it. He might not have such fond memories.

And then there was baseball.

When you only have three kids in the family, and one is a lot younger, and you use the stallions' corral fence for a backstop at home plate with the burning barrel for a base …. well, let's just say our game bore little-to-no resemblance to the regular game.

The cartoon below might actually more closely resemble the spirit of our 'baseball' games.

When the game got tied up because the batters were both (!!!) on bases, we'd beg Mom for help. Now, she was a real ball player, used to pitch fastball in high school, and was a wicked pitch hitter (throw the ball up in the air, then hit it when it comes down). She'd drive that ball WAAAAAY out into the pasture, effectively getting our game back into motion while also keeping us occupied for at least half an hour trying to find the ball.

Yay, mom.

When our kids were little, we played neighbourhood balls games on hot summer nights at Bruce and Maggie-May's place. They even had a proper backstop and bases. The rules were a little different, though.

The line-up alternated kids and adults (kids could play if they could actually swing the bat and run, so age 3 was possible). The kids got unlimited pitches. The adults had to bat one hand, wrong hand with a beer in the other hand. Adults were not allowed to lap a kid when running the bases - I've seen men scoop a kid while rounding third base and slide into home plate.

Now that's a ball game!

We never thought of playing croquet. Can you imagine what we would have done with THAT?

1 comment:

  1. Croquet is a game for CHEATS. I don't think I've ever known a game completed without most of the players cheating (including me).