MISSOURI, June 25, 2014 — Do you remember cork ball at the corner tavern? Or playing step ball? Do you remember playing bottle caps? Skipping rope? What about the gymnastic teams that were in school?
Playing marbles was very competitive. So was mum-ble-the-peg, a game in which players try to throw a knife from various positions so that the blade would stick into the ground. Skipping rope was very popular. Hopscotch was all over the neighborhood.
If you were raised on the farm, a competitive sport was target practice with a 22 rifle. They would hang a piece of iron on a tree and paint it with oil. This way, we could tell who got a bull’s eye or who was the closest. After each round, the piece of iron was repainted with oil.
Farm kids shot hoops, but a little different than the city boys. On the farm, you had to attach the hoops to the barn for some unknown reason. Country basketball players were great outside shooters because as you can imagine they didn’t want to dribble the ball in the barnyard were a herd of cows had stayed all night.
Baseball was for everyone. In the country, kids had just one baseball, and they would tape it up when it started to fall apart because they couldn’t just run out and buy another. When anyone in the entire county got a new ball, it was an exciting time for everyone, because everyone shared. In the country, the outfield was very interesting because it always is where they had just cut the crops, or they had tall weeds not grass. The infields were not bad, as they would have a tractor pull equipment over the field to make it somewhat smooth.
Playing in the city was a delight. They had grassy outfields, smooth infields and more than two bats and one ball. They also had multiple fields and matching caps. They even had baseball spikes. While city baseball was far different than a country game, where you had to watch out for corn stubs and other foreign objects, the joy of playing ball was the same regardless if you were playing in the country or the city.
Today, there are sports for everyone. Young ladies can now enjoy basketball, soccer, swim teams, tennis, golf and the list goes on and on. The children growing up today have access to a whole range of diversified sports and again this is great. They have more teachers and coaches today to teach the basics of a given sport. They have more facilities today to play the sport.
Sport binds generations. It binds families. All across the country, fathers and sons share the same story. Standing in their front yard on an early September morning, the father looks at his son and asks, “Do you smell it in the air?” The son smiles and answers, “Let’s get ready to play some football.”
However, that’s from a time and place I am from-
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