Friday, August 24, 2007

Wiffle and such, (or) 'That's what I'M talkin' about!'

Wrote a column in The Times about wiffle ball Sunday --- "Goodbye to TreeCom" --- and prompted several emails of note, including this one forwarded to me after former Shreveporter Randy Sowers, early-30ish, now of Houston, read the effort and was, as you will see, inspired...I loved this. I love even more that he'd mailed it to his aunt...

From Randy...

We use to play a white trash version of wiffle called tape ball. This is where you take left over duct, masking, whatever and roll it into many tiny little balls but use the wiffle bat. The great thing about tape ball is:

1) A roll of tape was cheaper than a full wiffle set. You could not buy just the ball you had to buy the bat and the ball so when someone hit a home run or we broke the ball we were screwed

2) since each was individually made they all flew different. Some balls were better than others some fell a part as soon as you hit you that Roy Hobbs knock the cover off feeling

3) you could play on less earth as the tape balls would not fly as far

Tape ball cannot be played in the rain....for obvious reasons of cheap glue. As we got older basketball took its place. You did not have to make your own equipment in this sport. In high school there was an elementary school down the road which had a black top surface and a full court outdoor and uncovered. If you do not know what a black top surface is a mixture of tar and lava as I swear in the summers the court would literally melt the rubber on your shoes!

The goals were not regulation height as it was an elementary all the rival high schools in the area would show up and play each other all summer long. It became quite a spectacle. Since the goals were shorter it also became a dunk fest and we had to modify the rules. Goal tending was LEGAL, fouling was legal, there was no out of bounds, who ever got to the ball first it was theirs. This type of game played on the surface of the sun with guerrilla style strategy to win produced some of the most (forgive the pun) heated battles that have ever been fought between the iron rims.

That is one of my most vivid memories as a youth. Playing on that court all day long! We played in the playoffs during the season, I went to prom, kissed girls...but Theis Elementary Black top court, where the goals were only 9 feet and the temp was 200 was my best and worst memories growing up!!!

So I can relate total to teddy...