Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Play Ball!

Toy #15 - Wiffle Bat
Why Chosen: This may be the most simple toy that I've blogged about, but one that I had fun with for years doing many different things. I think I got it when I was 5 or 6, but I remember using it as late as high school. It started off as being used for exactly what it was intended, wiffle ball games. Sometimes it was just a parent tossing a ball and me hitting it, other times it was with my brother and I taking turns hitting and pitching. I can only remember once or twice playing with the neighborhood kids. Later in life, it turned into a pool toy having games of pool baseball when we moved into a house with a pool at age 11. As I got older, I realized that I could be a big help to my parents and clear off the drive way of hickory nuts, large acorns and other round things that fell from trees. I would collect a small bucket of whatever I found and take one at a time, toss it in the air and try to hit them over the fence with the wiffle bat. Not to worry, on the other side of the fence was an open field, not a neighbor's yard. This was one of the few activities I would embark on by myself as a kid. As an introvert all my life, I was very content doing this on a regular basis.

Worst thing to ever happen to this toy: When I got older, I put the bat through a lot of abuse but it never broke. Hitting rocks and golf balls with the bat didn't help it out much, but it survived. I never broke any windows or anything, so I thing I managed to never damage anything.

Where are they now?: I would guess thrown away. The years of abuse left it warped, discolored, and full of dents. If it's still sitting in my parents garage, I'd be very surprised.

If I could play with them now, would I?: I played softball a lot in college, grad school and beyond and have since come into possession of a real softball bat. There really is no need to have a wiffle bat any more, but I can't say I wouldn't fight the urge to toss some acorns up in the air and try to hit them if I still had a wiffle bat; my apartment complex might not like it.

Relevant in today's times: Yep, they still sell them everywhere and some colleges/universities even have wiffle ball as an Intramural sport. There's all sorts of Youtube videos using wiffle bats, I'm pretty sure the one below was filmed at Gibbs Hall on the UT campus. That wasn't the building I worked in as an RA, but I knew it well. Gibbs Hall is one half scholarship athletes and the other half guys like this who aren't athletes ( he claimed that "if it's made for kids, it can't possibly hurt me").

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