Somebody once said "necessity is the mother of invention." Our childhood was filled with events and games that required us to amuse ourselves using only the materials at hand. This was usually because our parents didn't think we needed the latest shiny toys; instead they taught use to make due with what we had. It wasn't until years later when I was trying to explain some of these games to Bibliowife did I realize how strange some of the games were. Some games were completely thought out prior to starting, other times the game would evolve mid game as new rules were added to make it more difficult to score points.
I can't remember if this game came about during a particularly rainy day or we were just too lazy to go outside. The equipment consisted of 1 tennis ball and lots of furniture. We were not allowed to move the furniture around so we had to make due with the natural layout of the room. The "goals" consisted of the legs of a dining table, a doorframe, two barstools and the triple wide doorframe. We would stay on our knees using our hands like hockey sticks, slapping the tennis ball towards the goal. After a lamp decidedly got in the way of our game, we were forced to create rule stating that the ball was not to leave the ground. This game resulted in many carpet burned knees, broken nic nacs, damaged furniture and injured phalanges as we often dove into the furniture in an attempt to prevent a goal.
Smashball 'rackets'? Check, Tennis Ball? Check, Old wooden garage door? Check. Let the tournament begin.
Rummaging through the garage in search of something to play with because Mom kicked us out of the house again in an attempt to remove us from the glow of the television resulted in a find that provided us with a weekend of neighborhood fun. I (yes, I'm taking credit) found some smashball rackets, the balls were nowhere to be found; probably resting peacefully at the bottom of the Pacific. Combined with an old tennis ball and our incredibly solid garage door and we started a game similar to racquetball. We played for hours, which I can only assume drove our Mother crazy with the noise that must have reverberated throughout the house. Crack! Thump! bounce Crack! Thump! bounce repeat ad nauseum. She must have thought that we would quit when Dad came home since he often required a quite house after a long day stuck in traffic. Unfortunately for her peace of mind, Dad loved the game; so much so that he formalized some rules and defined the court. The game continued late into the night, until we could barely see the ball and arguments over the validity of a bounce got so frequent that Mom finally shut us down. Luckily the next day was Saturday and the game continued early in the morning, again by Dad insisting that we finish. By now the neighbors caught wind of our game and asked if they could compete. Extra paddles were found and the one on one tournament turned into a doubles competition that lasted the entire weekend.
What do you get when you find a shallow cast iron bucket, a plunger and an assortment of baseballs, tennis balls, and softballs? You get a game that was very hard to explain to wives, girlfriends and mothers. The game started out with a simple challenge. How many balls can you make into the bucket? Sink a ball, take a step back, lather, rinse, repeat. Eventually we got pretty good at this and it was time to up the ante. So, naturally we added a plunger. Instead of trying to land the ball in the bucket, we would try to catch it in the plunger. This wasn't one of the new namby pamby plungers with an accordion head, this was the old wood stick with a shallow pink rubber bowl attached. The baseballs proved fairly easy to catch with a little practice but the tennis balls were impossible.
Good times, good times.