Thursday, March 8, 2012

Half Rubber For a Whole Summer

     A half a rubber ball went sizzling by my head, so close you could smell the thing, spinning as it went by,sending a fine trail of sand into my eyes as it passed. Forcing me not for the first or last time to take a quick seat in the hot august sand. The cut off shovel handle I was using as a bat cascaded toward the Atlantic House Restaurant, bringing on another chorus of laughter from the apposing team as I brushed myself off and stepped back in to take the next pitch. That one was close I thought. The pitch had started out 3 feet behind my left shoulder and 2 feet above my head before curving back toward the plate in an arc most physics professors would have considered impossible. The next pitch came blasting towards me in a straight line at 80+ mph. It started out a foot off the ground before rising to above my shoulders as it reached me and  I realized as my swing badly missed that it would have sailed another 1/4 mile if the catcher hadn't made a great jumping one handed effort to knock the ball down. The next pitch was another breaking ball, but unlike the previous one it came in on its side, catching too much of the plate and seconds later  a WHOMP sent it retracing it's direction before landing on the deck that separated the Atlantic House from the Over the Ocean Bar.....HOMERUN,,,No more laughter. No running needed, I walked over and pulled a cold Heineken from the cooler, now this is a game.
Atlantic House on Folly Beach
Another Great Donnie Smith Studios Photo
   Half Rubber is a game hardly known off the South Carolina Beaches. Simple, basic, direct, laid back and challenging. It requires nerve, judgement and the ability to see something not for where it is, but for where its going to be. A social game that's also incredibly competitive  If it's not a metaphor for Southerners, I don't know what is.
      It can be played in teams or just with a pitcher, a batter, and a catcher. All the equipment needed can usually be found in your storage shed. An old broom or shovel handle and a few rubber balls split down the middle and your in business. Unlike baseball the batter  is not out until he swings and misses and the catcher holds on to the pitch or if a fly ball is caught. An at bat can be anywhere from one pitch to infinity and singles,doubles,triples and home runs are judged by how far a hit pitch travels,,,,no bases needed,,,,baseball distilled down to its best and  most basic essence.Who needs all that running? Its too damn hot down here for all that nonsense. Again a very southern thing.
     South Carolina has a history of great baseball from little league to the pro's, from "shoeless Joe" to Jim Rice and beyond. A few years ago we sent 5 college teams to the NCAA post season tournament and recently USC has won back to back national titles(this hurts my soul, I'm a Clemson fan). I wonder how many of those kids grew up honing their skills by hitting 1/2 rubber balls on the beach.
     I've heard it said that like in life, hitting a curve ball is the toughest thing to do in sports. Looking for what is not quite yet and what just might be. Figuring out the the direction that the object of your goals is taking and then being ready to take a swing for the fences.Remember though, even if you strike out at least you picked up the bat, and if your lucky like in half rubber your field will be a beach.

2 comments:

  1. It is a safe side to play at beach because you have just sea for home run and no need to run as well because no more rules applies here but the only rule applies is the pain that a player has to face and in this is a Chiropractor North Ryde knows better that how to give you relief from your pains and inflammation.

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