Apparently, some mouth-breathers in the New York State legislature have taken it upon themselves to declare that certain children’s games are inherently unsafe. No doubt victims of the athletically inclined (or even competent) when they were kids themselves, they have proclaimed that Red Rover, Tag, Capture the Flag, Disemboweling the Slow (ok, I’ll give them that one), and Wiffleball (wiffleball!!) are as dangerous as a Seder at Osama Bin Laden’s house and, so, should be banished as activities for our youngsters.
Of course, concerned parties could petition the state for a waiver. Then, for only a $200 fee, they could outfit their kids in head-to-toe bubble wrap before venturing forth to play Four Square (where their self-esteem is in jeopardy if they get chalk on their pants).
Luckily, common sense and a flood of bad publicity stopped these knuckleheads from carrying out their plan. For now.
Just to be sure, though, I’m asking Butchie Zowine from my old neighborhood (he may be out on parole) to head up to Albany. Where he will give atomic wedgies to these idiot legislators if they change their minds.
We loved wiffleball when we were kids. It was the perfect game to while away hot summer days when nobody actually felt like heading to High Park to chase a baseball around.
You didn’t need nine players on a team, you didn’t have to run the bases, and there was zero chance of breaking the neighbor’s windows or each other’s jaw (are you listening, New York?).
In fact, since we first started playing by pitching to each from across the street, the worst thing you had to worry was zinging a passing car driven by a large man. Or losing your ball when it went into Mrs. Pender’s rose bushes.
Prickers and bees. Yikes!
It was one of my brothers and I favorite activities (until we discovered girls). It even stayed with us when I went into the Navy. To this day, we continue to play it.
As a matter of fact, there’s an annual Wiffleball competition that is held primarily on the East Coast (details on www.wiffleup.com. I’m not making this up).
Two of my brothers and I competed in this in 1999. Of course, we were disqualified when some joker poured super-glue in our armpits and we couldn’t move our hands.
Our own children have taken up the mantle and play against us. Although, I have to admit, they’re better (also “faster,” “agile,” and “less prone to sore muscles”). But, my brothers and I can drink beer, so it’s kind of a wash.
So, it is with no small amount of disgusted amusement that one of the most cherished games of my childhood (beside “Fling Dog Poop at Kathy”) has been designated lethal to life, limb, and tender sensibilities.
As I was tagging along with my wife on one of her grocery shopping excursions, I noticed a summer barbecue set-up near the ice cream. Predictably, there were lounge chairs, coolers, sun screen and, lo and behold, a collection of wiffleball equipment.
Ignoring her pleas to help load a crate of bathroom tissue into the cart (“Hey, it’s on sale! I don’t care if it’s a hundred rolls! We can always use toilet paper!!), I took a look at the collection of little yellow plastic bats and balls (hee, hee, hee. I said “balls”).
Upon further inspection, I noticed that, printed on the cardboard sleeves, were directions how to toss the ball up into the air. Essentially, how to pitch to yourself.
I thought, “What kind of pathetic loser doesn’t have any friends that he can play wiffleball with?”
Then, I remembered....
New York State Legislators