Hey gang… let’s play kickball

Mike Staton

I’m Mike Staton and I wrote this post.

Kids today are pretty much the same as they were back in the days when I wandered the halls and playground of Meyers Elementary School in Rialto, California. Or are they?

Back in the late 1950s and early 1960s, I couldn’t wait to head to the school library. I loved reading books on sports legends and space exploration. You’d find me at our house on St. Elmo Drive reading the biographies of baseball greats Mel Ott, Christy Matheson, Cy Young, Ty Cobb, Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig. In the days when NASA was young, I devoured stories of moon and Mars exploration, mighty rockets roaring away from their launchpads, brave astronauts guiding their spacecraft through asteroid storms.

Marbles

Kids of a bygone era play a game of marbles.

Today’s kids… I’m not sure they do much reading. I do concede they read text messages and social media posts on websites like Twitter and Facebook. Back about 2012 when I was reporting for a weekly newspaper in Southeastern North Carolina, I did a story on a middle school book club. A teacher was volunteering his time to turn on kids to novels, trying to open their imagination to stories captured in words. I hope this gentleman and other teachers across America succeed. Otherwise, authors will lose the next generation of adult readers.

Koufax card

When I was in elementary school, this 1963 card was one of my favorites. I lost playing baseball toss-up.

When I was ten, I spent recess on my knees playing marbles with buddies. That’s why my jeans invariably had patches. And if it wasn’t marbles, I played four square or tetherball. Remember those games? Recess time always passed too quickly.

I want to mention one fad – baseball card tossing. Boys collected Topps baseball cards back then. We’d take them to school and play a game where we tossed cards against a stucco wall. You’d keep tossing until you or your opponent landed a card on top of one already resting on the concrete. Then you’d win back your cards as well as claim your opponent’s. Once I accidentally tossed a Sandy Koufax and lost it. Bummed me out for days.

The closest we got to a pickup game of softball was playing kickball. Two teams faced off on a Little League sized baseball field. Instead of a pitcher tossing a softball, he’d roll a kickball to home plate and the batter would kick the ball and run the bases. The fielders would try to get him out by hitting him with the ball. At least that’s the way I remember it.

kickball game

Another recess game I played in elementary school — kickball.

In the spring before the temperature got too hot, we played Little League baseball at San Ri Field just a couple of blocks from my house, on the other side of famed Route 66. Uniforms and rubber cleats – and games under the lights. A few years back, I covered similar games – Dixie, not Little League – for that weekly newspaper. I will say that kids today still love playing baseball. That’s one thing that hasn’t changed.

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I’m an author with three published fantasy novels – The Emperor’s Mistress, Thief’s Coin and Assassins’ Lair. The books make up a trilogy titled Larenia’s Shadow. A fourth novel, this one a historical romance set during the Civil War, is scheduled for publication in October. It’s called Blessed Shadows Dark and Deep. I’ve begun writing my second Civil War novel – Deepening Homefront Shadows. All my novels can be purchased via the website of my publisher, Wings ePress, as well as the websites of Amazon and Barnes and Noble

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15 Responses to Hey gang… let’s play kickball

  1. Wranglers says:

    Jack’s and jump rope two of my favorite group games. We had a lot of fun. In school, sometimes at the end of a class we’d all go out and play Red Rover. I played marbles with the boys, but I much preferred Jack’s. Thanks for the smile. Cher’ley

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Doris says:

    Oh what memories that brought back, not of kickball, but the library and reading. Of playing softball and football, until I realized I could break a finger and not be able to play the piano. Oh the choices! Doris

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mike Staton says:

      Glad I could summon some of your childhood memories, Doris. I can still see myself inside that elementary school library. It was set off from the other school room wings. It’s funny… I can remember the location of the library, but not the cafeteria/auditorium. Maybe they were in the same general area as the library.

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  3. wyoauthor1 says:

    Oh, yes, those childhood memories of games played! I tried playing football with neighbor kids once and went the wrong way, so I was the laughing stock — never played again! (and still don’t watch it… guess I was scarred for life! LOL) I remember playing kickball — one of my favorite games, until I hit a third grade teacher in the face (by accident of course!) Her glasses broke and she had a black eye for weeks! No more kickball either! No wonder I like to sequester myself and write to this day! LOL Great memories, photos, and post, Mike!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Those were the good old days. I remember watching my brothers play marbles and so did my boys. My dad collected baseball cards and so did one of my boys. Your blog brought back memories. Thanks

    Like

  5. This brings back memories of my own childhood kickball games. I could kick pretty well, but because of my limited vision, I couldn’t run very fast, and I often fell. Oh well, that’s life.

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    • Mike Staton says:

      Hey, you had fun playing kickball, right? That’s what is important. I hope you didn’t skin your knees, though. Remember dodge ball? Two lines of kids throwing a volleyball at each other. If the ball it you, you were out of the game.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Actually, kickball and dodgeball weren’t all that fun for me because I kept falling and getting hit in the face with the ball. In those days, we used a hard ball. It might have been more fun if it hadn’t hurt when the ball hit me in the face.

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  6. Neva Bodin says:

    Lots of great memories. I went to country school the first six years and we played soft ball, kick can run, ante over and many other things we made up. We had a small library and I read most of it I believe. Don’t remember many kids being overweight in those days. Too much exercise.

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    • Mike Staton says:

      Good point about overweight kids. Not too many overweight boys and girls in the era before computer games. At the newspaper I worked in Ohio in the 1970s, circulation department held a contest. The boy or girl paper carrier who got the most new subscribers would get a game player that played Pong. Remember that ‘first’ game?

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  7. S. J. Brown says:

    Recess it was jump road and hop scotch for me. Then in the summer time we spent our time roller skating,riding our bikes and playing school.

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  8. M. K. Waller says:

    In first grade, I flew off the merry-go-round, landed on my back, and got the wind knocked out of me. In fifth grade, I was hit in the face by a tetherball but didn’t care, because I loved the game. In fifth grade, I was hit in the face by a dodge ball. My glasses didn’t break, but it felt like they broke my nose. In sixth grade, I fell in love with band and spent recesses in the auditorium with a couple of seventh-graders, practicing clarinet. I was over forty before I was introduced to a game you had to plug in. The non-electronic games required us to cooperate with other kids, make rules, handle disagreements, pick people up when they got hit in the face and drag them to the nurse. Screens don’t do that.

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