I’m not sure when this rule actually came into being. It would be fun to think that my childhood classmate Judy and I were the reason, but of course we are not. Perhaps I should start over and get the horses around to the barn by a less circuitous path.

Both our grandkids play ball. The elder plays softball for the 14U city league team and also on a traveling team. The youngest is a little leaguer. Attempting to be an involved set of grandparents makes it our choice to attend as many games as possible, especially before haying season begins. To my knowledge no one has yet invented a way for hay to cut, rake and bale itself or for animals to survive the Wisconsin winter without it. I remember well the Michael Keaton movie “Multiplicity” and won’t even get into the idea of allowing myself to exist in more than one place at a time via cloning… Anyway, the grandkids love the farm and its animals and are old enough to understand priorities of this kind. But attending so many games in a relatively short span of time set me to reminiscing on my childhood pursuits.

Being born a pre-Title IX woman, well technically not, but living in a small town sometimes makes for a lag in getting programs in place. That’s ok. I probably played more baseball and football in my own yard and the empty lot across the way from our house than many kids who play in leagues do, not to mention hide and seek, run sheep run, kick the can and many more. Going without exercise was not an option. That was how childhood operated back in my day. Also in my day, physical education was a daily endeavor during the school year. I could go on about the lack of devices and television choices back in then, but I won’t.

Our interest in the grandkiddos pursuits got me thinking about my talents, or lack thereof, in sports. I stink at basketball and always have. Any talent our children inherited or tutelage in the sport came from their dad. I can see him in my mind’s eye, using a ticket that had come to me at a girls’ basketball game circa 1995 down in Pardeeville, turning his cap backwards and swishing a half-court shot. See why I slipped him the ticket? I could run short distances fast, but long distances, not so much. Archery I was decent with. Only once did my arm guard slip; the string of the old recurve gave me a nasty bruise!! I had a mean serve in volleyball. Ribbon dance and rhythm ball were okay and I still like to play badminton, though usually without a net since ours is more often than not a yellow tangle. But softball was the one place where I could shine just a little bit.

To avoid confusion let me state that I am talking about the phys. ed classes of my childhood and youth, not inter-league play. Many who chugged through the public school system locally had the same phys. ed teacher from grade school through high school. Her name was Betty Frokjer, she was the wife of a fellow teacher who became the high school principal and eventually the school district superintendent. He was former military and I believe she was too. Her bearing would indicate it. In any case, her classes began with calisthenics, no exceptions. When we couldn’t have class out of doors, it was in the basement dungeon (my word for it) at the old Washington School then later, after one too many “head meets cast iron radiator” incidents, in the cafeteria which had those nifty “fold into the wall” tables – it’s the city’s council chamber now. At least in junior high and high school we had an actual gymnasium in which to have our classes when being indoors was necessary. During indoor softball we played with this squishy ball that resembled a bean bag. Judy and I seemed to be the only ones who could regularly hit it high enough and hard enough that it would splat against the gym wall, flatten and slide down behind the folded-up bleachers. Home run! A couple times anyway. When it kept occurring over and over Mrs. Frokjer only allowed us to advance to second base. Thus the name of this korner. Wouldn’t it be a hoot if Judy and I had been the cause for instituting the ground rule double? As if. I could never even earn one of those Presidential Physical Fitness Awards, but I could tear the leather off at least. Summer’s here!

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