Greeting to all and welcome new friends to the EastWing.
The Dog Days of Summer, gotta love ‘em,,,,,, and the livings easy. Now that my summer office hours have kicked in, it’s just that much more time to play in the EastWing. This year the annual continuing education requirement of 24 hrs for the tax prep business was completed in mid July. That out of the way, allowed me to plan the payroll and accounting workload in such a way to develop the long weekend schedule every week till late fall. I think long weekends are like watching color television for the first time. You get use to ‘em quick.
With the Olympics being upon us, I was asked if I’d ever participated in any type sports activity. Now the short answer is “Kinda”. The first contact with organized sports occurred at the Tip Top Elementary School in Tip Top KY. Keep in mind the Tip Top Elementary School didn’t have an Athletic Directory or Guidance Councilor. But we did have Miss Higgins and she provided all the athletic direction and social guidance along with the fear of her and God, in that order, that we needed to get along in life. She taught us well.
The Tip Top Elementary School was twice as large as many of the other schools there in the mountains. Although I’ve heard of ‘em and ever have seen, I never attended a one room school. Tip Top Elementary School had two rooms, thank you very much. A central heating system was employed through out the building, a big round thing setting in the middle of each room. It was truly fire on the mountain.
The athletic field available at the Tip Top Elementary School posed rather unique issues for some of the more traditional sports one would expect at an elementary school. The main issue we dealt with was the absence of an athletic field. With the building being built on the mountainside, one end of the school yard was considerably more elevated than the other.
Red Rover was a team sport favored my many. After the teams were drawn, a coin toss was held to determine which team would be on the high side of the playground. An interesting little note on the coin toss. Most of the time there was no coin available. No body hardly ever had any money ever. In the absence of a coin, we used a pop bottle lid. Not the pull tab thing, a real pop bottle lid. The kind you pulled off with a pop bottle opener. My favorite pop bottle lid to flip was Dr Pepper. Don’t know why, it just was. Of course the winning team to pick the side always choose the high side. Two reasons for this choice. Its much harder to run up hill, and it’s much easier to run downhill. And so the up hill team started out at an advantage. When on the up hill team it was as if the mountain was on your side.
Other team sports enjoyed by all were tag, shadow tag, and freeze tag. A morning recess full of tag meant a quite class till noon. No government hot lunch program there, Everyone went home to eat and came back for the afternoon school when you got done eating. If anybody was late, the teacher would wait. If she was waiting too long, she’d send one of the older kids to go get the offender. We’d all laugh when the late one came back to school.
Much of the other organized sports activity at Tip Top was held off the school property. Where the mountains come together and the water runs cold, there are always small places were the ground is level enough and the rocks are few enough to allow marble tournaments. Circle in the dirt shootouts occupied many Saturday Mornings in heated marble tournament combat. Three marbles to buy into the game, but you kept what you shot out of the circle. I’ve been involved in high stakes marble tournaments costing five marbles to buy in, but the circle would contain upwards of fifty to sixty marbles. A good shooter was a prized position in such games.
Everyone had a favorite “shooter”. And me, well my favorite shooter was a highly admired, widely acclaimed “Steelie”. Steelies were rare finds in the mountains, much envied and valued high among the peer group. When I left Tip Top, I sold my Steelie to one of my cousins living next door. Took all the money that boy had in the whole world, and put those four pennies in my pocket, then headed north to Indiana looking to further my formal education in the fourth grade at the North Judson Public School System.
Growing up in a family of girls I was forced to learn games like Jacks, Jump Rope, Cats Cradle and Hopscotch. These things we called “The Summer Games”. The Summer Games were fun. I became quite proficient in the Summer Games. By the 6th grade we jumped rope twirling two ropes going in different directions. Yep, I could ski rope with the best of ‘em. We danced in and out of that circle skipping rope.
By the 7th grade basketball came along. I never made it to the A Team. Seems my skills tended to be more toward the mental rather than the eye hand coordination activity necessary to make the A Team. I did participate in some of the basketball games but it was always after the outcome of the game had been determined, either won or lost with a few minutes on the clock, when I entered the fray.
The high school sports participation reflected my grade school career as a jock. Oh well, at least I always had really good seats to watch the games. And besides, every year there were the Summer Games.
It was there in Downtown Toto that as kids we participated in the beta testing of a concept to induce young people to exercise and explore the fresh air outdoors. An idea so revolutionary that in time it would sweep across the whole world. As computer technology developed and miniaturization technology made the smart phone an item more indispensable than underwear in the eyes of many, Pokémon Go came into being.
For those Toto Beta Testers, we just called it Hide & Seek.
From The EastWing, Enjoying The Dog Days, No Sport Heroes Here
I Wish You Well,