Sunday, April 27, 2008

How Tetherball Changed My Life

Originally uploaded by kristinafh

I bow before you oh tetherball inventor!

Who would have known that a ball (which seemed to be a cross between soccer and kick), attached to the rope of death, secured to a metal pole from hell....would have provided two little girls (and their friends) hours and days and years worth of fun?

I'm getting ahead myself. Let's start at...the beginning.

In the beginning, there was Indian Village Elementary School and four playmates - Beth Fruechtenicht, Melanie Davis, Erika Couch, and ME. When we were allowed on to the "big kids" playground, a whole new world was opened up to us.

That world included black asphalt (which doubled for a kick-ball court), a four-square court, and best of all - a tetherball court.

The tetherball court at Indian Village looked kind of like the picture I have attached. P.S. I couldn't find any "decent" photos of tetherball courts - at least those that were applicable to me and my childhood, so that's how I ended up with this picture. So if you have any decent ones - let me know and I'll add them here.

The difference was that the rope had a chain at the very top and the court itself was encircled by a white paint line. But just one. Not multiple. That circle was important - step outside of it when you were making your KILLER move and buddy - you committed an unspeakable act!

The kids in our class used to queue up around the court (at recess) to wait their turn in line to beat whoever was the reigning champion at the time. Beth and I were pretty darned good. Erika was too. On the boys side, Brian Rice and Tom Stinson (my second big crush of grade school), could hold their own. The girls though - we always seemed to kick their butts.

Here's something important to know. Standing in line was never boring. Oh no. This was the time that we would get caught up on "things". For instance? Beth would tell us about what happened the night before on Little House on the Prarie. My dad was into watching things like Sanford and Son so it was crucial for me to get these kinds of updates or else I would be behind the "girl" curve.

This was also the time that we would guess who liked who. Most of this information was based upon who sat with who on the bus.

Side note: NEVER underestimate the important of bus rides. You learn LOTS.

SO - tetherball at school was fun but it was more fun when the sport made it to my own backyard.

For a birthday or Christmas or you know - some gift giving holiday, my sister and I received our own tetherball contraption. It looked like the one in this picture (all rope, ball, and metal), but of course, it was in our backyard and there was NO cement involved.

I don't remember who actually put it in for us (my mom or my dad), but I do know that my sister and I were plenty obsessed with how we were going to be able to ensure "fairness" with any play that would occur.

First thing up, we needed to create our own "white paint circle" but without the white paint.

After playing a couple of tetherball games, I figured out how we could get ourselves a decent, looking circle going on.

If we took the hose, and turned it on, the water made it much easier to loosen the grass.

And when you added bare feet to the equation, along with lots of willing friends who thought playing tetherball in a slip-n-slide environment was really neat, well - our homemade court came just that much faster.

Side note: I wasn’t even grossed out by the worms that got between my toes. But see my sister and I used to have to pull weeds a lot in our garden so worms were like an annoying distraction to us.

Okay - so when the neighborhood kids found out that we had a tetherball, and somehow, there was a water hose involved, suddenly, half of them were in our backyard - all volunteering to "help" the cause.

Joe and Phil Beckstedt, Tricia Manter, Colleen Wooden, Denita Davis, Jackie Boice, Mark and Kevin Grimes. And then - my little sister's love-sick boyfriend (she was seven, he was seven) - Kenny Stech.

That Saturday was quite an eventful day. Not only did we solve our issue, but it was the event of my first kiss.

Well kiss, in the way of peck-on-the-lip(s).

After kicking his butt in tetherball, Philip Beckstedt grabbed my hand and took me around the corner to the back of our one car garage. That's where he planted one on me.

I thought he was WAY cute - he had that killer smile and great hands (yes, even when he was ten years old - loved his hands).

Eight years old. My first kiss from Philip Beckstedt. But not my last. More coming on that much later...

So tetherball - not just a sport. But a faciliator of creativity and other sports.



Anonymous said...

What about Sidney McFetters?

Kristina said...

I googled Sidney - because his/her name didn't sound familiar to me. That person definitely wasn't involved in the volleyball backyard court invention! Did this person live in the Cedar Crest Circle area?

Association President said...

Sid lived with his grandmother for many years on the corner of S. Cedar Crest and Pinecrest. Red-headed and was a great to target to bullies. Then over the summer of '75 he learned how to play tetherball and kickball. He definately climbed up a couple of rungs on the respect scale.

MrBabysM said...

Joe was my best friend, and my first kiss was from Sidney. Where was I at? And what part of the neighborhood did you live in, Kristina? I was on Pinecrest.