Here in the South we love our sports. Even before we had TV stations that had sports on non-stop, we always managed to find some activity to either bet on or to participate in, even if it’s just who can get out of the truck first. I’ve picked out a few of my favorites to share with you.
One sport that several of my friends enjoyed was grabbling. Here you wade into the muddy brown water of some creek or river and find a submerged log. Then you reach your arm up into the log and hopefully pull out something resembling a fish. The betting is on when and if a snake is pulled out instead. The other bets are placed on how the person holding it reacts. Will he panic or who will he throw it on somebody else, and if so, who, and how will they react? A really fun activity.
Another fun sport over the year was pitching washers. And contrary to popular belief, it is not something you put clothes into, but rather a small, round piece of metal with a hole in the middle. I figure somewhere down the line, they took something apart and had some of these left over, so they found a use for them. Although I’ve never played this game, I’ve watched a lot of my older male relatives playing when I was growing up. I decided it must be too difficult a game for women to master, because I never saw any of my women relatives playing. But then again, maybe they just decided it was a big waste of time, who knows. Several holes were dug in the ground in close proximity, and men stand a certain distance away and try to toss them in the holes. There must be one hole that is the best one to hit, though, because each time one of them managed to get a washer in that one, he took a swig out of the bottle of bourbon. They really seemed to enjoy the game.
A sport we enjoyed as teenagers was seeing how many times we could drive around the Square in the middle of town without moving the steering wheel. Just about every small town in the South has an area in the older downtown area with streets going around it, and this is just an open challenge to young people. Anyway, you start from one side, set your hands in a certain position, and then go around and around until you either nearly run into a sidewalk or somebody else. There’s a crown to be proud of, don’t you think?
My personal favorite as a teenager was when you have several people in the car and stop at a stoplight, everyone except the driver jumps out of the car, runs completely around it, and then gets back into their seat before the light turns green. If you don’t get back in quick enough, it’s goodbye Lucy, and you have to wait until we come back to get you. Of course, we usually played this sport in my car so I could drive. Even as a teenager, I wasn’t a complete idiot.
Now, of course, I’m not promoting any of these crazy stunts and would be the first to say don’t do them. I didn’t say we were smart teenagers. But growing up in the 50s and 60s in a small town, entertainment was much more limited than today, and about the wildest thing anybody smoked was rabbit tobacco. Today, there’s more community sports, activity centers, video games, theaters with tons of movies at one time, and all kinds of other things to do, and yet they still need drugs. I’m not sure things are better. It makes me a little sad.