Monday, June 06, 2005

Summer time is the time for unorthodox sports.

When the weather gets warm and the days get longer, even I put down my remote control to come outside and enjoy the summer season. I didn’t say I did this very often, but nonetheless, I do enjoy the warm weather. Summer is a great season if you like to be active because there are many sporting activities in which you can participate.

I say sports, but we all know there are different kinds of sports, and summer sports are on a whole different level. You can play the organized sports, such as basketball, baseball, softball (not in Ohio County), but you can also play a number of, shall we say, unorthodox sports. Sports like washers, horseshoes, and lawn darts. Ah, lawn darts, I remember playing that game, but it has been a long time. I believe it was known as the most dangerous game of summer. So dangerous in fact, I don’t know if they even sell it in stores anymore.

Thanks to the internet, I found that lawn darts are in fact banned in the USA. They were banned for sale in the US in 1988; it HAS been a long time. Apparently they were harmful if you happen to be struck by one, who knew? Owners of lawn darts were advised to immediately discard of or destroy all lawn darts. I am glad my family didn’t stake their financial stake in the lawn dart industry. Lawn darts were indeed the most deadly summer game and I had often wondered why it never became an Olympic sport. It can’t be more dangerous than the javelin throw or even the discus throw. I can remember summers filled with lawn darts and firecrackers and only recall minor injuries coming from that combination. I did find that if you are a lawn dart enthusiast and you like to live life on the edge, you can find a set of lawn darts if you scour the internet for about 2 minutes. Happy hunting, you daredevils.

Other summer games that are not quite as homicidal as lawn darts, are washers and horseshoes. Those two games are very similar. You throw both washers and horseshoes. You get points for throwing them, other than that, I guess they really aren’t that similar, but if you have played both, you know what I mean. I myself am a washers man; this may be because I am a very weak man and cannot throw a horseshoe farther than an anvil. Washers can be played many different ways, while a game of horseshoes is very simple. Two stakes, four horseshoes and you throw them around the stake. There it is. With a game of washers, there are many different ways to play.

My first introduction to washers came as a kid and we threw the washers into a hole in the ground. Not exactly the hardest game to set up, is it? I have also played washers with a couple of paint cans filled with gravel. That can take a little while to set up, but it is still pretty simple. I have also played the fancy boy’s washers. The fancy boy’s washers are played with two boxes that are built angled downward with holes in them and different point totals for each hole. That is fancy. You also have a bonus because most boxes have a screw sticking up from the upper middle of the box that if ringed by a thrower is worth major points. I call this the fancy boy’s version because you have to spend a little time on the production of this game. It’s not as simple as digging a hole, but if you have the boxes fabricated, than this is easy to set up. This is the version I like best. That’s right, I’m a fancy boy.

I have just recently found a new summer sport that is just as fun as washers and horseshoes and at the same time can be as potentially deadly as a set of lawn darts. No, I don’t mean a fireworks war, although that is a rite of summer in and of itself, and a longstanding tradition of the Bratcher clan. The game I am speaking of is Ladder Golf. “Ladder Golf?” you ask. Yes, Ladder Golf. I was introduced to it a few weeks ago and my first impression was this is the stupidest thing I have ever seen. And I was right, but it is very fun and addictive.

You may have heard it called by many different names, but it is best known as Ladder Golf. Ladder Golf is what it sounds like. You need a ladder with three rungs equal distance apart and you need some golf balls. Take two golf balls, drill a hole in each, and put some rope through the holes and knot it off so you make a bola with a golf ball on each end. You need six of these bolas. You don’t need two ladders, but I find that it is better if you do. I like to be able to stare down my opponent and at the same time receive encouragement from my partner across the way. You then place the ladders apart at a distance and throw the bolas for points. You get points for each rung you hang the bolas on. This may not sound as dangerous as lawn darts, but a golf ball can raise quite a welt if you get caught napping and are thwacked by an errant throw.

There are other aspects I could go into, but most of you have quit reading after the first paragraph and I can’t take up all the space in this section. So, if you want to find out more about this, you can search your friendly neighborhood internet for more information. Some sights may explain how to make them and some will offer to sell them. My brother made two ladders and six bolas for around $50. So I would advise finding the dimensions and making your own.

I know you probably have other unorthodox summer sports you play, but those are a few of my favorite. If you have some crazy games you play in the summer time, feel free to post your comments. Maybe I will revisit this subject later in the summer. I most likely will not because I will be too busy dodging lawn darts and lighting firecrackers.

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