Wednesday, December 15, 2004

"Issues" With Tetherball

A devoted (and imaginary) visitor recently sent this note:

Dear Remainderman:

I read with interest your illuminating, but too brief, piece on the virtues of tetherball. I must admit, I find it hard to argue with your indemonstrable logic: without a doubt, this sport has peculiar virtues.

My problem, however, is a personal one. You see, my memories of playing tetherball as I child are dark and disturbing. The fellas were always after me to play -- but, I never felt like they were asking me just for the fun of it -- I always felt like there was a string attached.


Then, when we did play, these guys -- bullies really -- would take advantage of my short stature to pound the ball relentlessly, until the ball and rope were wrapped around the pole tighter than a cobra's coil.


Over the years, I got over these memories, and my lower earnings -- or, at least, I thought I did until I came across your piece. Suddenly, the memories began rushing back.

Objectively, I agree with your conclusions; subjectively, I can't. What am I missing?

A gentle visitor.


Gentle Visitor, my first response to your cry for help would have been: "Buck up, man! That's the way the ball bounces." But, of course, that would not apply to tetherball and, in any case, it would seem insensitive and slightly Schlesingeresque.

Let me try to help -- two points.
  1. Your ill-education (not your fault) has left you entirely ignorant of tetherball tactics. Study these and stop worrying about "rushing memories" and start employing the "sudden rush" technique (staying on your side, of course).
  2. If this fails, then perhaps you should consider taking up a sport where the short of stature (darling folks, by the way, we love you all) suffer no disadvantage -- such as shuffleboard. (Although arm extension may be a factor in effective follow-through.)

I trust that answers your "issues" and boosts your confidence in that great arc of the tether.

Soon, we hope to give the first brief treatment of the history of tetherball.


6 Comments:

Blogger Remainderman said...

A beloved in-law -- we'll call her Shorty -- takes the following issue with me:

"I loved tetherball! Yes, it was fun to beat the weaker, less agile individuals from the block. But hey, it's only a game right? I think I have to disagree a bit with the,"larger in stature" portion of your essay. Being that I stand only 60in. tall and was considered to be one of the tetherball ace's on B* Avenue at one time. I think an attribute probably common to the "usual" winners in tetherball has something to do with a demented sense of competition combined with a good old slice of "mean!":)"

12/17/2004 03:52:00 PM  
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