Saturday, December 11, 2004

The Virtues of Tetherball

I have treated this subject in passing, hereunder; but, it certainly deserves a more complete exposition.

Time was that the virtues of tetherball were well known to every grammar school student. We've since become largely uneducated. For those who need a refresher, or a first reading, on the simple advantages of tetherball, they need only look here.

But, the benefits do not end with a brief physical education. For example, tetherball provides a wonderful entree to the problems of physics, what with it's centripetal and centrifugal aspects. Of course, the ball itself has been central to demonstrating Bernoulli's Principle. One can almost picture the young Johann Bernoulli observing the path of a rudimentary tetherball in an Antwerp sandlot, and, suddenly, discovering some axiom or other of calculus. Or, the tyke-ish Johann Kepler, doing likewise, and seeing the motions of the planets.

And, oh, the larger life lessons one learns only with time around the pole. Just, for instance, that the guy with greater stature and agility always wins (and makes more money). Or, that one's career is likely to involve staying in one place with his focal work turning in circles, never really advancing. Or, that what goes around, comes around. When you think about it, tetherball also serves as a vital metaphor for interpersonal communications -- particularly between husband and wife.

With such evident and excellent virtues, it is hard to imagine that the sport has gone flat with the public. Sadly, it's fair to say that the game has gone to the dogs.

Still, we look for a rebound. Toward that end, we will soon consider certain "issues" with tetherball.


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