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Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Rubber Balls and Pleasant Distractions

Time spent on book: 1 hour
Words written: 184

Yesterday's lesson endures.

I knew that today would present challenges. The Jest & Earnest Wife had to give a final, and I wanted her to have the day to finish her grading--because I am that kind of guy.

Of course, this means that I win a full day of hanging out with the Jest & Earnest Kids. While they are my favorite little distractions, I also knew that I wouldn't be getting any meaningful writing done today once they woke up. Heck, the only reason that I am able to blog right now is that I imposed a QUIET TIME. For whatever reason, it's working--I am experiencing both quiet and time.

So I carved out one hour before the world wakes up this morning for writing. I went straight from bed, to coffee, to the bomb shelter. From there, I picked up on where I left off yesterday: Ball games.

Perhaps one of the first games that Europeans witnessed--or at least documented--was a ball game called batey.

This would have also been the first place where a European would have seen a rubber ball. As best that I can imagine, the game involves teams knocking a ball back and forth, using all parts of their body except the hands and feet. I am still working at picturing the particulars of the game.

But it doesn't take too much effort to imagine the enthusiasm, the intense cheering, the invocations of divine favor, and the gambling. Plenty of gambling.

At this point, I am trying to follow the stories of Europeans making sense of games like batey. I like to think of these observers as my first sports reporters, only that's not quite right. Sports reporters (ostensibly) have a knowledge of the game and some appreciation of it.

That isn't always the case with these European observers. Their writings often express a degree of cynicism, puzzlement, or outright contempt. But at the same time, these accounts are our earliest written records of these games. And while events are always filtering through their cultural lenses, I can always locate valuable insights.

OK, quiet time is officially over. Off to Cub Scouts and a dance lesson!

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