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  • Writer's pictureJoe Pace

Player of Games, #91: Wiffle Ball

Easter is an odd holiday. It arrives on the calendar with an unfathomable liturgical logic all its own, sometimes in the snows of late March and sometimes in the bright sunshine and green lawns of nearly May. (There actually is a method to the seeming madness - Easter falls on the first full moon following the vernal equinox in an attempt to time the observance of Christ's resurrection with the same precise astronomical conditions as the initial event, as established by Pope Gregory XIII in 1583. Thanks, Google.) It is the highest of holy days for the Christian faith, higher even than Christmas. And yet it has been just as coldly and commercially been secularized for profit as its winter sibling. Easter is as much a time for brunch and candy as it is for prayer. It makes a sort of sense, spring and eggs representing rebirth. But it's still a corruption of something holy for something Hallmark. Such are our times.

The game that I connect the most with Easter is wiffle ball. It was common when I was a kid for our Easter baskets to include the obligatory candy, a kite and a wiffle ball set. And most years, we'd demolish all three in the same day. The candy of course was the first victim, and then the cheap plastic K-Mart kites stood little chance in the New England winds of April. The best years were the unseasonably warm and sunny ones, when we'd take the skinny yellow bat (never the fat red abomination) and ventilated ball and play in the yard. I have fond memories too of later years, playing with buddies at the Cape, learning about the rules of the folding chair strike zone, epic home run derbies in the dining hall parking lot at RYLA, and then of course playing with my own children when their Easter afternoons rolled around.

I have always been a middling hitter (decent contact, limited power), a reliable fielder, and I still have a few signature pitches I can rely on to get a big strikeout when needed. Easter is on the early side this year, but it might be time to break out the wiffle ball anyway.

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