Gut Rumbles

April 18, 2003

half rubber

No, this title does not refer to a downsized device for birth control and prevention of sexually transmitted diseases. "Half rubber" was a game I played many a time on beaches, in in open back yards, and sometimes in the street when I was growing up.

I haven't played the game in years. What's REALLY strange is that I haven't seen anyone ELSE playing for years, either.

The game required a broomstick, three people, a rubber ball and a knife. You used the knife to cut the rubber ball in half. You used the broomstick as a bat. You used the three people as Pitcher, Batter and Catcher.

The pitcher sailed that half-rubber toward the plate, and a good, fast pitch would curve, rise and dance like a demonic horsefly along the way. If the batter hit the half-ball, he had a man on first. If he knocked it over the pitcher's head, he had a home run.

If the batter swung the broomstick and missed, he was OUT if the catcher caught the ball. If the catcher couldn't catch it (which happened frequently--a half-rubber is a tricky bastard to throw, hit or catch) the batter just kept swinging until the catcher finally managed to snag a strike. Then, batter went to pitch, catcher went to hit and pitcher went to catch.

I played that game for hours on many a summer's day.

Legend says that the game was invented on Tybee Island at Savannah Beach, although the lying shits in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina occasionally make a bogus claim of their own. It was invented here where I live.

I just wonder why I don't see anybody playing half rubber anymore. It really is fun and it takes only three people for a game.

I never would have thought about this subject if mr. southern nostalgia hadn't posted about it himself. Damn, he has a good memory.

And I like THIS on his blog:

"Whoever double-crosses me and leaves me alive, he understands nothing about Tuco."

- Tuco Benedicto Pacifico Juan Maria Ramirez

I remember Tuco. "Blondieeeeee! You sonofabitch!"

The Velociblogger sounds like a man I could enjoy a drink or two with.


Just last night I mentioned to the wife unit: "If you're going to shoot, shoot, don't talk." And oh yeah, always take a bath with pistol.

Posted by: John S Allison on April 18, 2003 10:31 AM

What's the point of cutting the ball in half? Half rubber was before my time, and I'm not from the south, so I just don't understand. I am to be pitied. Please mentor me in this fine Cracker sport.

Posted by: Stormi on April 18, 2003 11:19 AM

Stormi: cutting the ball in half doesn't make it twice as hard it hit. It makes it ten times as hard to hit. And ten times as hard to pitch. It's an exponential thing. And I have to get up to Savannah and visit my brothers. When I do, Acidman's drinks are on me.

Posted by: KC on April 18, 2003 06:27 PM

If you ever faced a GOOD half-rubber pitcher, you wouldn't ask silly questions about that game, Stormi. I've faced guys that could make one start out at the ground then rise and curve like a hummingbird with its ass on fire.

Hitting a half rubber with a broomstick is a Southern Art. CATCHING a well-thrown half-rubber is an art, too.

If you've never done it, I can't explain it.

Posted by: Acidman on April 18, 2003 07:59 PM

"Yeah, but you don't look like the one who'll collect it..."

Best. Movie. Ever.

Posted by: Mr. Lion on April 18, 2003 08:28 PM

"I just wonder why I don't see anybody playing half rubber anymore."
Kid's games were killed by TV & Nintendo.
My favorite was springtime coffee can lid Frisbee (before "real" Frisbees).
When that sucker came wheeling back to you from 100 ft. up and you caught it bare-handed, you were THE KID on the block.
Unless your mom had to take you for stitches.

Posted by: Dan Pursel on April 18, 2003 08:54 PM

I've never faced ANY half rubber pitcher, much less a good (or bad) one. I didn't have as rich and full a childhood as you had, Acidman. Which is why I pleaded for pity. I'm just a girl and I had books, not balls. I can imagine, now that it's been told me, how cutting the ball in half would make it wonky to throw, and wonky to hit. Makes much more sense to me now than it did before. Thanks guys.

Posted by: Stormi on April 19, 2003 01:05 PM

Cool article!!!

Posted by: dzwonki polifoniczne nokia on April 2, 2004 04:52 AM

I remember playing Half-Rubber game in Savannah, Georgia. Best that I remember, a close friend of mine that lived in Savannah, told me they started the game back in the 30's on West 42nd street. First they used bottle caps and when they could get enough money they bought a rubber ball and thats how it got started in Savannah. Thus it then moved to Savannah Beach and was played on the beach by many,
Reggie Kniphfer

Posted by: Reggie Kniphfer on April 4, 2004 12:22 PM

Cool article!!!

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