Gut Rumbles

October 30, 2006

Half rubber

Originally published April 18, 2003

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.


We used to play 'half ball' all summer long at the school yard...along with 'wall ball', 'wire ball' step ball' and 'box ball'. Kids today rarely go outside, let alone play ball.

Posted by: Mickey Kaye on October 30, 2006 09:31 AM

Ya know what's kinda cool?
A while after I'd posted this, I was watching "Rocky II".
(Yeah, I know it's older than dirt, but, I do love Mr. Balboa...)

Before his second fight with Creed, he was playing with some kids in the neighborhood and I swear, it looked like he was playing half rubber with them.

Rocky was on his knees, batting with a broom stick, missing the ball and the catcher was having to jump all over the place to catch it.

And, if it hadn't been for me reading and posting this post of Rob's, I'd have never even thought that that's what they were doing.
Never did before and I've seen this movie a hundred times... I just thought it was a street version of "regular" baseball.

I couldn't get a good look at what was being pitched to Rocky, though.

It mighta been a regular, whole, ball, but... the fact that he kept making strikes and the catcher was having such a hard time catching it... makes me wonder.

Posted by: Stevie on October 30, 2006 10:50 AM
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