With all the beautiful weather that is spring in Los Angeles, I’m looking forward to the smell of barbeques warming, shorts and dresses on casual walks and open windows at nighttime. Being a big fan of laying in the sun (anywhere, anytime), I enjoy mocking the reptile species as I sit and infuse myself with precious natural heat, and although quite athletic, I refuse to take part in any outdoor, park exercise. However, the one thing I enjoy the most from park days, are watching all those extraordinary people who just crave movement and truly enjoy a great outdoor activity. Born in Fairfield, Connecticut is one of the most popular outdoor games since 1953, and with a plastic bat and ball, made waves to become what it is now.
That game is called WIFFLE ball.
It all started when a 12 year-old boy and his friend couldn’t find enough players or the space they needed to play baseball or softball. They had been goofing around with a perforated golf ball and a broomstick handle, trying to throw curve balls at each other, when the son told his father David N. Mullany his arm felt “like jelly.” Mullany had been a semi-pro pitcher, and figured he could surely find a way to make it easier on his son’s fresh arms, so off he went to test out several different samples of something he knew would change the way backyard baseball was played.
When the plastic ball was cut with eight oblong perforations, they found that throwing curve balls was the easiest and most efficient it had ever been. When frequent strikeouts were referred to as a “wiff,” the ball was quickly named WIFFLE ball, which then led to the plastic bat and administered play rules that so many are familiar with today.
Not only is WIFFLE ball played for giggles and the passing of time at the beach (oh-so-fun to watch because of it’s always embarrassing sand dives) but it is also taken very seriously in many cities all over the U.S. that hold WIFFLE ball leagues. Oh yeah, I said leagues. My first thought is, how fast can you throw a hollow plastic ball? Well, I just watched a video on YouTube, and the WIFFLE ball experts say 95 to 100 mph. Ahhhh, I’ll stop there.
This spring, while I’m lounging on my classy picnic throw, I suggest you all grab a WIFFLE ball set, and see how fast your curve ball can get (I rhymed). This time, you can heckle your friends while they bat by yelling out all the information you just learned on David N. Mullany, and truly show them how the game got it’s name (again, I’m on fire). Now get out there and have some fun!
Image via Stay At Home Dad PDX