Today is Day 82 of the Papa’s Walk Challenge.
This morning, I was surprised by a soccer ball that was bouncing and rolling in the gutter, blown along by the wind. No one was around to claim it. I imagined some lucky kid would find it later in the day and kick it around a field.
Just a block beyond where I saw the renegade soccer ball, I passed by a tattered golf bag sitting on a street curb in front of a house. I peered through the hole in the bag to see some golf irons and three golf balls. It looked like it was free for the taking, but because there wasn’t a sign that said “free,” I left it alone.
About a half mile beyond the golf balls, I noticed a basketball hoop in a driveway – and there, tucked between the hedge and the front lawn, was a basketball. The thought of the homeowner catching me trespassing to retrieve the ball and shoot a few hoops made me laugh out loud.
I walked another mile and came to a small island park in the middle of an intersection. It’s covered with grass, has a picnic table, a waste receptacle, and is home to seven trees: 2 magnificent redwoods, 1 oak, and 4 other varieties. A man was playing catch with his Labrador dog who dutifully retrieved a tennis ball every time it was thrown.
That made me think of Papa. He found dozens of tennis balls in the street on his walks over the years. A neighbor had a tennis court and failed to recover the balls that were accidently lobbed over the fence. Papa saved the balls for his grandchildren to play with whenever they visited.
As I was nearing the end of my walk, I passed by a daycare home and noticed several 3-or-4-year-olds attempting to bounce foursquare balls in the yard where they play. It really takes some coordination to get the hang of bouncing a ball. I was amused by their antics and admired their focus and dedication to mastering the technique.
Bouncy rubber balls are an age-old toy. I was surprised to learn that rubber balls were used in Mesoamerican games 3,500 years ago. Click here to read the fascinating history of rubber balls.