It was game time during the troop meeting and the Boy Scouts were ready to play. It was a beautiful evening in the city park. The Scouts needed to burn off some calories. Unfortunately, the boys in charge of the game forgot to bring the gear needed to play it. One requirement of being a scoutmaster (though it really not listed anywhere) is the ability to think fast and create a plan B on the spot. That trait was about to come in handy.
The troop meets at the city’s Jaycee Park during the summer months. We would gather in the back of the park near the outdoor hockey rink. The tall pine trees provided us with shade. A small clearing gave us a spot to play various games.
I walked to the back of my car and opened the trunk looking for something that could be used by a couple dozen boys to play a game. There was not much to chose from, just a tennis racket, some tennis balls, and a few frisbees. As I stood there and looked at the hockey rink I had a moment of inspiration. I grabbed the racket, a tennis ball, and the frisbees. An idea was forming in my head. It was time to play Tennis Baseball.
The game would be played inside the hockey rink with its four foot tall wooden sidewalls. The frisbees became the four bases, with home plate located toward one end of the rink, and second base near the center. The rink would serve as our ball field. The tennis racket would be our bat. The tennis ball would be our baseball.
The game would be based on the rules of one-pitch softball, a game our Boy Scouts were already familiar with playing, but there would be a couple of rules changes. First, the ball had to stay inside of the hockey rink. If a player hit the ball hard enough to fly or bounce out of the rink before a field player touched it, then the batter would be out. Second, the ball was in play anywhere within the rink. There would not be any foul balls. If the ball hit a hitter’s teammate standing on the sidelines then the batter would be out.
The Scouts loved playing the game and it was added to the list of games to be played when we met in the park. Ten years later the boys would still be playing Tennis Baseball. Amazing what a little quick thinking and inginuity can do, isn’t it?