Growing up in a poor family, the games i can recall were not the ones you hope to see on a target shelf, they weren't on commercials and you certainly couldn't order them for three low payments of $19.95. They were hardly the envy of any neighborhood child, and even though i didn't admit it at the time, these games were better than that. They were my fathers creation, and i was fortunate enough to be one of four children. We had teams, we had rules, and we had a blast.
Lets start by introducing the famous Marsden family game, Bazooka ball.
Bazooka ball was played with one of those huge balls little kids loved. It was bouncy and not a ball I had ever seen used in a ball game. Our ball was marbled blue in color and it was something my dad had found buried in our basement that winter. The second piece of equipment we used was an old yellow plastic bat. Ive seen the bat for sale since in target and walmart with a plastic softball attached for $5. So i assume thats why we had it.
First base, second base, third base, home plate. A twist on baseball/ kickball. Our bazooka ball field could be found behind our old house and was barely big enough to enjoy any out doors game/
You could kick the ball or hit the ball with the bat it were entirely up to the player who was up.
My team consisted of my sister sami and my mother. In the out field were my father, my sister Tabbi and brother Rj. My twin was up to bat first she hits the marbled ball with the yellow bat and sends it out into center field, she has now found her place on first base. My turn, I'm anxious, excited and won't know if I'm kicking or batting until i see how the pitcher throws the ball. The ball is released from my fathers hands and i have decided that this old yellow bat will be my weapon of choice. The ball strikes the bat, you can hear the tinging of the bouncy marbled ball as it strikes my bat. The ball is launched fifteen feet in the air and manages to make it to the back of the yard allowing my sister and i to both make it completely around the bases and back to home plate.
Out the corner of my eye i see my brother struggling to run to the ball in time, he doesn't want to hand us two points right off the start. He finally gets to the ball and launches it with the side of his sneaker to my father, its too late. Two points are ours. Jumping up and down for joy, it is now my mothers fault.
"Ron this is stupid…", "Uhgggg, i can think of a million other things to do" Common things for my mother to say during a good old game of bazooka ball. l doubt it ever occurred to her how fond of a memory this was creating and how much we all enjoyed it.
I remember the weather always being perfect, and slapping the mosquitos as they landed on my arm, or my neck. The sun was setting and the sound of crickets surrounded the yard. The smell of fresh grass and basement equipment filled the air and laughing and cheering could be heard by all.
I dont recall my siblings and i always getting along, but we always did during bazooka ball, which made it most enjoyable, It was ours to share, and no one else's. I assume anyone who passed the house and saw us running after this three -foot ball declared us insane. Sure we weren't the most sane family on the block and we certainly weren't the richest, but in that moment we had everything we needed. The unity and love of family and enjoyment we all shared playing this game my father created. From that day on we all looked forward to bazooka ball and other games my father would create. His creativity alone aided in us having these games to pass down to our children and so fourth. I never did play a game from a store as a child, i never had the luxury of ordering one of those fancy games from the tv commercial. I didn't need that. i had my old yellow bat, my blue marbled ball and my family.
Staci A. Marsden