News
from the Hip

SHOTS from the Hip

May. The time of green grass, dandelions, and high school graduation. The soon to be graduates of Prescott High School are about to embark on a new chapter in their lives. Graduating from high school is a moment you will never for get and everyone will tell you the same. Nostalgia runs deep when it comes to hometown living and with each passing day and year many of those memories harken back to those formative years of recess, class trips, and high school sports. Oh, we all might say not me, but the truth is when we get older we find ourselves wear

ing old baseball caps with cof fee cup in hand either publicly or privately thinking about times gone by. We can hear Archie and Edith Bunker singing “Those Were the Days” on Saturday nights, singing about a bygone era. Therefore, I take a break from standard column fare this week to reflect on some “Those were the days moments” in our lives.

Digging worms those were the days. Do kids dig for worms anymore or do they rely on the local convenience store for a dozen night crawlers? Why in the world would I buy worms when there were plenty of spots where I grew up to dig for them. Then with a fishing pole, coffee can, and stringer in hand we would jump on our bikes and head for Lake Hastings (Nebraska) to catch some sunfish.

Playing 500 those were the days. No, not the card game, a baseball game. One person hitting a baseball with a pack of kids trying to catch or field the batted ball. If you caught the ball in the air with one hand you got 200 points, two hands 100 points, fielded a one hop “grounder” 50 points, and all other “grounders” were 25 points. The person who reached 500 first was the winner and earned the right to be the hitter. No fruit snacks, gummy bears, or ribbons for participants.

Collecting sports cards

those were the days. It was pri marily baseball cards, but growing up we also collected football and basketball cards. From what I have been told not many kids collect cards any more. It became just another activity eventually hijacked by we adults in the 1980’s and 1990’s. Sort of the sports ver

sion of Halloween.

4H softball those were the days. Not only was it big in Nebraska, it was big in Wis consin and all over the United States. It was just another way for kids to enjoy the summer.

Youth pickup football games those were the days. All you needed was a football. No pads, no helmets, no spikes, no uniforms, no par ents. Just you and your school

friends playing a six on six or seven on seven football game in someone’s backyard. No referees, juice boxes, or Rice Krispie treats after the game.

Basketball games of horse or pig those were the days. I can’t remember the last time I saw or heard two kids playing a game of horse. Don’t recall hearing anyone say “Off the backboard” or “swish” before they took their shot. Again, all you needed was a hoop and a basket. No Gatorade, shooting sleeve, or $200 Nikes required.

King of the hill those were the days. I understand this one might be a bit controversial due to the aggressive nature of the activity. However, when you are in third, fourth, or fifth grade such tom foolery is all the more fun. Sure, there were bumps and bruises accompa

nied by quivering lips, but be coming King of the Hill at recess as a 10 year old was the equivalent of Sir Edmund Hillary’s conquering Everest, a feeling of playground euphoria unlike any other.

Keeping score those were the days. Growing up before we had George Brett and the Royals we had the Kansas City Athletics. Players like “Cat fish” Hunter, Jerry Lumpe, and Norm Siebern starred for a team that eventually moved to Oakland, California. Like many of my friends we used to listen to the radio and keep score with a pencil and a blank sheet of paper. That’s how most of us learned. Today the vast majority have little knowledge of how to keep score of a baseball or softball game. For many there is no need to learn. Let the computer or game changer do it.

As we age, we have a ten dency to believe things were better back then. We believe times were simpler and the pace of life was slower. But time marches on and things certainly do change. Neverthe less, there is nothing wrong with reminiscing about the past with friends and family. I feel bad for those who deride others who reflect on moments in the backyard, on the play ground, the basketball court, or the baseball diamond. If those moments from the past bring a smile to you or your friend’s face then it’s certainly worth

while.

By Cripe Olson

May 10, 2022