Backyard All Stars


The backyard.  There was a time when it was mostly our whole world.  It was ours and it was safe.  Kickball games were legendary.  And when we stepped into that yard, we were all-stars.  Some of us were more all-star than others of us.  But we needed players and if you were willing to play you were inducted into all-star status.  Inductions occurred about thirty years later.

The baselines and bases were permanently imprinted from the thousands of stampeding footprints we left behind as we sped to outrun the throws in from the outfield.  The pine trees behind first base made a perfect foul line.  If the ball went through there it was foul.  The fence behind third base made the other foul boundary.  It was a bigger nuisance if the ball went over into Fanny’s yard.  A quick check to make sure no one (adult) was looking and someone could hop over the fence, retrieve the ball and hop back over to re-join and re-start the game.  If adults were in the perimeter someone had to take that long walk clear back to the grandparents, around their garage, into Fanny’s yard, retrieve the ball and then one of two things happened.  Whoever retrieved the ball threw it back into play and took that long walk back.  Or, they carried the ball all the way around with them because they were mad they had to go get the ball.  If that was the option the retriever chose, you can bet there was a chorus of “pig” and “just throw it back you idiot” being yelled by all the all-stars still on the field.

Though kickball was king, that backyard saw it’s fair share of baseball, hotbox and football.  It was also the private practice field of the oldest of us when he would go back there with football, or baseball and glove, throw the ball of choice as high in the air as he could, and then be the receiver at the other end of it.  Mom and dad’s bedroom on the second floor, overlooking the backyard, made a great bleacher seat for such practices.  Occasionally that backyard saw one sibling or other fleeing from the fury of another sibling.  I suppose that would be track practice.  It also saw the early morning students trudging their way to school, and those same reluctant students rushing back through at lunch time and the end of school day.   There were family festivals and watermelon-seed-spitting fights.  Dad would light up the night sky from that backyard on the 4th of July. And TBDBITL couldn’t compare to the script O H I O s stomped out in the fresh snow every winter.

That backyard was our arena for greatness, imagination and youth.

And we were all-stars there.







The 4th of July always reminds me of childhood and our backyard.



18 thoughts on “Backyard All Stars

  1. A lovely trip to the past. I was the least of All Stars. The last chosen for teams. Not an athletic bone to be found but I had the biggest crush on Peter (and even followed him off the high diving board at the public pool). In the winter when our back yard was a rink the boys played hockey, and when I wanted to play they made me be ‘The Nurse’ and my job was to stay by the wash stand in case any of them got injured. Nice memories. Thanks.

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  2. Nice flashback with my morning coffee. While we had yards, (and since we were champions) there was a one-acre or so lot that was used as a church parking lot on Sundays, but it was our stadium each weekday after school. The season dictated football or baseball and there might have been an ad hoc game of dodgeball thrown in now and then. We were fortunate that there were three ponds in the neighborhood for skating and ice hockey, the. Biggest one being in my back yard. Good times, and great memories…even the bumps, bruises and occasional blood.

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    • We need those backyard champions to reign again Ray. I have to say I think we had more fun as kids ‘back in the day’. Though I will say I am tickled that my granddaughters love fishing at their other grandparents and there is a lot of swimming going on….so there is that. Thanks for sharing your memories. Going well with my energy drink this afternoon 😂

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  3. In San Diego, our ‘backyard’ was the street that we lived on. We ran up and down, dodging cars along the way. I think your experience sounds much safer! I’m grateful to have grown up in a time prior to the use of computers and cell phones. It was simpler – and when you did something stupid, there was typically not a camera with film nearby – so your stupidy was not documented for the ages! It was wonderful to be taken back to those times this morning. Thank you!

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  4. Happy days! Being a country boy, with few neighbours, ball games tended to be solitary or just a couple of kids. We did have miles of countryside that we roamed though, fields, woodland, hills and valleys. We could play tennis on the road and hear cars coming from miles away. Happy 4th to you and yours Colleen.

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