A Play-Pig Primer

I’m recovering from a weekend of Wiffle ball.

For the uninitiated, I refer you to the Google, where you’re sure to find history, videos – maybe even scholarly papers, for all I know! One way or another, you’ll discover more information than you can likely digest in one sitting.

You can also visit the official Wiffle website in pursuit of your due diligence…

But before I go any further, a bit of family history will create some context for today’s missive.

My dad, of blessed memory, was, if nothing else, an itinerant play-pig.

I’m not sure where his commitment to having fun originated. Dad was one of three children of a man who, while evidently always interested in the enjoyment of cigarettes and liquor, I couldn’t honestly describe as “fun.” My paternal grandmother was kinda funny, but mostly in an ironic way. Having come off the boat from Poland or Russia, depending on which way the last war went, she seemed to live her life wondering aloud “if I should live so long.”

Sometimes it was a statement marked by a clear period.

Sometimes there was the tell-tale rise of a question mark: “…if I should live so long?”

Eventually she got her answer.

From those roots grew my father, who regular practiced play-piggery through everything from family travel to weekly tennis to skiing.

He even had the audacity, at the tender age of 55, to leave an arguably very good gig to “retire” and start his own consultancy, in no small way due to the fact that his nine-to-five train had jumped the fun tracks.

Methinks we learned from his example.

And so it was that last weekend I travelled to Williamsburg, Virginia, to join a small-ish group of fellow middle-aged men to play Wiffle ball.

It was ridiculous.

It was wicked-fun.

It was a miracle that most (most…) of us walked away without limping!

I should note that there’s an honorary award for the man who receives the worst injury over the weekend. After last week’s article about “organ recitals,” you might find it ironic that it’s called the “Mossman.”

I feel so very… seen.

There were years I missed due to work travel, missed communications, and family emergencies – and I can’t tell you how many years I’ve been included in this intimate, goofy gathering of play-pigs.

What I can tell you is that what I admire the group as a whole and each man individually. They’re doctors, lawyers, writers, entrepreneurs, government employees, retirees. Many have known one other from childhood, high school, and college years. They’ve been together through growing up, marriages, divorces, births, deaths, business successes and failures – the very real stuff of life.

And still their commitment to play, to the out-loud, childlike enjoyment of life itself, hasn’t wavered an iota.

To say it was good to be back after several years and the pandemic doesn’t quite do the experience justice.

There is simply nothing quite like time spent in the company of fellow play-pigs. It’s salve for the spirit, music to the soul.

Thank you, Gentlemen.

Thanks, Dad.