Wednesday, January 11, 2012


I am going to share a tale of my childhood. I say "tale" because sometimes when I am telling people about this, I feel like I must be making it up. But I'm pretty sure it was real and constitutes some of my favorite memories.

My dad has always liked "Calvin & Hobbes," and I grew to love the comic books he had in the bookshelf. Unfortunately, that came later in life. At the tender age of 6, I was unfamiliar with the amazing Calvin & Hobbes and consequently, Calvinball.

For those of you NOT familiar with Calvinball - it's basically a game with crazy and/or chaotic rules, ever-changing goals and no real sense of accomplishment or conclusion. In the comic books it is hilarious. In real life, it's hilarious for other people.

When we were little (I'm 6-7-8, Brooke is 4-5-6, Mitch is an infant) we spent so much time outside. I miss that. No surprise to you, my reader, one of our favorite pastimes was our beloved game of "Calvinball." Like it's namesake, the rules were flexible, the goals were arbitrary and it was altogether ridiculous. Here's how it went.

My dad would stand at the far end of the yard with a Nerf ball in hand. Maybe two. It's hard to tell. At the other end of the yard, Brooke or I would stand and bounce on a mini-trampoline. You know. The aerobics style one. Keep in mind, we're fresh out of the 80s at this point, guys.

So we would bounce and bounce and bounce. Finally my dad would yell, at some random moment, "GOOOO!!!!" We would shriek like tiny banshees and leap from the brightly colored midget tramp and take off across the yard.

Now, I THINK the object was to get to the opposite end of the yard. But to be honest, I don't know. I don't think we ever made it that far. Because, you see, the second part of the game prevented that.

The second part of the game basically consisted of my dad throwing the Nerf ball at us as hard as he could. Dodgeball style. We would duck and weave, spin, twirl and jump. But we all got drilled in the end.

And that was it. There were no points, no goals. It was simple. Juvenile.

And so freaking fun.

We loved it. We would beg my dad to play. We'd go for hours and hours. Seems strange, doesn't it? "Dad! Dad! Let's play Calvinball! Let's go run in the yard while you throw foam balls at us!"

I see now that it was never about the game. The reason it was so fun for us is because we were having fun with our dad, and the activity didn't matter. As weird and sadistic as the game may seem, it was something we all wanted to do together. Everyone benefited. I remember my mom sitting on the back porch steps, usually playing with baby Mitch (such an ironic phrase to use since he is now 10 feet tall), laughing and laughing at our antics.

These are some of my most cherished memories, and I'd never give them up. I still laugh and reminisce every time I see a mini-tramp or a Calvin & Hobbes comic strip. I can't describe how happy I am to have this, and how excited I am to, someday, in the far future, play my own version of Calvinball with my own little punks.


  1. Love the story! I, too, have grand memories of games involving mini trampolines!

    Also, pretty sure I have a near identical picture from my childhood. I'll need to find that for you.

  2. Ahhhhh!!! What great memories!!! I just wish you could of captured the sound of your shrill screams as you were "dodging" the calvin ball!!! Where did the years go!!!!