From Left Field

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By The Staff

The summer games

 One of my favorite parts of summer is getting outdoors, doing some grilling, and most of all, enjoying my favorite summer activities.

One way to stay in shape or get some exercise is to simply toss a frisbee around a state park or setting up the lawn darts in the back yard.

What? Did he say lawn darts? Yes, I miss lawn darts!

I’m somewhat upset the lawn darts, or Jarts, as they were called in my neck of the woods, have been banned due to several accidents resulting in someone more or less being impaled or skewered by the giant flying projectiles.

Basically, a Jart was an oversized dart with a metal tip. On December 19, 1988, a date which will live in lawn game infamy, Jarts were banned from sale in the United States. A new version with a tappered plastic point are now for sale, but they just aren’t the same. The weight is different and they don’t make the same “thud” sound when they plunge into the ground.

The CPSC said that all lawn darts should be destroyed, but in the back of my mind, I’m secretly hoping to find a set at a yard sale someday.

A couple of games I discovered when I moved to St. Louis were Washers, where you toss big heavy washers into a vertical section of PVC pipe. It’s like another version of horseshoes.

Another game is ladder ball, where you toss two tennis balls connected with string toward a “ladder” consisting of three rungs. I first saw this game at Cindy’s family reunion a couple years ago.

I hate to admit this, but until a few years ago, I never heard of corn hole. I see how serious corn hole is in this area, and it’s like I’ve discovered a secret society. The only bad part of corn hole is the initial cost of buying or making the equipment. It’s not like you can just open the box and start playing.

And, of course, there’s the tried and true classic frisbee. I’ve been trying in vain to get my dog to catch a frisbee for years. Basically, he just wants to chew up twigs in the backyard, so he’ll run after the frisbee in flight and then plop down at the first available tree branch to munch away.

With the pool closing down for this summer, everyone has been frantic about what to do. I suggest that you invest a few dollars into some lawn games and make your yard your own personal playground. Or you can visit one of the many parks in the area.

I’ve made a habit of visiting Millenium Park in Danville once in a while because it has a doggie park. I really think that is something Springfield should look into in the future.

We’re only limited by our imaginations. Make a day of packing up the family, fixing a picnic lunch and using the facilities at one of our area parks. We’re paying for them with our tax money, so why not enjoy them?

Anyway, I guess the point I’m trying to make is, now that summer is here and we take time off from school or even work for a week or two, don’t spend your time inside playing video games all day or surfing the Internet on the computer.

I remember the days of my youth during summer break when I would leave the house that morning and spend all day with my friends playing army, riding bikes or playing ball in the neighborhood field. We wouldn’t return home until that evening, when we had to be on the porch when the street lights came on. Even then, we would spend another hour outside on the porch before finally returning inside.

It would look silly for us adults to play army now, but I encourage you to get some friends together, fire up the grill and play a few of your favorite outdoor lawn games. Get some fresh air and enjoy some time in the sun, just not too much unless you wear sunscreen.

Now where are those lawn darts?