Tuesday, January 05, 2016

Sepia Saturday 312 : Enlarged Balls

I couldn't help using this title - it's so obvious. I tried to think of something more refined but nothing else seemed to work. The remainder of the post will not be as tasteless and trust me, there's plenty of tasteless material out there on enlarged balls from reliable sources like "News of the World", "National Enquirer" and the like. But personally, I wouldn't touch them with a ten foot pole...that is touch the news sources or the material, I mean.

From what I've read about Push Ball or Bladder Ball, pictured in this weeks' prompt, even I could have participated in the sport as there seems to have been no skill or special coordination or stamina required. How did one win? According to Wikipedia, "victory consisted of fervent declarations of victory by each team." 

I admit I was never good at sports. I did play on a volleyball team in junior high school and that is the subject of my photo for this week. April 1957, Sargent Park Junior High School, junior girls volleyball team. I'm in the back row snuggled up against Melody Affleck...or maybe I was trying to hide behind her. Melody was the only black person I knew at that time of my life; she was the only black person in our school and her family was one of few in Winnipeg (to the best of my knowledge). Later in life, as a university student, I would get to know black people from Trinidad and Tobago and a few Africans who came to the University of Manitoba. Did they come because of academic excellence? Hardly....the university had the cheapest tuition in the commonwealth so "the price was right." I'll always remember the disbelief on the faces of the Trinidadians the first time the temperature fell below freezing and the snow began to fall. 

Can you spot the girl on the team with the baaad reputation? It was "Fish" in the back row, second from the left. That collar worn "up" in the hard rock fashion of the day was a signal. The collar combined with her kiss-curls spelled F-A-S-T. Who knows if her rep was justified or not? Teenaged girls have got to be among the cruelest of our species and perhaps we vented our angst on her by gossiping behind her back. She was very pretty, the boys liked her and we were jealous. I do know she played volleyball fairly well (at least as well as the rest of us) and she had a wonderful singing voice. 

I certainly wouldn't qualify for any volleyball team today. It's all about being TALL, tall, tall. In my photo above, I was about 5' 2". Here's how it goes now on average on professional volleyball teams. Males: Outsides 6'6"+, Opposites 6'8"+, Middles 6'7"+, Setters 6'5"+, Liberos 5'10". Females: Outsides 6'3", Opposites 6'5", Middles 6'4", Setters 6'1", Liberos 5"6"+. When you see pictures of female volleyball teams you don't realize how tall they are. Here's the 2008 US Women's National team. Most are over 6'. 

When I first looked at the prompt, I had loftier ideas for where my post could go this week. Loftier certainly than admissions of teenage jealousy and sophomoric humor about balls. But there it is and I'm publishing it before I have second thoughts and revert to my original idea about other ball games with intriguing names and rules, such as.....
Half-rubber. Yes, it's played with a rubber ball cut in half
Jorky Ball

And Quidditch, the wizard and witches game from the Harry Potter books. Teams mount broomsticks and chase a "quaffle" which is a slight deflated volleyball. 

University of Ottawa Quidditch scrimmages against the Silicon Valley Skrewts. 


  1. One of my granddaughters plays volley ball. She's not short, but I don't think she'll make 6 feet.

  2. Short players can prevail if their talent is recognized & encouraged. One of my granddaughters is fairly short, but plays basketball as a point guard because she has an excellent ball handling ability & knows exactly how to get that ball to the right team mate at the right moment. I laughed at your description of "Fish" the F-A-S-T girl on your volleyball team. In the 50s, not only were the collars worn up a 'sign', but if a girl's hem of her skirt touched the back of her ankle going down a flight of stairs, we classified her as "skanky". That's terrible. I wore the collars up on my blouses & shirts, but I was probably one of the most naïve, UNfast girl there ever was. :)

    1. The skanky definition is interesting because it's seems a girl would be more modest if her skirt was long enough to touch the back of her ankle. It must have carried some less obvious message. When I look back on those days, I wonder how we all made it out of adolescense, with all it's complications, alive and functioning.

  3. Anonymous5:14 PM

    Thanks for the humour. In future I will check with you for possible links to the week's image. But blow me down if I can't find any images of enlarged balls or bladders in my family albums. Woe is me !!

  4. You and Melody are very pretty. I had never heard of push ball. I don't think they played it in Australia?

  5. I only hope that Half-Rubber includes spinning the half-ball and flinging it off the end of your index finger.

  6. Some good memories of your fellow team members prompted by the photo, and some of those alternative ball games sound fascinating!

  7. I played volley ball also- in Labrador Canada- and I loved it. Was horribly inadequate, though, and probably a good thing that my dad got transferred to another air force base before the coaches discovered my utter lack of talent and kicked me off the team.

  8. Interesting take-off from the prompt...and I'm glad to learn about the vollyball girls...including high school Fast girls! I think I was terribly naive.

  9. An excellent story with most appropriate photos. It's strange how powerful the memories of our adolescent contemporaries can be. But be careful. The old game of "Where are they now?" is easier to play in the internet era!

  10. I do like your tongue in cheek; I do not know or played any sports apart from tennis. Yes, I could participate in PushBall as it seems easy going with the rules.