Folk Jokes

Justin Hargrove/Jeff Newman – Box of Curve Balls?

Justin is a year younger than I am, but we have still gone through the same trials and tribulations of the baseball program at Fallbrook High School. While there were plenty of bad times that we endured there, it was not all horrible. We actually had some fun sometimes. The best inside joke that we played was when we sent the newly admitted freshman running around in circles trying to find objects that did not exist. This only worked because of the fear that our head coach Matt Parker instilled in anyone who walked on the field. The young freshman would get on their hands and knees if Parker asked them too. This played perfectly into our little game.

As upperclassmen, Justin, myself, and our other friends had already gone through our initiation. Parker had already played this game on us when we were freshman. So we knew what was going on when Parker decided to start the game.

It all began when Parker would call an unknowing freshman and very firmly ask him to find any one of these four things. It was random, but each item worked just the same. Parker would yell at the freshman and tell him to “Go bring him the key to the batter’s box.” He also would ask for “a box of curve balls, the key to the flagpole, or a left-handed bat.” Now, a freshman, terrified by the mere gaze of Matt Parker would run to the assistant coach and ask for help in locating the fake item. While the rest of the team knew that there was no such thing as a “box of curve balls,” the freshman did not take the time to acknowledge exactly what he was searching for. He would be sent on a wild goose chase going from person to person asking where the box of curve balls was. If he ever went back to Parker, he would get an earful from him and then be threatened with laps if he did not continue searching.

This game would go on anywhere between 20-30 minutes. The upperclassmen would snicker anytime the freshman would come to them. But because of the fear for Parker, the freshman would continue the endless search. Eventually, the entire team would break out in laughter and the joke would end. The freshman running around had now been initiated onto the baseball team. He had joined our ring of folklore jokes. He could finally be called a part of the baseball team. And the next time that this joke was played on another freshman, he would be part of our group that knew what was going on.

Justin never was a victim of this joke, but I can vividly remember searching for a key to the flagpole my freshman year. I was embarrassed for awhile, but the experience was well worth it to become a member of the team. Feeling like I was a part of a special group of friends was one of the best feelings I had ever felt. Looking back, running around aimlessly for half an hour was well worth the reward of four years on the baseball program.