Whiffle Ball

Nationality: Russian

Primary Language: English

Other language(s):  Russian

Age: 22

Occupation: Student

Residence: California

Performance Date: 4-3-18


What it is: Whiffle ball

“Growing up my dad,.. I don’t know he always played sports so he played and passed it down, taught us this game. In teams of two, in my backyard and on a tennis court, we played this game that had made up rules. So they kind of changed as you played. Every Friday in the dark we’d play with certain rules. If you hit over the left side, automatically 3 outs and next inning, if you hit to the right you get to hit again. All the same baseball rules apply with differences. If you hit and run to base, you are on offense and get the ball but can’t get to the base, you can throw the ball at the runner and if it hits them they are out. This was a game we played often, every Friday night and holidays, with the whole family (we’d have huge teams).”

Why they know it:  This game was passed on from her father who played it a lot growing up and showed it to Whitney and her siblings.

When is it played: In her family fairly regularly; however, this could be played everyday (during recess, at picnics, family dinners, etc).

Where did it come from: She wasn’t quite sure. All she could tell me was her father played it as a kid.

Why its done: The game offers pure enjoyment. There isn’t a specific meaning other than this game brings people together and allows them to joke and play.

How they know it: Whitney knows this game because of her father.

Also seen as/played by: In elementary school, I would play a similar game… at least it was also called whiffle ball. While Whitney’s version was similar to baseball, our version was more closely aligned to the “hot lava monster” or “hot potato. We would stand/sit on desks and throw a soft ball across the room. Before you threw the ball you had to make eye contact, say something that pertained to the topic of choose (for example, birds) and throw the ball. If the person you’re throwing it too didn’t catch it, they were out. And the game would continue till one was left, then they choose the next topic and it continued.

Thoughts: While our versions are completely different, I can understand the game Whitney’s father passed on to her because of my experiences. Thus, I feel as if I am connected to Whitney in a closer way because of our shared experiences. In my opinion, I think games, like the one above, are one of the best examples of folklore, how the folklore changes, and how its incorporated into everyday life.