When I was a child we often vacationed with family friends and their boys. Boys were drawn to my dad, with his sense of humor and ability to get a game going at a moment's notice. The game could be anything—horseshoes, badminton, cards—but it usually involved a ball. We often played a game in which we threw a ball at the porch steps and scored base hits and home runs, but sometimes we just played catch.
Does anyone play catch anymore? Perhaps it's too simple for today's kids: A person throws a ball and another person catches it. On the surface, not much stimulation there. But there's fun (and a certain satisfaction) in a good throw or a good catch, and fun, too, in bad throws and crazy misses. Plus there's the interaction between the players. Catch always, it seems, involves banter—a narration of the undercurrent of competition that exists despite the lack of an official winner or loser.
I was thinking of this today as my son pulled garlic thinnings out of the soil and lobbed them to me over the garden fence. At first I couldn't seem to be able to catch any of them, and I wondered if I'd lost my hand-eye coordination (at this point, nothing would surprise me). But then I started snagging them out of the air (as my dad would have put it). We bantered. We laughed. He threw. I caught.
When we were done I went over to the outside faucet to rinse the garlic bulbs off. My son called to me that he had one more. It was a long throw, and when I caught it between two fingers I yelled "Yay!" How many opportunities do we get to yell "Yay!" in an average day? People really ought to play more catch.