Page:America's National Game (1911).djvu/57

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31
AMERICA'S NATIONAL GAME

throws; Tom catches. Back and forth flies the ball till the school bell rings, and in this simple little form of exercise we have "Throw and Catch" as the second stage in the evolution of our game—with Two Boys and a Ball.

Now, human nature is not only social in its demands; it is also enterprising—and fickle. Bounding a ball on the ground is well enough if a lad is alone and can't get company. Throw and Catch beats no game at all; but it becomes tiresome after a while. And so, when school is over, or on Saturdays, when there is no school, we find Tom and Dick out behind the barn, inventing a new and different phase of the game of ball.

"I'll tell you what we'll do," says Tom. "I'll throw the ball against the barn. You get that old axe-handle over there and strike at it as it comes back. If you miss the ball and I catch it, you're out; or, if you hit the ball and can run and touch the barn and return before I can get the ball and hit you with it, you count one. If I hit you with the ball before you get back to your place, you're out. See.?"

They try it; find it works well, and the third stage of the game is developed in "Barn-Ball"—with Two Boys, a Bat and a Ball.

Again, it happens sometimes that it is not altogether convenient to play barn-ball. The game requires a barn. Now, while most boys may usually be depended upon to have a large and varied assortment of things in pocket, it sometimes occurs that a barn is not one of them; so barn-ball is out of the question. Tom and Dick are coming from school with Harry, They tell the new boy about