[B]ecause it's a warm Sunday afternoon, the ball is in play all across the region—any ball, on every patch of grass, every field and diamond and pitch. At the clink of an aluminum bat and the convergence of female softball players, two boys under a nearby hoop stop facing off to see how the play turns out. So do some casual soccer players just over the fence. I feel for a moment like an alien, entranced by our fondness for small representations of the spheroid on which we live. How we love to test gravity and admire the trajectory of a spinning orb!To avoid utter and repeated humiliation, I have made it a lifetime practice to avoid any activity requiring the application of force to a ball—spherical or otherwise. Possible exceptions might be bowls, bowling, croquet, snooker and billiards, in all of which the ball(s) move in two dimensions, not three, with the players taking turns to influence the movement of the ball(s).
Above all, these are games of interception, games about striking and stopping, meeting and returning, launching a ball or interrupting its decaying orbit with a glove or foot or bat or racquet.
Verlyn Klinkenborg writes in the NYT's Editorial Notebook (5 Apr 10) about the alleged enchantment of The Ball in Flight.
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