Stickball (America’s Original Favorite Pastime)

Ben Adams, MDiv senior at LSTC, shares a reflection on communal living and learning through play.

Ben stickball cover

A small but formidable group of men and women gathered together to play the game of Stickball on a cold November afternoon during the American Indian/Alaska Native (Vine Deloria Jr.) Symposium. Excitedly, the group walked out to the quad to find miniature lacrosse sticks, a small leather ball, and a wooden fish perched way atop a metal pole. 

Stick ball

The pole and fish lie in wait for players to arrive.

The object of the game was to earn points for your team by hitting the wooden fish with the leather ball and let me tell you, it is easier said than done.  For men they had to use two of the miniature lacrosse sticks to accomplish this task, and for women, they could use their hands.  We gathered around the pole, and screamed to kick off the game as the ball was launched up into the air.

Alex reaches for the ball

Alex reaches for the ball

It’s hard to truly know what happened beyond that point because chaos ensued.  We had men swiping for the ball with their sticks, women sacrificing their bodies to capture the ball as if they were protecting their first born child, and people were running in every direction like chickens with their heads cut off as we tried, with almost no success to hit the wooden fish with the ball.  I’m sure everyone left the quad that day a bit more humbled, but I also know that based on how much fun we had playing, our first time playing Stickball will certainly not be our last.

I thank our Native siblings in the LSTC community who invited us to play, and I was honored to share the field with the LSTC students and staff who were bold enough to try something new.

The annual (and newly renamed!) Vine Deloria, Jr. Symposium is supported by and run out of the Pero Multicultural Center at LSTC.


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