Friday, April 10, 2009

Sports at Remote Columbia Avenue

[Steve Sylwester wrote:]

After we moved the three houses out into the country, we had a great baseball field in the Sylwester backyard with a deep outfield that extended into the Stelmachowicz backyard. Each house was located on 1.5 acres as I recall, with approximately one acre being backyard. East of the east property line was farmland, and there was no fence separating our backyards from the farmland.

In the far back northeast corner of the Sylwester property, we built a two-story treehouse without a tree, and home plate was immediately south of the "treehouse" with the third base line approximately five yards inside the property line.

I recall that Mark Klammer was a powerhouse hitter because he had the strength to swing some of those big bats.

We used to play the football punting game 5-step-kick across the Sylwester backyard north-south. We played either touch or flag football across the Klammer backyard east-west.

We golfed real golf balls with irons north-south back-and-forth between the Klammer backyard and the Stelmachowicz backyard. We played home run derby with wiffle balls and baseball bats hitting from close to the southside of the Klammer house toward the Sylwester garage (it was a home run if you could hit the wiffle ball onto the garage roof). We played golf with golf wiffle balls on a four-hole course around the Sylwester house with a tree in each corner of the house yard being the hole (hitting the trunk of the tree with the golf wiffle ball was the equivalent of hitting a golf ball into a cup). And we played kick-the-can with the run around being the Sylwester house and home being just beyond the back patio porch.

A whole lot of the Faculty Lane sports-game-playing culture moved out into the country when the three houses were moved.

One of the dumbest thing I have ever witnessed in my life occurred one day when my brother Tim and Joel Klammer — both of whom had archery sets with steel-tipped arrows — stood close together in the Klammer backyard while both of them simultaneously shot an arrow straight up. What were they thinking?! I think that same startled thought occurred to them immediately after they shot the arrows. Fortunately, no one was hurt — and they never did it again.

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