A Ball and a Wall – Michael Morse

by Michael Morse, contributing writer

Brick was better for the wall, especially if the mortar was loose, and a tennis ball was best for the projectile, but any small ball with a little bounce would do.

During the lonely days of summer when you’re twelve or thirteen or so, nobody around, and the days are endless you get creative. Throw a ball against a wall, catch it then throw it again, and before long people appear. Whoever caught the ball got to throw it. 

When ten or more kids got involved, things got interesting. We didn’t call our game “Off the Wall” for nothing. Brick walls are always grounded by cement or pavement, and neither surface is forgiving. Scrapes, bruises, lumps, and a broken bone now and then were a small price to pay to feel the power of the ball in the palm of your hand, winding up and whipping it against the wall and watching the other kids scramble.

Sometimes you caught your own throw, mostly not, some kids never caught one, others seemed to get them all, but thems the breaks when you’re a kid growing up in the seventies and your mom shows you the door and says “don’t come back till the streetlights come on.”

And no matter what, the streetlights always came on.

The secret to happiness is reasonable expectations. And knowing how to create magic out of a ball and a wall.



Michael Morse spent 23 years as a firefighter/EMT with the Providence Fire Department before retiring in 2013 as Captain, Rescue Co. 5. He is an author of several books, most offering fellow firefighter/EMTs and the general population alike a poignant glimpse into one person’s journey through life, work and hope for the future. He is a Warwick resident.

To read more of Morse’s columns for RINewsToday, go to:

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