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  • Writer's pictureJenny Lynn Keller

Best Play of the Game

March Madness in the South means basketball tournaments and the beginning of pollen season. One almost as crazy as the other if you have allergies. But let’s stick to ball on this Southern-Fried Friday, as in stick ball. What, you never heard of it? The game originated with prehistoric Native American tribes as a way to settle disputes without going to war. Think last man standing, and you get the picture. Early settlers in the Southeast observed Cherokee Indians playing a less violent form similar to lacrosse where each man carried two sticks to grasp the ball and throw it through a goal. Sticks were made of hickory because of its hardness and local abundance, webbing attached to the stick came from animal sinew or hide, and the ball was a rock padded with hair and covered with hide. No referees, rules, or women participants allowed. Think hockey without helmets and pads.

Proverbs 17:14 has a better suggestion as true today as in earlier times. “The start of a quarrel is like a leak in a dam, so stop it before it bursts.”

To see a stick ball game, visit Cherokee, North Carolina, and watch the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Indians play the modern version. What’s your favorite sport to play or watch?


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