We all love wiffleball. Obviously. Why would you be on this site, let alone reading this right now if you weren’t a fanatic of the plastic? It is assumed of most wifflers that they also love baseball, as this is the sport that led to the creation of wiffleball, which most people consider a miniature version of America’s pastime. I’ve covered and followed recreational wiffleball long enough to know that the passion behind the sport is strong, fun, and growing. It is through further research that I discovered another sport league that I believe could be grouped with us oddball wifflers.
The Mini Basketball League of Vermont is a league that plays 3-on-3 b-ball games inside a small enclosed concrete rink with 8.5 feet tall basketball rims and a smaller ball, despite the rims being full size. The league’s YouTube videos garner thousands of views, and their idea has spawned other miniature basketball leagues across the country. The comments on their Facebook wall and their YouTube videos span from “What an idea! Definitely going to try to set this up in my town,” to “Wow, what a bunch of losers…play some real ball, guys.”
Why am I writing about this creative sport league? Well, I think wiffleball players have faced identical responses to those who don’t understand what the game is to us. On the surface, staging a season each year where multiple wiffleball teams try to win a championship may seem silly to some. But I believe it is the pure competitive spirit, along with the fun atmosphere created by a game such as wiffleball that makes this sport so fun. Not just playing it, but following other leagues, covering other leagues, and reading up on other leagues and how they play their variant of the game we all know and love.
These “miniature” sports are all so beloved in America, can we call them miniature? I can’t drive a golf ball to save my life, but I always win putt-putt golf matches with my friends. I can race down the ice to hit the ball into the net in a game of broomball, but I can hardly skate to play hockey. I can’t take down a 6’3”, 185-pound wideout, but I can rip the flag off his side as soon as his hands touch the pigskin.
I think we can all relate. The greatness of wiffleball leagues lies not only in the fun, but in the pretending. Come on. Don’t say you don’t step up to the plate with your golden stick and act like you aren’t the star of a Major League Baseball team with the hopes of millions of fans rested in your quick batting hands. Don’t tell me you don’t deliver plastic pitches to the strike board without the thought of hurling a perfect game just like Phillip Humber did earlier this baseball season.
Anyone can play wiffleball. Nearly anybody. That is a primary reason why we all love these silly sports. We can all play with our buddies in a joyous atmosphere all while playing a competitive sport, vying for a W.
So I leave you, the recreational wiffler, with a question to ponder the next time you pick up a plastic eight-holed ball: Is this great game really miniature?
Note: Upon discovering the MBL, I fell in love. I myself used to play basketball, and I would so join a league such as this if there were one where I live. Their 2012 season begins shortly, and they regularly post videos. Check out their official website here for more information: http://www.minibasketballusa.com/