Fireballing

Imagine a dozen or so people in a gym throwing several tennis balls back and forth—not necessarily at each other, just back and forth. Now, take those same tennis balls, cut a hole in them, stuff them with cotton cloth and wrap cotton cloth around them, sewing up the edges. Then soak them in kerosene for two weeks. Then gather those same dozen people, put them in a field at night, drop the cotton-wrapped, kerosene-soaked tennis balls in a fire, and then throw them into the field and have the people throw them back and forth to each other. That’s fireballing and that’s what we did tonight.

We have some friends who live over the mountain from us—about two miles as the crow flies, but about 15 minutes by car—in a community called Pine Log. Every year about this time, their family and friends gather for some fireballing, and they invited us to join them tonight. A couple of people spend a lot of time stuffing and sewing the cotton in and around about 50 tennis balls for the festivities. No one there knew how long it had been going on exactly, but a date that was thrown around was 1918. Someone else said that it was invented in the middle ages in Europe.

If you would like to get a video taste you can go here or here. The second video said it started in the 1950s, but there were some people there older than that who said they remember coming as kids. All the girls threw at least a couple. All you need is a good pair of leather gloves. Of course, now we all smell a little like kerosene, but the cultural experience was worth it—and the hot chocolate and cookies afterward at our friends’ house.

The Baileys are coming on Sunday. We are looking forward to the visit. The weather is supposed to be nice, but quite cold. It’s possible that there will be lots of inside games happening. Thankfully, we got several new ones for Christmas.

We hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas.

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