By Anna Mayes
Elm Staff Writer
Baseball is America’s favorite past time, but it would not be the popular sport it is today without townball.
Townball is a form of the British game Rounders. According to Madison Kaye, president of the Washington College History Society, “it was played in America from the early 1800s into the 1900s and is a stepping stone towards modern baseball.”
Students love playing townball to preserve the tradition. Junior Casey Williams started on a whim after a friend invited her to a game. She has been playing ever since.
“It’s been a great experience—it’s a fun way of meeting new people and preserving a local tradition,” said Williams.
Professors, students, and even some graduates get together to play the game. “I think it’s awesome that one local tradition can connect so many people,” she said.
Kaye said that this event is unique because it allowsWC to keep a piece of history alive in a way that is fun and interactive.
“By playing townball, we can experience what the residents of Chestertown experienced during the 1800s, which allows us to relate to them in a more significant way than just reading about them in a textbook,” Kaye said.
Townball rules are similar to those of baseball, but with a few exceptions. Senior Katie Walker described the game as a mixture of dodgeball and baseball.
Townball is played using the “four base” set up of baseball, but you start the game in between first and home. A ball is in play when the bat makes contact with the ball, regardless of where or how far the ball goes (which is good for those who aren’t as experienced or sporty).
The bases can be run in any order, but there is not stealing allowed. We do however allow “weasel-ing,” meaning that you don’t have to run straight from one base to the other, you can run around the whole field, tiring out the person chasing you before you make your way to the base.
“The group who normally comes out to the games is really open and friendly, with some light banter going,” said Walker.
Games can include anywhere from five to 15 people, but the History Society is always looking for more people to come out to play. “The larger the group, the better,” Walker said.
Last year, there were games in the fall and only one game in the spring. This year, Kaye wants to have a tournament in the spring, like other intramural sports that are on campus.
“Anyone is allowed to play. This includes students, faculty, staff, and members of the community,” she said.
Townball is something that everyone enjoys. “Everyone always has a fun time when they play because we really do not take the games too seriously,” Kaye said. They also often do not keep score.
Williams has played in almost every townball game since the end of last semester.
“I was disappointed that I missed the last game of the semester, but I’ll definitely be playing in the spring,” she said.
The point of having townball games is to be active, have fun, and keep the tradition of townball alive.
“I look forward to our games because it’s a fun way to get out some energy and be around some funny people,” Walker said. “They like to pull out the old fashioned insults, just for the game.”
The date and time of their winter games have yet to be determined, but they will be every other week on the tennis courts in the Johnson Fitness Center.
Spring games will probably start after spring break with games every Friday at 6 p.m. on the campus green behind the Toll Science Center.