A collection from my childhood that has gathered dust for the past 15 years is enjoying new life. Granted, it took me moving back to my parents’ house and the curiosity of a 3-year-old girl to make the collection relevant again, but things are once again “ballin.”
Unless you are a major fan of Don’t Blink and remember me making quick mention of it in July, you probably didn’t know that my brother and I amassed a giant collection of bouncy balls during our childhood. During our formative and pre-teen years, we hoarded the miniature rubber colored balls like they were going out of style.
Most kids would go out of their way to collect candy or new toys; we went all-in to bring home bouncy balls.
We did all we could to obtain them from feeding loose change to the bouncy ball machines at Old Navy to trading all our tickets for them at the arcade. We scoured toy aisles and ripped into goodie bags at birthday parties hoping to find them. We accepted white elephant bouncy balls from friends and even sought them out at yard sales. It was a serious collection.
But it was also more than a collection; It was a hobby. We didn’t simply bring home the balls and place them in some shrine to admire. Rather, we played with them…a lot. Out of the hundreds of bouncy balls we collected, we would rotate them out of a large sack and into our pockets. Everywhere we went, Glen and I would have bouncy balls to throw around. Supermarket aisles, the bus stop, basketball courts, and parking lots were a few of the places where we would improve our eye-hand coordination by throwing the balls back and forth…back and forth.
By the time I reached high school, I realized it wasn’t cool to stuff my pockets with rainbow-colored bouncy balls. So, a year or so after the new millennium, the balls spent more time in a large white laundry sack than they did on the streets of Spokane.
As I left my parents’ house and lived in different places across the country, my mom and dad threatened to throw out the bouncy balls. I think they were just about at their wits’ end and were seriously going to chuck them just a couple days before I told them I would be moving back to the state to work at WSU.
I am grateful for the patience of my parents because those bouncy balls are now being enjoyed by a different Reser generation. It turns out Sloan enjoys bouncy balls just as much as her daddy and uncle. For the past several nights, we have spent time in my parents’ driveway throwing them around in what we call the #BouncyBallChallenge.
You should have seen my daughter’s face light up when I opened the same plastic laundry sack that has held the bouncy balls for two decades. How could a 3-year-old resist the countless colors, designs, sizes, and textures? Each night I let her grab a couple from the sack and we go outside to play. Sidney comes out too and we enjoy some clean, cheap entertainment.
It feels good to see your daughter enjoy an eccentric pastime that you couldn’t get enough of as a kid. I am appreciative of my parents for preserving our collection and I look forward to many more fun times with our bouncy balls in the future. Don’t Blink.