Vacation brings joy like very few things can

Published 7:19 pm Wednesday, June 6, 2018

I’m on vacation this week. Vacation makes me happy. Here are some other things, sports-related and not, that make me happy:

• Wiffle Ball. I’m not sure if it’s the competition, the challenge, or just the way it takes me back to my youth — we played darn near every day in the summer in my neighborhood — but whenever a Wiffle Ball game breaks out at a family gathering it sucks me in and puts a smile on my face.

Trying to hit that stupid plastic ball, or making it move in weird directions, never gets old. I’m still trying to master the pitch one of my childhood friends threw. It skimmed the ground, swept up into the strike zone at the last minute, and was almost unhittable. Still fun to try, though.

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• The “Friday the 13th” movie series. For the longest time, and well into adulthood, these things scared me to death for some reason. They’re riddled with plot holes and insane leaps of logic, but the way the first few movies were shot almost resembles a snuff film and are pretty creepy. Even so, the annual installments were a staple of my youth and remained on in the background for the next couple of decades.

Late last year, I bought a Playstation 4 and “Friday the 13th: The Game” with it. It’s not for the kids — there’s plenty of swearing and killing, as you’d expect — but it was great therapy. My Jason Voorhees fear is gone now that I’ve gotten to play as him for a few months. Now I see the silly fun of the series and other 1980s slasher movies in general, and smile.

• Going to a Major League Baseball game. As a kid, we lived close enough to Philadelphia to go see the Phillies play once or twice a year, but it was also a big enough undertaking not to do it more than that. And now the nearest major league team is a six-hour drive away. So, for me, going to a big league game has always been a big deal that feels like a big event even if it’s one of 162 times it’ll happen this year.

The sights, the sounds, the $8 hot dogs … there’s just something special about stepping through that gate at a major league stadium.

• The first day of vacation. Quite simply, there’s nothing like it. Having the whole week laid out in front of you, with grand plans or no plans, brings an indescribable feeling of freedom. Anything is possible. Every minute you arrive early at your destination is a stolen treasure.

Come to think of it, I’m going to go enjoy what’s left of mine.

Ernest Bowker is the sports editor of The Vicksburg Post. He can be reached at