I�m headed to North Carolina�s Outer Banks this weekend, but I�m not sure if I�ll ever make it to the beach. I learned today that the house where I�m staying has a horseshoe pit. For the past three months whenever I�m with a group of people and we�re outside I get the overwhelming urge to pitch horseshoes. And I usually share this enthusiasm with my friends - who don�t seem as keen on the subject. The conversation usually turns to lawn darts and the ridiculousness of legislating backyard sports. That�s cool. I understand why the conversation goes that way. (And I wouldn�t mind tossing lawn darts if the situation presents itself) But I�m serious about fulfilling my desire to pitch horseshoes. It sounds like I�ll get my chance this weekend.
I haven�t actually held a horseshoe (in a non-wall decoration setting) since the summer of 1994. While at a family reunion in the western part of Kentucky a horseshoe game developed. I wanted to enjoy it then, but I just wasn�t able to get into things. The horseshoe pit was rather makeshift and set away from the picnic house in a slightly wooded and shaded part of our party area. I don�t think horseshoes should be played in the shade. It�s a backyard sport that requires full sun. And maybe part of my thinking of the definition of sport requires sweat � and to work up a sweat while pitching horseshoes, I�m going to need to be in the sun.
During the summer of 1989 I became a convert to horseshoes as a full-blown, incredibly fun recreational activity. This time the family reunion was being held in Virginia � at my parents� house. My grandparents lived a few miles away and their yard was bigger, allowing them to host most of the outdoor activities.
I was positively thrilled to have gone shopping one day to purchase an Aerobie. Of course, the real fun came the next day when the horseshoe action got into full swing! My grandfather, his brothers and their wives had set up the stakes and the pits in the old garden area. It proved an ideal spot for the next few days of horseshoe fun. I was (and still am) just a beginner - my relatives had their technique figured out
The simple act of tossing two pound metal horseshoes at a stake in the ground just forty feet away proved to be an excellent way to spend an afternoon. Imaging playing now with a beer in hand sounds even more irresistible. And it�s much easier to chase a horseshoe that�s rolled away than to climb the neighbor�s tree that�s snared an Aerobie. During that weekend I was converted to the world of ringers and leaners. Trying to knock your opponent�s horseshoe away from the stake seems like a much cooler, real world thing to do than the hoity-toitiness of going all "Heathers" on your friend�s croquet ball.
While in North Carolina this weekend, the odds are good I can be found not at the beach trying to impress with my suave bodysurfing, but in the pit showcasing my 1 1/4 turn shoe pitch.