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Physical Contest Games Tether Ball

( Physical Contest, Team Wars and Battle, Tennis Ball, Tetherball )

This is one of the most delightful and vigorous games especially adapted to small playing space a plot twenty feet square being enough for it. The paraphernalia for the game consists of a wooden pole placed upright so that it shall stand ten feet above the ground. The pole must be embedded deeply enough to be perfectly firm during the strain of the play. It will probably need to be about three feet below the surface. A pole should measure seven and a half inches in circumference at the ground and should taper toward its upper end. A black stripe should be painted around it six feet above the ground.

To the top of this pole a ball is attached by a stout linen cord or fishing line. The ball should be preferably a tennis ball and should have a netted cover by means of which it is attached to the cord. No metal should be used around it in any way. The cover may be knotted or crocheted of heavy linen cord or fish line. When hanging at rest the ball should be seven and a half feet from the top of the pole and two and a half feet from the ground. The ball is played upon by tennis rackets in the hands of two players.

It is particularly desirable to have the specially made ball and cord for this game but any of the paraphernalia may be improvised the pole being cut from a sapling and even the bats whittled from strips of thin board about the size of a shingle.

On the ground around the pole a circle should be drawn three feet in radius that is six feet in diameter. A straight line twenty feet in length should bisect the circle to separate the territory for the players. In addition to the circle and line two spots should be marked on the ground from which the ball is served. These should be at the ends of an imaginary line crossing the first line at right angles and should be six feet from the pole one on each side of the ground.

Where there are more than two players they are divided into two opposing groups each member of a team or group stepping forward in turn to play with the member of the opposite team. Only these two play upon the ball during one game.

The game consists on the part of one player in trying to wind the cord with the ball attached around the pole above the line by batting it with his tennis racket. The opponent tries (1) to interfere and reverse the action of the ball by batting it in the opposite direction and (2) for his part to wind the ball around the pole in his direction.

The players toss rackets or resort to some other method of choosing sides of the ground. The game starts with each player on his service point the player who lost in the toss for choice of ground has the first service. The player who has the choice of ground has also the choice of direction in which to wind the ball.

The ball is then put in play by the server who may hit the ball but once. Should he fail to send it across the line with his first serve he loses his serve and the opposite player has the ball. The players have each one strike at the ball in turn. It is sometimes possible to send the ball so high and with so much force that it will wind around the pole in one stroke before the opponent can hit it with his racket. Of course such strokes should be the endeavor of both sides.

Should a player fail to hit the ball the opponent has the next turn either on service or after the ball is once in play.

Each player must keep entirely on his own side of the dividing line both with his feet his arms and his racket. Neither player may step on or over the circle about the pole. If the string winds around the handle of a racket of one of the players it is a foul. It is also a foul for the string to wind about the pole below the black mark and counts against the player in whose direction it is wound that is if it winds in the direction in which he is trying to send the ball. Penalty for transgression of any of the above rules (fouls) is allowing the opponent a free hit from his service mark. When a ball is taken for service in this way if it has to be either wound or unwound on the pole a half turn so as to reach the other side it shall be unwound.

The game is won when the string has been entirely wound around the pole above the limit line. When there are but two players the one wins who has the majority out of eleven games. Where there are more than two players the team wins which has the greatest number of games to its credit at the end of from two to five rounds as may be decided at the opening of the series.

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