A good day for Peak and Parentheticals

I can only hope everyone who reads this is getting the same weather I am right now. It feels like early April. Just about time to break out the old Peak ball for an afternoon tournament.

Thing is….I’ve been feeling rather nostalgic. I’ve been thinking about my old college buddies and the time we spent at 1931 Juniper Circle. For as little as we actually did there, we did a lot in the years we lived together. We laughed, cried, fought, drank, and most of all…we played.

Peak began during a fit of boredom. We stood in our little front yard, doing our best not to roll down the hill into the street (that happened from time to time). Somebody had the basketball that Cappy had brought back from a recent game. They tossed it up on the roof. “Hey, look how close I got to the top of the roof!” Those weren’t the exact words, but accurate accounts of that time are lost in a amber haze.

Soon, the days grew longer, and the games of Peak grew longer. The contest: Who could get the basketball to climb the farthest up the roof (toward the Peak, you see) without letting it fall over into the back yard and into Frank’s BBQ/Bonfire Pit (he made it out of cinder blocks and industrial grade metal mesh…we cooked bacon on it one July 5th morning…that entire scene was ugly).

Eventually, the game evolved. First, the basketball was just two heavy of an instrument. It didn’t provide the correct bounce and I think Cappy was getting upset with the shingle-scuffs on the basketball nubbins. So we switched to a finely-filled soccer ball.

Second, we were men of distinction (which is to say, we were distinctively bored) and simply trying to push the ball to its farthest Peak wasn’t enough. So were turned the game of Peak from a sport (a competition of objective scoring…like baseball, football, etc) to a bit of performance art (subjective scoring…gymnastics, synchronized swimming, etc).

We had moves. The Slow Roll Across the Top (an ultimate Peak feat of pushing the ball to the roof’s apex, making it roll a few feet along the Peak, then roll back to us on the ground without knocking over a beer). The Gutter Roll (pushing the ball close to the peak, then making it roll back down along the rain gutter). The BIG BOUNCE (throwing the ball high enough in the air that it only bounces once on the roof before it comes back to earth). The were at least a dozen moves. Some would take more time than I have to describe.

We became masters of our own game. We built a trophy. We had tournaments. The neighbors were confused. Our visitors begged us to play. It was such a phenomenon that a spontaneous game broke out several years later at a BBQ at my house the day after I got married. My friends were all in town and itching for a game.

This would be a perfect day for a game of Peak.

I know my college friends are feeling the same way…here’s a e-mail snippet from a friend of mine who I won’t identify because I didn’t ask his permission.

Endless days of John Madden 2002, beer, bbq, perhaps even a meat and

three located right next door. Sounds like some sort of nirvana. I

miss the care free days of long ago. Drinking, spending all my dough on

CDs, and sleeping like there was no tomorrow. Funny, there was a

tomorrow. Incidentally, that tomorrow is today…

Perhaps the aging hippies had it right. Shirk responsibility. Live a

minimal life… If you never had too high of a standard, you would never be

terribly burdened with the things that come with setting one’s goals too


Life ain’t bad folks…but it sure was nice back in those days. We have to make sure we remind our kids that they’re living the best years of their lives…because that’s what depressed college kids want to hear.

Have a good weekend, all.

Brad Willis

Brad Willis is a writer based in Greenville, South Carolina. Willis spent a decade as an award-winning broadcast journalist. He has worked as a freelance writer, columnist, and professional blogger since 2005. He has also served as a commentator and guest on a wide variety of television, radio, and internet shows.

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