A group of Palos Heights kids rekindled that hometown community feel by starting up Wiffle Wednesdays right in the neighborhood for children of all ages. The wiffle ball games take place every Wednesday night at 5 p.m. sharp at Crawford Park, 12944 S. Cedar Lane, Palos Heights. (Supplied photos)
Palos Heights families take a swing at Wiffle Wednesdays
By Kelly White
Kids are gathering outside and playing in the parks until they are called home for dinner and this isn’t a reflection 1980s.
A group of Palos Heights parents and children worked together to rekindle that hometown community feel by starting up Wiffle Wednesdays right in the neighborhood for children of all ages. The wiffle ball games take place every Wednesday night at 5 p.m. sharp at Crawford Park, 12944 S. Cedar Lane, Palos Heights.
“My favorite part about Wiffle Wednesday is getting everyone from the neighborhood together to have fun,” Johnny Sokolowski, 9, of Palos Heights, said.
Wiffle ball, a team sport developed in 1953 in Fairfield, Connecticut, is a scaled back variation of baseball designed to take the place of baseball, stickball and softball for boys and girls playing in back yards and city streets. It is a simplified version of the game of baseball that is designed to be a miniature version of the game. The sport is played using a perforated light-weight plastic ball and a long hollow plastic bat.
Palos Heights’ informal and free wiffle ball tournament was started up by Johnny and Erin Sokolowski, Marty and Jack and Molly Mercer.
“Wiffle Wednesday is just a way to get a bunch of kids together to have fun,” Erin Mercer, of Palos Heights, said. “After Palos Baseball Organization season was over, our kids missed hanging out with their friends and this is a way to do that and encourage a little friendly competition at the same time.”
The first game kicked off on July 19 with 30 kids and by July 26, the game had over 50 kids. Boys and girls of all kids of all ages are welcome. Currently, the typical crowd of players consists mostly of kids ages to 7 to 11 years old.
The North Palos Fire Protection District even joined in on the fun showed up with their hoses to cool down the kids after the first wiffle ball game.
Parents are hoping to continue this until school begins in August.
“I love playing wiffle ball with my friends and neighbors,” Jack Mercer, 8, of Palos Heights, said.
“There is just something great about getting so many people from our community together at once,” Mercer said. “The older kids get to play wiffle ball, the younger kids get to have fun at the park, and the parents get an excuse to hang out and catch up.”
There are no official registration forms or information needed to play. The game is simple and the rules are simpler: just show up.
“A strong sense of community is just one of the things that makes Palos Heights such a great place to live,” Molly Sokolowski, of Palos Heights, said. “Getting people together like this strengthens the bond and builds that sense of community.”
“My favorite part of wiffle ball is getting to play with my friends from all different schools in Palos and meeting new friends,” Marty Mercer, 9, of Palos Heights, said.
Children interested in taking part in coming games can meet at Crawford Park at 5 p.m. on Wednesdays August 9, 16 and 23.
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