About seven years ago, I began collecting orbs.
As an umpire, I see that players routinely leave balls and equipment at their fields, often still there the next morning. At Cobb’s Hill, I found many a ball in the dugouts, bushes or on the other side of the fence by 490. Going further, I decided to accumulate as many found orbs as possible. The only rule was all orbs had to be found not purchased. Softballs, baseballs, basketballs, footballs, rugby balls, soccer balls, cricket balls, tennis balls, golf balls, Frisbees, racquet balls, handballs, croquet balls, badminton shuttle cocks, lacrosse and fields hockey balls, volleyballs, wiffle balls. Even a bowling ball. One time after the season had ended, our friend Dean and I found 45 softballs in 25 minutes in the wooded area behind the softball fences at Kent Park in Webster.
And every May at the Meadowbrook neighborhood garage sales at the Get Some Balls! stand we sold the found merchandise. And every year I made new friends in the neighborhood.
Last year just about everything sold. In the interim, my orb collecting enthusiasm waned and I primarily collected tennis balls. On my morning walk past Cobb’s Hill scattered about the tennis courts are always tennis balls. I mean always. This year there was barely a day — even in the cold months — that I did not find at least one. Good days can yield a dozen. I now have hundreds.
Many mornings my friend Chauhao Luong — you met in Diehards and the Cobb’s Hill Tennis Courts — is there playing tennis. From Vietnam, Chauhao says in his home country I would not find any balls. In Vietnam tennis balls are always reinflated when they become mushy or they are stripped down and used to repair shoes or even tires. I also found some baseballs and batting practice balls in the wooded area next to McQuaid High School.
Saturday and Sunday just about everything sold. There are still two bins of tennis balls left to be donated to a city youth recreational center.
All yard sales of found orbs and sports equipment come to an end. We don’t anticipate any more scavenging and hoarding. So bid a fond farewell to the Get Some Balls! stand.
In the finale, we especially rediscovered how cosmopolitan is Meadowbrook. We met the Harand family who moved to Rochester from Lyons, France in July. Benoît is a Product Sourcing Manager at Alstom Transport in Henrietta. I learned that about 3 or 4 French-owned companies are in the Rochester area and at any give time about 200 French people can be found. With the Harand’s now baseball loving children enrolled in local schools, the family may stay for quite some time. Benoît says his lifestyle here is not that different from France. And he can get the finest Frence cheeses from Wegmans.
Kerry — married to the American Dorothy — was raised in Ireland and has lived all over the UK. He was surprised to discover that Meadowbrook with its Tudor homes is strikingly similar to an English village. Interestingly, Kerry has never been to the Old Toad pub on Alexander. Dorothy thinks it would make him a little too homesick.
We also saw our Israeli friend Mr. Eraam whose son Noam you met in Kids Fishing Derby at Brighton Town Park. And a fish story.
Rashi is from India. She moved to Meadowbrook after living in California during the dot com bust. She thinks Rochester is ideally sized. And, if not for the dot com bust, Rashi never would have met Rochestarian Will.
Will had read Howard the Duck is back by popular demand. Buy balls at the Meadowbrook garage sales and was validly confused by the premise. He thought we were selling ducks. But he did not feel “baited and swiched” after he bought a basketball.