spaldingEver peel a tennis ball of its furze? Let’s be more specific. Ever peel a tennis ball of its furze in 1963? I have no idea what lives inside the neon-green buzz-cut stubble of today’s tennis ball, but back then it was a naked rubber ball, pink as a day-old rat. Inevitably, there were rejects in their making, forbidden to slip on the jacket that would transform them into tennis balls, and the Spalding Co. sold them under the name of High Bounce. City dwellers adopted the ball, took it to their collective heart, renamed it Spaldeen (that’s Bronx for Spalding), and beat it mercilessly with sticks. Thus was born the urban legend of the Spaldeen, that tactile little orb of workingman’s pink without which no stickball game could hold its head high. Then, in 1979, Spalding stopped the flow of Spaldeens, and cities everywhere went into decline. Equally inexplicably, Spalding started selling them again this year. Don’t ask why this hiatus, just go buy. Buy a dozen of these lively delights, bounce them high and hard, roll one on your fingertips, taste its specific gravity by tossing it from hand to hand, throw one at a friend when he isn’t looking—it leaves no dent. Despite the 700% price hike since they were last on the market, at $1.69 it is worth having a few around to make sure a legend is always within reach.

(from the Boston Globe)