A Less Than Triumphant Return to Third Base
Jim said he didn’t play washers often. Well, that was simply untrue.
I met Jim in the second round of the losers’ bracket at Third Base last Wednesday night. I was feeling a little confident before we started playing, what with having scored a single point in the first round (very different than my previous outing at the sports bar) and Jim’s promises that he was a novice. Eh, I figured my odds were all right.
Turns out they weren’t. As Jim raved about the other washers players being the best in the state, he rang the hole on the first toss. Needless to say, I got skunked.
However, besides being an avid storyteller (that’s a nicer term for fibber), Jim was an incredibly kind man. He started playing in the oil fields, verifying what I had reported previously about the game’s origins. Many guys, he said, would throw metal disks into old tuna cans dug into the ground during their down time.
With this sort of experience under his belt, Jim was also a great washers teacher. He very patiently explained how what I was doing, which included standing off to the side, not slinging with an arch and releasing too early, was, well, wrong.
In fact, Jim suggested I observe the extremely experienced guys at the tournament. He said that the best washers players stand right in the middle of the box, pushing the outside foot, depending upon whether the player is left or right handed, against its edge. Instead of bending the knees for release, as I tend to do, Jim recommended standing stoically, straight and tall. He also noted how I throw at the cup, instead of toward it. Like many before him, he showed me the correct handhold, thumb and forefinger around the washer with the middle finger supporting the disk.
So, Jim continued to thud disk after disk not only in the box, but also right next to or in the hole. Despite his guidance, mine mainly scuttled around the target, yet my new teacher remained encouraging.
“Practice,” Jim said. “Practice, practice, practice.”
I guess I didn’t mind losing too much with Jim’s aid.