Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Donkey Basketball - A Blast From My Past


I found these pictures recently that brought back a half-forgotten memory. In the mid 1970s when I was young teen, donkey ball was a popular way to raise funds for school, church and civics organizations. I had heard of donkey baseball and thought it sounded like fun, so when I was asked to play a game of donkey basketball, I jumped at the chance. I don't remember what we were raising money for; I just showed up on the appointed day and hopped on a donkey. Tickets had been sold, though, so a merry crowd, anticipating fun, filled the school stadium we were playing in. What a wild, raucous game we played! Donkeys are notorious for their independence. When they don't want to do something, they... don't. I was spending so much time trying to coax my balky beast to go toward my basket rather than the opponents, that I didn't notice the referees encouraging and even rewarding the donkeys for unsportsmanlike conduct such as sudden stops, or bending their heads down so the rider slid off. I enjoyed riding contrary, spirited horses, so I had no trouble staying on my donkey; as for getting him to go where I wanted him to, that was a little trickier.

I admit I thought Donkey sports, which have been around since Depression days, had gone the way of the leisure suit, but I discovered that they are provided still, by small,family owned businesses that train the donkeys and truck them around to fundraisers in small towns across the USA. Despite the concerns of animal rights activists, the donkeys are firmly in charge; the referees keep an eye on things as well. Owners of the donkeys claim there have been no injuries to donkeys although a few humans have had minor injuries. Nowadays the riders have to sign waivers, take a short class, and wear helmets and pads, but still the games are played strictly for laughs. This quirky, charming bit of Americana may not be around much longer. I  could find only three companies across the U.S. that still provide these games. What about you? Any Donkey Ball in your past? Or future?

8 comments:

nikkipolani said...

Yes! I remember donkey basketball! My school had them, I suppose, to raise funds for something or other, though I've long forgotten the details. I smiled reading about all the waivers and "training" to ride one these days.

steviewren said...

I loved up the lyrics for you. We only sang one verse...it seems there are lots more. Debbie Reynolds sang this song in a movie.

(Chorus): "Aba daba daba daba daba daba dab" means
"Monk, I love but you"
"Aba daba dab," in monkey talk,
Means "Chimp, I love you too"
Then the big baboon, one night in June
He married them, and very soon,
They went upon their aba daba honeymoon

Way down in the Congo land,
Lived a happy chimpanzee
She loved a monkey,
with a long tail,
Lordy, how she loved him!

Each night he would find her there,
Swinging in the coconut tree
And the monkey, gay
At the break of day,
Loved to hear his chimp-y say:

"Aba daba daba daba daba daba daba"
Said the chimp-y to the monk
"Aba daba daba daba daba daba daba"
Said the monkey to the chimp
All night long, they'd chatter away,
All day long they were happy and gay
Swingin' and singin' in a honky-tonky way

"Aba daba daba daba daba daba daba" means:
"Monk, I love but you"
"Aba daba dab," in monkey talk, means:
"Chimp, I love you too"
Then the big baboon, one night in June
He married them, and very soon
They went upon their aba daba honeymoon

(Faster): "Aba daba daba daba daba daba daba"
Said the chimp-y to the monk
"Aba daba daba daba daba daba daba"
Said the monkey to the chimp
All night long, they'd chatter away
All day long they were happy and gay
Swingin' and singin' in a honky-tonky way

"Aba daba daba daba daba daba daba" means:
"Monk, I love but you"
"Aba daba daba," in monkey talk, means:
"Chimp, I love you too"
Then the big baboon, one night in June
He married them, and very soon
They went upon their aba daba honeymoon

Then the big baboon, one night in June,
He married them, and very soon
They went upon their aba daba honey . . .
Aba daba, aba daba, aba daba honeymoon
A-honeymoon!

As for the board straight hair...I was never able to achieve that look until I bought a flat iron. Love my flat iron. My favorite dress in high school was one I made with a sweet heart neckline.

Islandsparrow said...

I have never ever heard of donkey sports - but I would have loved it!

Connie said...

Never heard of Donkey basketball etc. until you wrote about it! I think beasts of burden are cute however I am not sure I want to ride one.

jenniferw said...

Absolutely. Have been to many hilarious donkey basketball games over the years. I was sad to hear that PeTA is out to get the purveyors of donkey ball, because I don't think the animals mind it at all. i think they like it. Seems it's a crime to have good clean fun in America now.

Merle said...

Dear Tracie ~~ Never heard of donkey sports either. Looks like and sounds like fun. With the donkeys enjoying it most.
Thanks for your comment and for spotting the meerkats. I like them.
Glad you and your hubby enjoyed the jokes. Take care, my friend,
Love, Merle.

this is my patch said...

I've never heard of a Donkey Ball! Great photos though. I am wondering whether they still provide donkey rides along the beaches in the UK? x

Nicole said...

Wow, i've never heard of that, but it sounds fun! It would be neat to do it someday... I hope it doesn't go out comletely!

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