NOVAK: Hanging out with friends meant everything

For those old enough to remember the show “Mayberry R.F.D.” or even those who have watched the Andy Griffith Show, remember that so many of the episodes revolved around interactions with friends.

The interactions were both good and bad and quite often involved a lesson that was taught through the show.

I can tell you from experience, there were definitely lessons to be learned as the consequences of hanging out with your friends. They were both good and bad.

Life as a small boy in a small town revolved around your friends. Entire days were planned around what you could do or what you could get away with — everything from a neighborhood baseball game to snow football played in those infamous moon boots, if you were lucky enough to own a pair.

They were light weight, and you could make some great moves in those boots to avoid a would-be tackler or beat your defender down the field.

I can remember playing well into the darkness in those boots with all my neighborhood friends.

It was really great if you had a full moon and some new fallen snow that made it easy to see the ball, both on the ground and in the air.

Football was not the only neighborhood game in town.

Any kid who had a field big enough to play baseball, and with the fewest windows to break, would be filled with all the kids from around town.

Those games were great. They formed life-long friendships with anyone who played in them no matter which team you played for.

There the usual dustups during the game as to whether or not it was a ball or a strike, or if someone was safe at any bag.

Some of the arguments were legendary, but rarely did anyone go home still mad about what had happened.

One of the things I think kids are really missing today is jumping on their bike and going for a ride with the neighborhood kids.

There were so many things you could do. Some I am sure would have made my parents cringe — things like the ramps we built from some concrete blocks that one of our fathers used to work on their cars and a piece of plywood, which could pretty much be found in anyone’s back yard.

They were never safe, but they created a great way to get your bike into the air.

If you could build them big enough, and you could get your bike to go high enough, there were some of those kids who thought it was no problem trying to jump some of their friends who were lying on the ground just past the jump.

I cannot ever remember anyone getting seriously hurt, although looking back on it makes me wonder how we all did not end up in the hospital.

Sometimes I miss the days of hanging out with all my friends and trying to figure out something to do. I feel sorry for today’s kids who only want to play their video games and stay inside.

I cannot remember ever wanting to be inside when I was younger. That included days that it was raining or snowing.

There was always something entertaining you could do if the weather was bad. But I will leave that for another time.

Scott Novak, is sports editor for Leader Publications. He can be reached at


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