I usually don’t keep tennis balls very long. The typical ball will meet its fate in one of two ways. Either I find something more entertaining and leave it on the ground somewhere or I chew it until I destroy it. Either way, that ball joins a long list of balls that I’ve lost or ruined. Today I’m going to talk about a ball that I found in the river a few months ago.
We were messing around down by the riverbank when we got lucky and found three or four balls. Most of them were tennis balls but I also found a blue one that is the kind used when playing racquetball. These are a little softer than tennis balls so they give more when you chew them. They’re still pretty tough so it’s not easy to destroy them.
This is the time of year when the water is high on the Boise River and the current is very fast in some areas. Dad has to watch where we go play fetch because some places are a little bit dangerous. In some parts of the river, the current would take me too far downstream and I couldn’t get back to where I started. For that reason we usually like to go where the river is wider and less turbulent.
Recently we found a couple spots that were very challenging. When Dad throws the ball in upstream, the fast current quickly sweeps it down and I jump in and have to catch up to it. It’s a lot of fun but the chances of losing a ball are greater. That’s what happened recently near the Glenwood Bridge. Dad threw a ball in and I didn’t see it. By the time I spotted it, it had caught the really fast current and was getting away.
We thought it was gone for good and didn’t think much about it. I usually have a couple balls so we just used one of the other ones we had. After I had fetched the ball a few times, it was time to go. We traveled further down the river along the greenbelt. The greenbelt runs parallel to the river and occasionally the two are close enough so you can see the river.
We had gone about a half mile from the bridge where I’d lost my ball when Dad spotted the blue ball bobbing up and down, cruising at a pretty good pace. The only way we had a chance of getting it back was if Dad could somehow show me where it was. He decided to ride on ahead and find a place where we could see the river better and spot the ball coming by.
Sure enough, it came roaring by, floating in the quick current. It was going fast and was out there quite a ways. I didn’t see it so Dad threw a stone near it and I jumped in. I didn’t see it right away but once I got out there, I saw it and quickly closed the gap until I’d caught it. The problem was the river had taken me about 50 yards downstream.
Fortunately we were in an area where there was not much debris and I was able to swim to shore with the blue ball safely in my mouth. We continued our ride and I carried the ball for about six miles or so until we got home. The only time I let it out of my mouth was to have Dad throw it for me to fetch – this time we did it in calmer water though.
The blue ball survived getting lost, finding it a half mile downstream and all the way back home. I still have it so I think I’ll hang onto it for awhile.