Backyard baseball loses playing field

For 3 1/2 years, Robert Carr Chapel’s chimes could have played “Take Me Out to the Ball Game,” at 3 o’clock every Friday.

The recent construction on Clark Hall has a group of seniors surprised and upset by the loss of Clark Lawn, which has served as their Tennisball baseball field since the beginning of their freshman year.

“I was mad. I was ticked off,” said Kirk Oliver, senior marketing major and former Clark residential assistant. “I’ve been playing for four years. We have a Web site and stat books. It’s my last year and I won’t get to play again.”

Harold Leeman, the associate director of major projects, says the project will be quick and Clark Lawn will return to normal by the beginning of the fall semester.

Oliver and his friends began playing Tennisball baseball in the fall of 2004.

Nathan Kaspar, senior criminal justice major and one of the sport’s founders at TCU, said the game started as something fun he and his friends would do but eventually evolved into a sport.

“Sometime during the course of our freshman year we just decided to go out and play baseball with a tennis ball and peg each other,” Kaspar said.

The Tennisball baseball players took their game seriously. Statistics were taken at every game and later posted on the Tennisball baseball MySpace page, and the team made T-shirts.

“We just accrued more guys as time went by,” Kaspar said. “People would just walk by and ask if they could join in. It almost became a club sport on campus.”

The sport became so popular they even had to cut players, Kaspar said.

Oliver estimates that more than 70 different people have played Tennisball baseball over the years. As an RA in Clark, Oliver said he used it as an opportunity to get to know his residents.

The group will miss the game but knows the friendships made through it will continue, Oliver said. Three of Oliver’s groomsmen are fellow Tennisball baseball players.

“Yes, college is about grades, but, more importantly it’s about relationships, and the relationships carried out through Tennisball baseball have been outstanding,” Kaspar said.

“I’m going to miss them for Tennisball baseball, but the friendships that were formed because of Tennisball baseball are going to be missed even more,” said Greg Nord, junior communication studies major.

However, Nord, a resident of Clark for two years, said he understands the need for renovations.

“We knew Clark was going to be renovated,” he said. “I just don’t think it crossed anyone’s mind that they would have to put fences up.”