Of Schmerltzes, Sockballs and Pantyhose

Thanks to then tireless efforts of the New Games Foundation, the Schmerltz earned its deserved place in history. Which is why you've probably never heard of it.

The Schmerltz (also spelled "Shmerlz" or "Schmerlz" or even "Schmerlts") is, in essence, a sock with a tennis ball inside. The ball is worked down to the general sock toe area and a sock knot is made as close to the ball as possible. Following the completion of Schmerltz-making, we enter into the next phase, Schmerltz-tossing.

Traditionally, the Schmerltz-tosser holds the Schmerltz by the socktop, whirling the Schmerltz overhead or underarmed, and then, when the proper twirling speed is achieved, releases the Schmerltz, thus flinging it into the proverbial air. The Schmerltz-catcher, who may or may not be the same person as the Schmerltz-tosser, then endeavors to 1) catch the Schmerltz by the tail, or 2) avoid getting hit by it, to the genuine amusement of all those so engaged.

Clearly, the Schmerltz is a larger in its whole than in its mere sock and tennis ball parts. A Schmerltz made out of pantyhose is no more or less a Schmerltz than a Schmerltz made out of traditional knee-length argyles. A pantyhose Schmerltz containing a soccer ball, or even a tightly rolled and wadded ball made of actual socks, is still a Schmerltz.

Two Schmerltzes (or, as some would have it, Schmerltzim) tied together, on the other hand, produces a play object that goes beyond Schmerltz into a vast arena of sportslike activities centered around Two-Balls-Tied-Together. TBTT polo being one such, as would TBTT baseball.

Speaking of tightly wadded sock balls, here we have a plaything of truly ecological and community-building import. I myself have conducted vast efforts at adopting singleton and/or orphan socks merely so that I could recycle them into a half-vast collection of soft, tossable, kickable and catchable ball-like objects, suitable for such spurious activities as Group Juggling and an apparently exhaustible variety of Everybody-Has-the-Ball ballgames.

Clearly, the sock (and/or pantyhose) as plaything has ecological, philosophical and socially physiological ramifications beyond the scope of mere ramifying. I can only hope that you find the occasion to explore each.


I would think, would I be right (?), that Schmerltz soccer (or socker) would be a divine experience.  Sock to sock, toe to toe interplay -- with one's very own self, perhaps the easiest mode.

And using a pantyhosed Schmerltz for that game, what the heck is it called, where you try to be the first to wrap a ball on a string around a pole, while your opponent tries valiantly to stop you, at the same time bonking the ball in your direction so as to enwrap the pole in the opposite direction, might be ideal.  That extra fine nylon leg stretch factor would add a new twist to an old game.

Perhaps, if we lobby long and hard, shmerltz-hurling might be included as a sport in the Olympics.  Next to the javelin throw and the shot put.  There might be a question of standardization, which of course, we would scoff at loudly and with vigor.  Big schmerltzes and small would be allowed, as would socks of many colors - although it might be a fine idea to encourage countries to compete using socks with the same colors as their country flags.

Finally, I might add, schmerltzes might reinvent that long lost tradition of sock hops, with the introduction of a totally new dance form, schmerltz-hopping.  As its name implies, schmerltz-hopping would require dancers to leap over the swinging ball of their partner or neighbor, while simultaneously swinging their own balls for others to o'erleap.  I have no doubt that schmerltz-hopping could easily become the new craze, sweeping the nation in the blink of an eye.

Sandy Damashek


Sandy's soxual musings interested me greatly and have led me down the  the paths of cognitive soxuality.    Soxual Sem-antics do have an  impact on my personalized funiatry , I find.   Thus Sandy's use of  such vocabulary as "sock to sock", "interplay", "pantyhose",  "bonking" and "swinging ones balls" has aroused my long dormant  soxuality.

Everyone needs sox.  To deny one's need for sox denies one's very  humanity.  Whether we satisfy our soxual needs in private (as Sandy  suggested, "toe-to-toe interplay with one's very own self" -  otherwise known as soxonanism); flagrantly flaunt our personal  taste in sox to the public at large; or choose to indulge   in carefully designed sox with a partner of our choosing in the  privacy of the boudoir; we cannot deny -  we ARE soxual beings !!

We must also acknowledge the time and effort expended to satisfy our craving for  sox.  There is now a whole industry built on our need for sox;   Sox figure in almost every TV advertisement;  You can find complimentary  sox available on the better airlines these days!

Sandy is right in linking sox to a divine experience.  There are many  who know the inexpressible emotional impact of discovering holy sox.

It is true, there ARE people who choose, for whatever reason, to deny  themselves the comfort and the joy of sox.  They may have had a bad  experience with sox in the past;  They may be confused about the wide  range of choice available these days and question their soxual  orientation;  and there are, of course, those who simply have cold  feet over the whole matter.

Not me!  I revel in my soxuality.  I have different sox for each day  of the week.  I INDULGE my need for sox, and will pay large amounts  of money to get just what I want.  I enjoy variety in my sox, and  have been known to burst out laughing at a total mismatch -- just for the fun of  it!    Good sox makes my toes curl !!!  I put my whole sole into  sox!!!

I challenge all who read this ---  Do yourself a favour !!   GET INTO  SOX.  Throw off your inhibitions.  Recognise yourself as a natural, soxual being, and  glory in the diversity, the richness, the exuberance, the  joy and  the FUN OF SOX :-)

Yours soxually, Helen Collins