By Grace Nichols for The Island Eye News
Saturday, Aug. 21 started off as a cool and overcast day at the Isle of Palms Recreation Department. The morning temperature was different from the normal Charleston heat, and was the perfect way to kick off the 23rd annual Half- Rubber Tournament. As the day heated up so did the games leading to a fun and competitive community competition. Most IOP locals know what half rubber is. The famous “street baseball” game is widely debated to have started either in Georgia or in South Carolina. Regardless of its uncertain origins the game became a Lowcountry staple by the start of World War I. With thinner bats the size of mop handles, no bases, and only half of a rubber ball the game is most similar to baseball. Some competitors such as Fred “the Batman” Smith, who makes the half-rubber bats, has been playing for about 54 years. Smith said he started playing at 10 years old, and tells a story of his neighbor cutting a rubber ball in half getting him and his friends into the game. The Half- Rubber tournament is a great way to bring the community together and nod to the past. The Tournament was organized by Ricky Myatt and Paul Schwartz, the founders of the Half-Rubber production company. With the support of local sponsors, “Full Throttle,” the tournament champions were able to win a range of prizes from restaurant gift cards, a two day stay at a resort with a round of golf, and a tour with Barrier Island Eco Tours. Throughout the whole tournament between seven teams, “Full Throttle” did not lose a single game. The Goose Creek natives properly earned their third consecutive championship title, with the team “Just Having Fun” coming in second place. Visit the Half-Rubber website for more information on how to play and to order your own gear.
Sponsors involved in the 2021 tournament are Mex1, Barrier Island Eco Tours, Windjammer, Local Dog, Wild Dunes Resort, The Dinghy, Papi’s Taqueria, Home Team BBQ, New York Butcher Shoppe, My Favorite Things and Hyman’s Seafood.