Watch out! – Here it comes!
Breathless silence …
That, Dear Friends, was the sound of my most beautiful, imaginative, and exceedingly innovative Wife as she introduced the new sport of Walnut Whacking to Serendipity Farmhouse – and, dare I say it, to the World.
Origin & History: Although various forms of walnut whacking can be traced to Hungary and other parts of Europe, there is no doubt that the primitive American form was an independent invention of enterprising and inventive American youths.
There are few records of the discovery or development of this sport. Yet, the traditions of schoolyards and family farms throughout the building of this country are filled with similar cases. Consider, for example, “tag”, “keep away”, and “dodge-ball”. In that great kingdom of imagination which is childhood, these games are part of the natural order.
We who are fortunate enough to be grandparents are blessed in many ways. Often we think that grandparents are meant to pass on family traditions. Verily, that is one important role, but grandparents must also stand ready to learn great truths and mysteries from their grandchildren – and, the primitive form of “walnut whacking” is one of those mysterious truths.
For in that primitive form, clever Wife saw the answer to a serious, perennial SFH problem – mounds of rotting black walnuts. The hideous little beasties fall randomly about our vast estate, often bouncing of roofs, automobiles, and occasionally, even unsuspecting heads. They are dangerous and create a perfectly terrible mess. Besides that, as they rot, they stink!!
And so it was when my clever wife encountered the new-found pastime of her beloved grandsons. She was inspired by them. So inspired, in fact, that she immediately set out to develop the once primitive form of “walnut whacking” into a great family sport that someday might even surpass the ever-popular “cornhole.” And, at the same time, the magnificent grounds of SFH would be cleansed of the offensive rotting walnuts.
Rules & Order of Play: There are two variations to SFH Walnut Whacking “River Rules” & “Pasture Rules”.
- River Rules apply to SFH and similar grand estates that have natural rivers or creeks. (Please don’t use River Rules with swimming pools.)
- Whacksman – the person in possession of the whacking racket and performing the walnut whacking
- Whacking Mound – a 3-5 inch elevated mound where a Whacksman does his/her walnut whacking; usually over 60 feet from the edge of the river or creek
- Whacksman rotation – the same as cornhole
- Grumpire – the large Maine Coon cat that interprets the rules and maintains discipline and decorum on the Walnut Whacking playing field
- Ker-plunk (KP) – the whacked walnut can be heard clearly to land in the water without ever having bounced along the ground – Score: 3 points
- Woo-hooo!!!!! – The term that must be exclaimed after making a KP, if not said, you lose your points
- Bounce-plunk (BP) – the whacked walnut bounced on the ground prior to landing in the water – Score: 2 points
- No-plunk (NP) – the ball goes over the edge of the river, but there is no “plunk – Score: 1 point
- Short Game: The game is played for less than one hour
- Long Game: The game is played until the supply of black walnuts is exhausted
- Pasture Rules apply to grand estates that have no natural water features. All that is needed is a fence and a pasture. Scoring is modified as follows.
- Ker-plop (KP) – the whacked walnut can be heard clearly to land in a 20-foot diameter circle in a pasture without ever having bounced along the ground – Score: 3 points
- Bounce-plop (BP) – the whacked walnut bounced on the ground prior to stopping within the 20-foot diameter circle – Score: 2 points
- No-plop (NP) – the ball goes over the pasture fence, but does not make it to the circle – Score: 1 point
- Walnut Whacking World Series:
- Two games are played, one with River Rules and one with Pasture rules. The team with the highest combined point total is the Walnut Whacking World Champion.
Guide to Perfect Form: Beautiful Wife has prepared this series of pictures to show you how you can attain the whacking form that will help you to become a world champion whacksman.
Equipment: The most important piece of equipment for a great whacksman is a quality racket. Dear, sweet Wife was a bit of a tennis champion while we lived in Japan. She prefers to use her 1978 vintage Shin Nippon Racket. Very few have ever won a match when she had that racket in her hand. (In a follow-on article, we will explore other equipment such as gloves and shoes.)
Potential Problems: Some black walnuts appear to be green and ready for whacking but they have already started to rot inside. The black ooze that emerges when being whacked makes a positively horrific mess of a quality racket. Whacksmen, beware of rotting walnuts!
Challenge: There is a rumor that lovely Wife desires to challenge various children and grandchildren to a Walnut Whacking match. Mind you, that’s only a rumor and you never heard it from me.