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Stickball still making State Games recovery

By By Marty Stamper/EMG sports assistant
June 14, 2003
After not having any youth stickball at the State Games two years ago, the event is growing bigger in its return.
Four teams participated last year and more are expected for this year's tournament, which is slated for June 21 at Ray Stadium on the Meridian High School campus.
While the stickball games will all be played on one day unlike the Choctaw Indian Fair where they last for a week, the State Games offers something that the fair doesn't.
The State Games stickball games are for youngsters ages 9-13, while the Choctaw Indian Fair has a 10-13 age division.
Beaver Dam won the gold medal last year after the 2001 games were scrapped as Ray Stadium wasn't prepared in time.
The gold medal game is scheduled for 8 p.m.
Conehatta won the 2000 tournament, beating Beaver Dam in the championship contest.
The State Games, along with the Choctaw Indian Fair, have helped revive the traditional game of the Choctaws.
Keeping the game alive with the youngsters is a vital part of the Choctaw tradition.
For those unfamiliar with stickball, it is the Southern cousin of lacrosse and is played with two wooden sticks with a leather pouch for catching the woven leather ball.
Scoring is done when the ball strikes the large wooden poles set up on either goal line. The ball may be thrown at the pole or carried up to it. Like soccer, players are not allowed to touch the ball with their hands.

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