The Los Angeles Times‘s Baxter Holmes went down to Choctaw, Mississippi this past July to take in the nine-day Choctaw World Series of Stickball Tournament. The summer tournament featured 45 teams, most of whom hailed from central Mississippi. The Times reported on the championship game, between Beaver Dam, going for their fourth straight championship, and Conehatta.
“Players wear no pads, no helmets and rarely shoes. Most veterans have multiple scars, often cutting through eyebrows because the nearly 32-inch sticks, usually carved from concrete-hard hickory, tend to smack there,” wrote Holmes. “Before 5,000 fans, the teams march single file onto the field, Denson in the middle of Beaver Dam’s pack and the drummer out front, always out front. Bum, bum, bum, bum …”
Known as tolih in Choctaw, the sport is rarely covered by mainstream media, making the Times piece a rare exception. We encourage you to give the story a full read here, and enjoy the above video of the OK Choctaws versus Nukoachi.