Little League World Series essentials: Bats, balls … cardboard?!

Sliding on cardboard down hill outside Little League World Series stadium
It’s not unusual to see parents walking around the Williamsport, Pennsylvania, ballpark with sheets of cardboard – not boxes, but long sheets of cardboard of various thickness — which their kids are going to put to good use. (WTOP/John Domen)

The historic ballpark in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, is actually built into the side of a mountain, providing a picturesque view for every kid going up to bat inside Howard J. Lamade Stadium.

But it means beyond the outfield fence is a big hill where fans bring lawn chairs and blankets and, believe it or not, cardboard.

In fact, it’s not unusual at all to see parents walking around the park with sheets of cardboard — not boxes, but long sheets of cardboard of various thickness — which their kids are going to put to good use.

In fact, Kellen Reavelle, of South Riding, Virginia, said his favorite memory of the trip up here was taking the cardboard and “sliding down the hill.”

“It’s pretty important” to bring sheets of cardboard, said Joslyn Rinker, of Hazleton, Pennsylvania. Having lived here before, she knew exactly what her kids were going to want to do when they got here.

LLWS t-shirt that references sliding down hill
Sliding down the hill itself is so much a thing that shirts now celebrate it. (WTOP/John Domen)

“If you bring your kids and they see other people with cardboard and you don’t have cardboard, they feel left out,” she said.

Her sons Taylor and Mason both agreed that cardboard is important.

“It’s cool, because you can go down with the cardboard and you don’t need anything else,” said Mason. “It’s just simple. You bring cardboard.”

It’s basically sledding without snow, or the cold, or the need for hot chocolate later. Instead of a sled, just about any old piece of cardboard will do. It keeps some kids entertained for hours, even though the kids doing the sledding conceded they probably weren’t going that fast.

“If you’re on it, it seems like you’re going fast, but if you’re watching people, it doesn’t look that fast,” said Reavelle.

On a scale of one to 10, Taylor and Mason ranked the speed down the hill as a four and a five. Their mom felt a little differently, since instead of sledding down herself, she was watching her boys do it.

“I think they go pretty fast,” Rinker said. “He has a skinned knee from it,” she added, pointing to Taylor, her older son.

“Now I worry about my kids getting hurt. I was saying to my mom, ‘I bet they don’t let the kids that are actually playing do this, because it looks like you could get hurt,'” Rinker said with a laugh.

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John Domen

John started working at WTOP in 2016 after having grown up in Maryland listening to the station as a child. While he got his on-air start at small stations in Pennsylvania and Delaware, he's spent most of his career in the D.C. area, having been heard on several local stations before coming to WTOP.

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