Stickball Sticks

Chickasaw Culture Keepers

Making stickball sticks is humbling for Chickasaw citizen Clovis Hamilton. "You appreciate your sticks a lot more when you make them because of the time and effort that you put into them," says the stickball stick artisan. "You can't just go to the store and buy these." Clovis started making stickball sticks because he couldn't find any that were left-handed, and as a left-handed person, he decided to try and make his own. He learned his craft from a variety of stick makers, honing his skills. Now, as a veteran craftsman, Clovis knows that it's an art that requires patience because you may not always get a pair of sticks out of it, so you have to be consistent and you have to be determined. "I get to a point where I think really like them and I think they're really good, and then I get to a point where I start seeing faults that I don't like. I think that's the perfectionist in me," he says. "You don't ever want to make a perfect pair because once you do, you'll quit making them." Although the game and the rules have changed over generations, it still brings families together, and it's important to pass the art of making stickball sticks down. "I have a daughter now. She's 13 months old," Clovis says. "I hope whenever she gets old enough, she wants to play."