There is one day in the school year that stands head and shoulders above all the others. This very special day is commonly referred to as picnic day. Picnic day is a time of relaxation; it is a time when we can forget about books, study halls, and classes, and concentrate on the more important things in life such as baseball, eating, and so on.
The festivities of the day start after breakfast with the recitation of the rosary at the grotto. From here we divide up into teams for "sponge ball" games. ("Sponge ball" is just like baseball except that we use hands instead of bats, and to make it a little east on those hands we use a sponge rubber ball instead of a regular baseball.) These games continue until mid-morning, at which time our guests arrive and a light lunch is served.
These guests whom I have mentioned are the Clerics from St. Leonard's College in Centerville and the Brothers from St. Joseph Brothers' School in Oldenburg, Indiana. They come to St. Francis every year on this day to test their baseball skill against that of the students. Actually this get-together provides an excellent opportunity for the students to renew old friendships and to create new ones among their older brothers in the Order.
After the lunch is served, different student teams play the various clerical teams in softball. At the completion of these games, the real picnic begins. Hot dogs, hamburgers, pies, cakes, and ice cream are all laid out before us. For some this is the highlight of the day, but for most of us it is only a prelude.
The main attraction of the day is the hardball game between the best the clerics have to offer and the student all stars. This is the big game of the season for both schools; this is the game we look forward to all year long. The contest is usually a close one, and St. Francis' record in this game over the years is about even.
After the game a general atmosphere of relaxation prevails, and everyone enjoys himself either by playing some form of baseball or by just sitting around talking over old times.
For those of us who are still able to eat, supper is the next thing on the schedule; and when that is over, things begin to happen again.
The baseball equipment is put away, and the seminary's version of the Olympic games gets under way. There are the 100-yard dashes, the 50-yard dashes, the "wheelbarrow" races, the balance-the-peanut-on-the-spoon races, etc. On and on it goes until the day is climaxed by a grueling 880-yard run. (N.B. This last race is only for those who are still able to stand on their feet. Those so fatigued that the best they can manage is a weak crawl are not qualified. )
Picnic day officially comes to a close with the singing of the "Ultima," a hymn to our Blessed Lady. It is a day that we have looked forward to; it is a day we will never forget.