CCC Vintage Baseball

Have you ever wondered what life was like during the Great Depression?

In a very small way, you may have experienced a glimpse of it these last few months. There was a great deal of uncertainty of what lie ahead, just as there was during the Depression of the 1930s.  Jobs, schools, and businesses were put on hold, and our "normal" way of life was affected.  During the crisis in those days, Franklin D. Roosevelt, as part of his New Deal plan, worked to create programs to employ people, to develop our country's infrastructure, and ultimately, give hope to people who had none. Those who enrolled in these new work programs would often move to different areas of the country, set up camp, and undertake projects in the local communities. Many Tennessee State Parks exist today because of Roosevelt's New Deal plan, and work programs like the newly created, "Civilian Conservation Corps".  The CCC, as it was known, worked to develop recreational areas in the great outdoors by planting trees, building roads, constructing dams, and designing parks that local residents could enjoy.  Much like our past year, these outdoor areas, and the recreation they provided, became an outlet of escape during those hard times.

So, who was involved in the Civilian Conservation Corps? What did they do and how did they live? The enrollees of the program were unmarried, young men, who worked hard day in and day out.  They received $30 a month but sent home $25 to their families.  They often lived in remote forested camps, utilizing surplus items from the U.S Military, ate 3 good square meals a day, and were up early each morning.   Their work was hard, but it gave the "CCC boys" a great sense of purpose and pride as they worked together to create beautiful outdoor spaces, many of our Tennessee State Parks included.  It was not all hard work for the enrollees, however.  In the evenings, after the day's work was accomplished, the boys were able to take educational classes and were offered a variety of recreational outlets organized by the individual camps.  They put on plays, held concerts, read books, and took art classes.  Sports were the most popular, with favorites consisting of boxing, football, basketball, and most importantly, baseball.  The era of the CCC was indeed a golden age of baseball, with heroes like Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, and Joe DiMaggio dominating the headlines.  Many of the enrollees had grown up with a love of baseball, as it was an outlet for all Americans to escape the hard life created by the Depression. Leagues were quickly formed in the CCC camps with organized teams playing that of other nearby camps.  The games were reported about in camp newsletters, and the enrollees excitedly followed their favorite team throughout the season.

Tennessee State Parks own; Norris Dam, Pickett, Cumberland Mountain, and Frozen Head State Parks, were all built by the Civilian Conservation Corps during those hard times in the 1930s. Not surprisingly, they all boasted a baseball team for the boys to enjoy during their free time, and participate in one of America's favorite pastimes, the game of baseball.  This summer, take yourself out to the ballgame as your Tennessee State Parks brings to life a vintage-style baseball season.  Root for your favorite park as they compete with other CCC parks, just as the camps did during those difficult times when all we needed as a Nation was hope.

Play Ball!

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