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National Play Catch Week – June 16-22, 2024

National Play Catch Week takes place in the third week of June. This year, it’s from June 16 to 22. It kicks off the beginning of Father’s Day. It encourages everyone to pick up a ball, grab a buddy, and hit the park to play catch. It’s an annual week-long celebration of fun and games. Or even to rope in strangers and make friends with them. Friends and family hit the outdoors, pass the ball, and enjoy a week of fun and excitement under the sun. For older players, it’s time to show off those skills and pass them on to the next generation. Find out the ways to celebrate this week-long event.

History of National Play Catch Week

Back in 2013, Rhett Grametbauer hit the road in a V.W. bus to start a journey by visiting every N.F.L. stadium across the country. During this adventure, his passion for playing catch was reignited. He also learned to appreciate the physical and psychological advantages of regularly playing, regardless if it’s baseball or softball. What he focused on is the idea of creating a movement that’ll bond friends, families, and even strangers to a day of passing the ball under the sun.

The inception of the Play Catch movement started when Grametbauer made his stop at St. Louis’ Gateway Arch for a Thursday Night Football game. A stranger approached him and asked him to throw the football with him. He immediately recognized this sheer joy from two strangers sharing a common interest: playing catch. This lightbulb idea popped in his head and he immediately hit the road to go to other landmarks like the Golden Gate Bridge and the Grand Canyon. During these stops, he encountered strangers who were also enthused with the idea of playing catch. At this point, he knew that the stranger he met in St. Louis Arch wasn’t just a chance encounter. People love to pick up a ball and play, regardless of who they are, or where they were from. Once he got home, he immediately started the Play Catch Foundation, which is dedicated to encouraging everyone to play. If you don’t have the equipment, no problem — the foundation will provide them for you. All you have to do is show up, find a partner, and have fun.

By June 2018, Rhett applied to assign a national holiday to Play Catch. Initially, it was turned down, but for a great reason: one day just isn’t enough. The idea is so good that it was given the entire third week of June, which includes Father’s Day.

National Play Catch Week timeline

The Origin of Baseball

Abner Doubleday creates a game of baseball by playing catch in a cow pasture in New York.

The League is Born

The American Baseball Association is officially formed.

The Play Catch Movement

Rhett Grametbauer starts the Play Catch Movement after embarking on a road trip across the country to play catch with strangers.

The First National Play Catch Week

The National Play Catch Week is officially observed on the third week of June.

National Play Catch Week FAQs

What is the noticeable difference between softball and baseball?

The key difference is the act of pitching. Softball is thrown underhand while baseball is thrown overhand.

Which is harder: softball or baseball?

Softball is significantly harder than baseball.

What are the rules of baseball?

The five basic rules of baseball are balls and strikes, force outs, tagging up, tag outs, and nine players in a lineup.

National Play Catch Week Activities

  1. Invite a friend to play

    Capture the spirit of the National Play Catch Week by inviting a friend to your local park and play catch. It’s also a great time to play with strangers and form friendships.

  2. Invite your dad to play

    Since the National Play Catch Week starts on Father’s Day, nothing is more special than inviting your dad to play catch with you. It’s a perfect way to celebrate two holidays in one.

  3. Sign up for baseball or softball lessons

    If you haven’t played catch before, it’s never too late. Sign up for baseball or football lessons in your school's or local sports league.

5 Interesting Facts About Play Catch

  1. Play Catch is for everyone

    From small kids to senior citizens, Rhett Grametbauer’s Play Catch movement is open to everyone.

  2. The man who made the rules

    Alexander Cartwright made the rules of baseball — including the three-strikes-out.

  3. Babe Ruth’s historic baseball record

    Babe Ruth made baseball history by hitting his number 500 home run in 1929.

  4. The first player to pitch over 100mph

    Nolan Ryan is the first Major League baseball player to pitch a ball over 100mph.

  5. Indoor baseball

    Softball was developed from a game called ‘indoor baseball’ in Chicago.

Why We Love National Play Catch Week

  1. It connects the community

    Playing catch connects the community through a common passion. It’s a great way to form acquaintances, meet future catch buddies, and bond over a common interest.

  2. It’s a great escape from daily routine

    It’s a perfect hobby for softball and baseball enthusiasts to break away from reality — even just for a week. Or even better, as a routine habit.

  3. It’s good exercise

    You get to exercise while having fun — it’s not a mundane task. It’s the perfect cardio activity to make you sweat and keep your heart pumping.

National Play Catch Week dates

2022June 19Sunday
2023June 18Sunday
2024June 16Sunday
2025June 15Sunday
2026June 21Sunday

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