Wood plays an important role in some of our favorite recreational activities or athletic pastimes. Nearly every sport uses or has used some sort of wooden implement. So, when picking out what reclaimed wood you would like to use perhaps we can make it easier for you sports fans out there.
Some sports use whole pieces of wood. Baseball bats are made from a variety of woods like maple, ash, hickory or bamboo. Maple is strong but can shatter when the wrong piece of wood is used. Hickory wood has fallen out of favor due to its weight despite being the strongest wood available. Ash is still in use also but bamboo is becoming popular due to its combination of strength and lightweight. Aluminum has become popular and is more cost-efficient in amateur sports but wooden bats are still required equipment in the professional ranks and some amateur leagues use them as well. Another bat and ball sport, cricket, used white willow wood for its bats. Willow wood is tough, does not dent easily and is lightweight.
Hockey sticks were at one point all made of wood. Fiberglass and aluminum have become more common but wood is still used, owing to the cost of wood over other materials. Typically a hockey stick used several types of wood all laminated together and wooden sticks are popular at lower levels due to the cost but few NHL players use wooden sticks. The same can be said for field hockey sticks, though metal is forbidden for use in modern sticks. Polo mallets used to be made of a palm wood but like with other sports composite materials are used today. Lacrosse sticks used to be made from hickory wood but again more modern materials have replaced it. We hope that you are seeing the trend here. The same thing can be said for racket sports like tennis or badminton and for aquatic sports like canoing, kayaking and rowing.
Some sports do not need a wooden instrument to play the game but still use wood. Football goal posts used to be made of wood before being made of aluminum. The same thing can be said for rugby and also for what the rest of the world calls football but we Americans know as soccer. Various track and field events used wood over time for events like hurdling and the pole vault. Like other sports those have been replaced with metal, plastic or composite materials in modern times.
Other sports are played indoors and wood was found to be the ideal playing surface. Basketball is played mostly on a court made of maple wood. Bowling alleys are typically made of maple or pine wood. Handball, racquetball, squash and volleyball are played on courts similar to basketball.
Wood is still vital to other sports. Pool cues are made of maple wood and snooker cues are made of ash. Maple is stiffer and is cheaper to make but some handcrafted wooden pool cues are incredible works of art. Archery bows are typically made of yew wood but like with other sports composite materials have become more popular in modern times. Surfboards used to be made of wood like redwood or balsa wood but have also been replaced by lighter materials like fiberglass over the years. Wooden surfboards are still popular with some surfers and balsa wood is making a comeback due to its lightweight and strength. For those who like to stay on land skateboards are typically made from either maple, bamboo or birch. Skateboards made with sugar maple are considered to be the best available on the market and if the wood comes from Canada it is even better as the wood is denser owing to the longer Canadian winter.
Perhaps the most famous use of wood in sports comes in a nickname. No one wants to hit the pine, that is sit on the bench. It means that you’ve been pulled from the game early or you could just need a rest. Better hope the coach will put you back in and that you don’t need to hit the showers.