The Amish Love This Surprising Pastime

The disposition of the Amish is one often characterized as that of a very stoic people. This impression is aided by their dedication to avoiding outside influence, their fairly rigid social structure, and stigmatization of those in their community who veer from either. The Amish do in fact embrace modern technology and medicine but generally only to the extent that it is of use in their 1800s-style way of life. Examples of this include using computers as agricultural calculators rather than as internet-based devices, and having a communal phone outside of any individual home to contact other Amish communities or outside emergency services. 

With that in mind, the idea of Amish having fun may seem to outsiders like a futile thought experiment. While their options may be limited from a modern perspective, the Amish do have outlets for entertainment and recreation, softball having been one of the more prominent ones (via Herald-Tribune). For decades, Amish communities have played this sport, even when at times it seemed to come into direct conflict with their societal expectations. 

The Amish loved softball so much that it was seen as a negative influence

The Amish lifestyle comes with a number of cultural obligations. Men are expected to be diligent in a rural profession such as farming or carpentry, women are to have a substantial role in domestic life, and both are to be adherent to the church and its doctrine (via Amish America). While not quite as strict as the media portrays, for decades the Amish church leadership had to wrestle with many outside elements, including the influence of softball. 

Softball took root in many Amish communities as leagues were formed and players even forewent their traditional attire for modern baseball uniforms. While they typically lived normal Amish lives, many would still be drawn from their work by the allure of this pastime (via The Amish Next Door). Therefore, in the 1990s, several community leaders implemented severe limitations on when one could play in order to avoid short-term labor shortages. For many Amish (though not all, per The Daily Record), softball has since been reduced to a triannual event held on holidays.