At Ballard, sports were plentiful with football, basketball, volleyball, and track and field. But it was not until the school moved to the larger campus on Forest Avenue, that more space was available for practice. First known as the Ballard Schoolites, they would eventually adopt the bulldog as their mascot to become the Ballard Bulldogs.
The American Missionary Association (AMA) operated schools all over the state of Georgia, but as the AMA schools closed, Ballard was forced to look to other schools for academic and sport competition. Besides other AMA Schools, they competed against various public, private schools, junior and four year colleges from all over the state in Georgia. When the last two AMA schools in Georgia, Dorchester Academy and Ballard Normal met, they always played for the AMA Championship of Georgia. Ballard teams also went to the Avery Institute in Charleston, South Carolina and Tuskegee Institute, Tuskegee, Alabama to play in tournaments.
In the majority of the sports pictures you will see branding of the school name in the image including letters on the uniforms, a pennant, or the year of the sporting event painted on a piece of equipment revelant to the sport, such as a basketball.
Ballard Athletic Association (BAA)
The Ballard Athletic Association (BAA) was formed in the fall of 1919 at the same time that the Macon playground program for “colored” children was launched. The BAA was responsible for securing facilities for the teams to play such as the Hipprodome which was located at the base of Mulberry Street, Luther Williams Ball Field in Central City Park, and Centennial Stadium later know as Porter Stadium. They were responsible for planning the homecoming banquets at Clemons Conservatory in the fall. Each year in May, students were presented with their awards, medals, and varsity letters for participating and excelling in the various sports programs at a sports banquet. The main fundraiser for the athletic program was the Miss Ballard Contest. The contest was held as part of homecoming in the fall during football season and was sponsored by family, friends, classmates, alumni, and the general public. Whomever raised the most money would be “Miss Ballard” and all money raised went into the athletic budget.
All teams need cheerleaders and Ballard was no exception. The co-ed cheerleading squad helped with coordinating and leading parades and encouraging community attendance at the games. They marched in the parades and encouraged people to decorate their cars with purple and gold streamers and decorations. The squad made paper Ballard pennants as part of their job to keep the school spirit up. Every year they would develop new school cheers and yells.
One constant through all these years of sports was Professor B. T. Barrow. For over 20 years he coached at Ballard, not leaving until the school transitioned to the public school system. Coach Barrow was not large in stature but solid with his trademark ivy cap, which he wore in most of the athletic pictures. In addition to coaching, he also taught biology and chemistry. A number of alumni would come back to help him with coaching duties as time permitted. His former players, who became coaches, looked forward to defeating Ballard using the strategies he taught them.
For the all the students in particular the younger grades, there were the inter-campus league and the Macon Playground Association. The Macon Plauground Association would host sports competition among all othe "colored" school in Bibb County, whether public or private. Mattie Hubbard Jones Playground in Pleasant Hill was the site for the games. The sports played included basketball, baseball, volleyball and poleball (tetherball) to name a few. In the 1930s’ a tennis court was built on donated property across the street on Forest Avenue next to the Mounts home.
Track and Field Team
The Ballard track and field team held meets with the same teams they played in other sports. Meets were usually held at Centennial Stadium. If not available Luther Williams Park was used. On September 13, 1939, the major league champions of Negro baseball, the Kansas City Monarchs and the Memphis Red Sox held an exhibition game at Luther Williams Park. The pregame show was Jesse Owens, 1936 Olympic track champion, running against three sprinters selected by Coach B. T. Barrow of Ballard Normal and Coach H.R. Harris of Georgia Baptist College, formerly Central City College, to participate in the exhibition. This was Jesse Owens' first stop on his tour of the South. (Macon Telegraph September 13, 1939, page 9)