Boxball transforms two sidewalk squares into an outdoor version of ping-pong
or, perhaps more accurately, a postage-stamp-sized game of tennis. Each player
serves, volleys, and defends his square. The lines (or "cracks") around the
concrete define the court; the seam between the two squares is the imaginary
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Players choose or volley for first serve. Depending on the neighborhood,
serve is maintained by winner of the volley or rotated every five points. In
some games, only the server wins a point; others play so that either player
can win any point. Twenty-one is usually the winning score, with the
requirement of winning by two points.
The ball is slapped back and forth between boxes with an open palm. Slap the
ball into your opponent's box; he or she returns it back to your box after one
bounce or on the fly. If you step into the playing court, fail to return a
shot, or if your return shot's first bounce lands out of your opponents box,
you lose the volley.
You can choose whether you can use both hands, or one hand only (where you can
use the back of the palm for a "reverse shot"). Reverse shots aren't easy to
control, since the back of the palm is not as flat or flexible as the front,
but they're sometimes necessary in order to protect the full box.
Players can try to hit the ball with force--or with a cutting motion to give
the ball more spin, or "English," and make it more difficult to return.
Boxball is quick game with soft spinning shots, slams, and pinpoint shots to
the corners. It's simple, intimate and intense.