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Diamonds in the Street
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The Games: Section guide

• The Games home
• Rulesheets

The biggies
• Stickball
• Handball
• Skully (Bottlecaps)

• Ace-King-Queen
• Asses up
• Box Baseball Video!
• Boxball Video!
• Boxball (4-way)
• Fivebox
• Halfball
• Hit the stick
• Stoopball (original)
• Stoopball (bounces)
• Stoopball (curbball)
• Off the wall
• Spaldeen-game discussion

Girl power
• Clap and Rhyme
• Hopscotch
• Jacks
• Jumping rope
• Girl games discussion

Other games
• Baseball cards
• Marbles
• Ringoleavio
• Running around

Tools of the trade
• Spaldeens (and other balls)
• Playgrounds
• Stoops
• Streets
• Walls

Diamonds in the street

Playing in the street
Click for bigger picture
Playing in the street
Yes, we really went out and played in the streets. Not any street. You really wouldn't play in a heavily trafficked one, so boulevard and avenue games were rare, but many a "regular street" served both as a conduit for motorized vehicles and a play area for a block's kids. Aside from learning to play with constant interuptions ("car!") and debates about whether or not you called time because of the car, you also learned to be creative in field design.

There were two basic street fields, long and narrow, or short and squished. The narrow fields used the length of the street and looked like an elongated baseball diamond. First and third were close to each other on opposite sides of the street, often distinuished by a notable vertical feature like a car door or lamp post. Home and second were usually manholes or street markings, and could be stretched far apart. This layout worked well for stickball, and punch. You got really good at hitting the ball to dead center; distance placement was also a valuable skill.

Short and wide describes the fields that traversed the width of the street. This layout lent itself to games that discouraged distance, like slapball or stoop. It was also well suited, for a three base format, also known as triangle.

While there were less cars back then, playing in the street could be dangerous. A deep stickball drive could send an outfielder into an intersection, where he'd have to make a snap desicion about which was more important, his continued life or the possibility of catching the ball. Danger also lurked from irate neighbors who might not be thrilled that their parked car had been chosen to represent 3rd base, and be honest, how many of us actually fessed up to those broken side view mirrors and radio antennas?

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