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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

Vertical space

Air streetplay
Click for bigger picture
Vertical jump assisted by climbing the wall
A telltale feature of the urban environment is its use of vertical space. Interacting with walls was a major part of our childhood. Walls presented impenetrable limits, sharply defining the physical boundaries of our play. They encased windows, portals into our world, which let neighborhood residents keep an eye on our street activities, or act as spectators to particularly engaging games. Nice sociological constructs, but hey basically to us, walls were an important part of the field.

The key thing about a wall was that if you threw a ball against it, it would bounce back. This obviously provided all kinds of opportunities. For handball and related sport, the bounce's what counts. For other games it meant not only did you get a backdrop to contain the ball, but you didn' t need a catcher.

Some walls, like handball courts, were built just for fun. Some, like the sides of supermarkets were probably constructed for other purposes, but if they were adjacent to a parking lot, they could easily be incorporated into our noble pursuits. Alleys and back entrances to tenement buildings often had decent walls and walk space that could be used for our games. Apartment building presented a tougher challenge, however, there'd usually be some section, maybe by the laundry room, where there were window gaps for a plate and enough open space to run and catch the ball.

Good walls could be found on the sides of stores, schools, churches, apartments, factories, or in other words, potentially anywhere, and if it was a good wall, we just figured it was there for playing. No building was too sacred or inherently "untouchable." Of course, the building's inhabitants, owners or the cops often had other views on this subject. Many of our childhood recollections revolve around hopping fences (another urban vertical space) to escape someone chasing us for playing on an off-limit wall.

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