Remember Four-Square? Or two-square, three-square, or blockball? When I was a kid, my neighbors across the street, the Trachtmans, used to play with me and my sister and brother on their driveway, which was concrete and had big squares with thick black lines bordering them, making a perfect game surface. Later, when we joined Windybush Pool in a nearby suburb, blockball was the thing to keep us occupied during adult swim. If you've forgotten or never knew this game, here's a link to show you how to play (or at least one guy's version--I don't agree with all his rules): http://www.thelivingcanvas.com/suck/square/rules.html
Well, my new house doesn't have as cool a driveway as the Trachtmans'. In fact it has no driveway, but it does have a big concrete parking pad in the backyard with one big line down the middle. And I have a box of sidewalk chalk. So, for the last two or three nights running, the parking pad has been four-square central. Daniel, Fernando and Oscar have been over to play. They are 10, 10 and five. Daniel's the best. He's learned a few tricks already, some from me: to slam the ball into the far corner, to tap it just over the line, to keep opponents running until they're exhausted and they miss. The boys like to talk trash but stop immediately when they mess up and can't back up their words. They have yet to master the strategy of ganging up on the ace to get him/her out.
When Fernando and Oscar aren't around, Daniel and I play 21. He beat me the other night when we played with a tennis ball in the small sidewalk squares out in front of my house. That was a great night, summer-warm in mid-April, too early for the drug dealers to have resumed operations, so the families and kids had the block to themselves.
I beat Daniel last night on the parking pad. We use his basketball out there. Note to self: get a red dodgeball or other ball not as hard on one's hands as a basketball is. It's pretty funny that now, more than a quarter-century after I first started playing four-square with the neighbor kids across the street, I'm doing it again. It's just a different neighborhood, and this time I'm older than they are. Some things you just can't shake.
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