Recess Games That Rocked

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Even if we’ve blocked out selective memories of our childhood (the dentist…I shudder at the thought), we all remember elementary school recess. Now that I’m through with my public school education, I’ve been taking the time to reminisce about my favorite memories from those days. Man, did I love that half hour of pegging younger kids in the head with kickballs (which they totally deserved, by the way, just for being there).

At the risk of sounding like a creeper with a window-less van parked 100 yards from a playground, here are some of my favorite games from recess that I wish were appropriate for eighteen year-olds to play. Note: I like the games…not the kids.

Name of the Game: Indian Pin (a slight variation on dodgeball)
Why it Rocked: Since regular dodgeball was banned in my school, we had to be a bit more creative with our recess games. Indian Pin was a favorite variation on dodgeball that we adapted from our gym class. The official object of the game was to knock down the opposing team’s pin, but since we had a bunch of kickballs and an unlimited capacity for evil, we would forget about the pins and just give the other team hell. Back in my tomboy days, I would pick off the other team’s members one by one. I guess I had more balls than many of the boys in my class.

Name of the Game: Four Square
Why it Rocked: Being king in a game of four square made you an automatic recess rock star. The ball was literally in your court. As there are an infinite number of possible rules for the game, from the fair and just to the downright cruel (two words: cherry bombs), the power of the king is extremely enticing. I was always partial to the “old school” set of rules – volleys, single-taps, and double-taps – since they allowed games to go on for a long time. Benevolent despotism was my style, but other rulers were not as kind. The Lemon Drop Massacre of ’01 is proof of that. And I still have nightmares.

Name of the Game: Pick-up Soccer
Why it Rocked: Although soccer isn’t known as a recess sport, it was one of the ultimate competitive games that we played in elementary school. We played in tournament style, with multiple teams all pitted against one another. The last team standing won a great deal of glory, but at a high cost: since we didn’t have referees, we could play as dirty as we wanted to with no penalty at all. The “supervising” teachers were totally clueless as to why several kids returned to class with huge grass stains on their butts and hideous scrapes on their knees. But those cuts and bruises were like badges of honor to all the soccer kids, even if we cried a little when we got them.

Name of the Game: Wall Ball
Why it Rocked: One of the privileges that came with being the top dogs of the school (i.e. fifth graders) was access to the coveted wall ball court. Dozens of kids played at a time, taking the simple tennis ball game to the extreme. Wall ball was the pinnacle of elementary school recess for us. It was the most fast-paced, most competitive, and sweatiest of all the recess games. You had to constantly be on your toes, or else you wouldn’t catch the ball making a bee-line for your head at light speed. Or at least that’s what the injured kids would cry when the ball knocked the wind out of them. A merciless game, that wall ball. To think a little tennis ball could cause so much hurt!

What were some of the games that rocked your school playground?

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