Apparently, there is normal Four Square, and then the crazy version that I grew up with. The older I got, the more I realized that I had been playing Four Square wrong all those years as child. But since I haven’t played Four Square since elementary school, it has never mattered that much. It makes me sad inside when people have no recollection of playing Four Square the way I did because it made Four Square so much more exciting.
The way Four Square is normally played is on a square divided into 4 smaller squares. The sidewalks at my school were convenient to play on because the concrete was split up into perfect sized squares. Each person stands in their square and bounces a ball back and forth to the other players in an attempt to get them out. A player is out when the ball is hit incorrectly or bounces too many times in a square. Once the person is out, everyone rotates to a higher ranking. For example if player 3 gets out, player 2 moves into player 3′s square, player 1 moves into player 2′s square, and the first square is filled by someone waiting in line. The object is to reach the highest ranked square. This continues for as long as everyone is willing to play. Its good exercise if played correctly and can get highly competitive.
We followed all of the same rules as the traditional method, but we spiced things up. I always thought it was the way everyone played this game, but apparently not. The highest ranked player was King, then Queen, Jack, and Baby (or Dunce) followed. I’m not sure how all of the spots were determined at the beginning of the game but it usually panned out in a sort of social hierarchy.
Whoever was King got to make the calls, therefore, there was more incentive to be King. The King would make the call, and then play would continue accordingly until someone got out and then a new call would be made. Sometimes the King would just get tired of the call and would change it once he regained control of the ball. Since there was no real way to win Four Square, getting to be in power for a few short minutes could really change the whole entire day for a kid.
The thing about calls was that, if you didn’t know what all of the calls were you were at a disadvantage. I really only remember the names of the calls, but not what they did, so I used the help of the internet to refresh my memory:
Once this was called, the ball would either go clockwise or counterclockwise around the square until either the King called “Peace”, a player broke the pattern, or a player got out.
The King placed the ball in the middle of the court where all the lines intersected while calling out “Bus Stop” and all the players needed to place their hand on the ball. The last one to do so was out.
In another variation, all of the players except for the King would dash to the center of the court. Again, the last to reach the center would be out.
This was probably one of the most memorable calls. The King would spike the ball hard into someone’s square making it difficult to pass the ball on. You can continue to slam the ball toward the ground with extreme force into another square, which makes it hard for the next person.
Or the King would throw the ball out of the square and if the person given a cherry bomb didn’t get it back in ten seconds they were out, which was usually the case.
All players except for the King would retreat to their corner. The last one to reach their corner was out.
The first person (usually the king) would throw the ball up into the air, clap once, then pass it to the second person who would clap twice while the ball was in the air, and so on. The longer the ball was in play, the more clapping you had to do before you had to catch the ball.
This call would require you to spell out your name. You would bounce the ball for each letter. Whomever you passed it to would have to do the same and so on.
Once declared, the King and the chosen player would hit it the ball back and forth between them only. If one of them messed up at anytime, that player would be out. If the King called “Peace” before the end of the round, the game would return to normal.
I know there were more, but my memory fails me. What way did you play? If you played the way I remember, what was your favorite call? Were any of the calls different from how I described them?
If you enjoyed this post, consider subscribing to the rss feed or following us on twitter. And don’t forget to give us some love on StumbleUpon! If you think this post could have been better, contact us about writing a guest post!