Friday, May 18, 2012

Roofball and Other Improvised Activities

Kids and teens would seem to be good at improvising activities, some of them improbable, outlandish, clever or plain silly -- at least to fully formed adults. Some activities that I thought to myself as of "no interest at all to me" even while growing up -- and still do -- have included B-boying aka breakdancing, skateboarding and "advanced frisbee." Add since reaching 21: skiing, rollerblading, skydiving and bungee jumping.

Still, it's amazing how little can entertain, or at least could before electronics took over. Kick the Can was and is simple, and can involve kids of all ages. Another, at least when I was a kid, was always called "German Guard:" a post-World War II version of Hide & Seek possibly inspired by Hogan's Heroes but maybe also The Great Escape. This was very similar to Kick the Can, too, come to think of it. Both used "Ally ally in come free," "olly olly oxen free" or whatnot to signal a turnover or end of game. You may have had a variation of one of these in your geographical locale(s) -- did you?

In school, we also embraced roofball, which was simple. Any number of people, usually guys, could assemble quickly outside any building with a sloped or angled roof, the higher the better. Only other thing needed was a tennis ball. Either in teams or everyone for themselves, one person batted the ball onto the roof and then someone else tried to either hit it on its return gravity drop, or variably, after one bounce, batted it back up to the roof. This continued until someone missed, which resulted in either a score or "sudden death." Sometimes, roofball was driven underground because considered "hazardous" or "disruptive." When that happened, we simply moved from the gym building to a field house down by the track and tenns courts. Here, roofball morphed into "tennis hand ball" -- tennis without rackets, with brutish punching or smacking the tennis ball across the net and back and forth, so long as no "real" tennis players were around to hog the courts.

How about your way? Have you ever played such ludicrous, wildly entertaining games or participated in any comparably improvised activities?  Did you stop such happy foolishness as an adult, or continue?

Today's Rune: Joy.


Charles Gramlich said...

Indeed so. We had some kind of weird game in junior high where a big guy formed a solid base at the bottom of a pole and then we saw how many folks could climb on top of him to get higher on the pole, until it all collapsed. We also played, 'my invention, wolfpack, which was a version of kill the man with the football.

Evan said...

As another roofball and hand tennis enthusiast, I can't help but notice that you left out "The Game." (One team of guys on bikes and another on foot, knocking each other down and beating on each other with household items turned into weapons...)

I can vividly recall the scrapes and brusies from that one!

Anonymous said...

Whoa. Miss those days!


Erik Donald France said...

Huzzah ~~!