Backyard Games

Off the Stoop

My father grew up in the Bronx where kids might play stickball or if they couldn’t find a broom stick to use for a bat they would play off the stoop. The only thing you need to play, other than a city street, is a tennis ball. Here’s how it works, you pick teams and then setup your field. It’s played like baseball only home plate is the stoop (for those who haven’t heard that term, a stoop is the brick steps that lead up to an apartment building.) You would then decide on things to use for the bases, manhole covers, parked cars, the steps on the other side of the street or whatever was available on the street. The ‘batter’ would take the ball and throw it against the point of the stoop and the ball would bounce off and he would run to first base. The rules are just like baseball, he’s out if it’s caught in the air, if he gets tagged or they tag the base before he gets there. Depending on how much room there is on the street there may only be two bases but it’s still played like baseball.

Since we didn’t grow up in the city, we didn’t have a stoop so my father nailed a two-by-four to the garage and showed us how to play in the backyard. He changed the name to off the point and all the kids in the neighborhood would play.   If we were playing two players per side both fielders would stand in our yard.  ‘Hitting’ into the next yard was a ground rule double (we only had room for two bases so that was really like a triple) and if you got it all the way to the yard after that it was a homer.  If we were playing three per side the outfielder would hop the fence and stand in our neighbor’s yard.  Sometimes we would only have three players so we would play round robin style.  After a while we broke down the fence between our yard and the next door neighbor and would play right through, except there was a fence post right in the middle.  We played so much that by the time I was in High School the two-by-four was worn down to being round on top, it may even have been replaced several times.

Backyard Ice Hockey

For several winters we had an ice rink in our backyard. My father got a big sheet of plastic, made a big wooden frame to hold it and then filled it with water from the garden hose. Once it got cold enough the backyard rink would freeze and we put on our skates and would play ice hockey right in our backyard. I was too little to really play but I got to skate around when my older brothers weren’t playing a serious game of backyard ice hockey.

So what games did you play when you were a kid?


One Response to “Backyard Games”

  1. I was never a kid, but your childhood sounds like fun. Your DAD sounds like fun!

    Well, I was a kid sometimes, but not often. And I was the only kid still at home for as long as I can remember. When I did have playmates we played hide & seek mostly, and sometimes tag, which I hated because I was always the scrawniest & slowest kid around. At school we would double-dutch jumprope, which is one of the greatest joys of being a little girl! And we played four-square, which boys don’t play. They played something terrifying called Suicide. I wouldn’t go near the backboard when they played that game. And I rollerskated everywhere!

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