For those who came from Brooklyn, truly a great time to be growing up.
""We couldn't wait to get outside. Sure, we knew that growing up was supposed to be about going to school and doing homework, but for us the most important thing was having fun. As soon as school was over, we'd run home, grab a bite, and rush outside to take care of our real business, hanging out with our friends. We'd stay out for as long as we could, stubbornly negotiating for more time. "Come on, Ma - ten more minutes", we'd yell to the head and shoulders sticking out from the window above, "we just got here."
Hanging out was our time, when we didn't have to deal with the annoyances of family life. We'd be with our friends traveling the range of our imaginations, placing ourselves at the heights of glory -- Koufax pitching against the Mick in a game seven; or down in the gutter -- inventing a new game with bottle caps. We were constrained only by ourselves and answered to no one but ourselves (perhaps until a fight broke out and someone went crying home to Mom).
We played all kinds of games, but most of our activities involved a ball. City kids played "official", "legit" ball games like baseball, football, and basketball - but we also had a whole range of less formal ball games to draw upon for fun. These games had simple rules, needed few people and took almost no time to get going. Some like punchball required some coordination (picking a captain and choosing sides), others, like stoopball were usually just a quick "pick-up" game with a couple of guys. The games could be the center point of attention, but they usually occurred while the main event, hanging out, took place.
That's how it was, just you and your pals. It wasn't about having your mom schedule a play date with another mom; it wasn't about organized sports (though we did do Little League). You didn't need organization, time, planning, parental approval, or equipment. You made creative use of the urban landscape. Fields of play were the sidewalks, streets, walls and stoops. Bases were cars, lamp posts and garbage cans. Equipment was minimal and usually consisted of typical household items, but there was one thing that was indispensable: a rubber ball.""
S P A L D I N G
Made from the rejected inner core of a tennis ball in 1949, the original Spalding High-Bounce ball sparked the imaginations of dozens of playful inner city kids. For urban kids, the ball gave them a way to play outdoors without a grassy field. These kids would hit the streets for inventive games like hit-the-penny, box ball, and most famously, stickball. Designed after baseball, stickball was a neighborhood delight, with players substituting Spalding High-Bounce balls for baseballs, broomsticks for bats and manholes and fire hydrants for bases. The ball was originally called "spaldeen" by New Yorkers with thick accents who pronounced Spalding as (spal-deen).
With any luck, the Spalding High-Bounce ball will bring today's video and computer game-loving kids back to a time of such innovative outdoor fun.
Welcome to Spaldeen.com !
Surf thru the above site.... it should definitely bring back memories.
Skelsies, deadbox, bottlecaps... what's in a name?
Move quickly through a dangerous course, avoiding opponents, or blasting them clear out of the game zone. Always seek the safety of home bases. Complete the basic level and get transformed into a being with the power to eliminate your competitors. Sounds like a new video game, but it's the classic street game of skully.
Skully (a.k.a. skelly, skilsies, Skelsies) was one of the most popular street games in the New York City area, and it is still played today, though not as widespread. It is typically played on the street using bottlecaps on a board drawn with chalk. Anywhere from 2 to 6 (or more) players can play. Each neighborhood has its own variations on the rules, but the basic theme is to use your fingers to shoot your piece (a bottlecap, poker chip, or other small item) through the course drawn on the street, then "kill" all the other players, leaving you the winner.
We use the name skully here because we believe it derives from the middle section of the board, called "the skull." Deadbox, a closely related game found in Philadelphia, PA, actually uses a board with a skull drawn in the middle.
Making and customizing a skully cap is an art unto itself. A number of techniques can be used to create colorful and particularly effective pieces. The skully board itself, its dimensions and variations, may vary from place to place, but the general design is fairly consistent--not unlike variations you see in baseball parks around the nation!
Judging by the popularity of the Streetplay's skully discussions and the reactions we've gotten at street fairs, we believe that skully has the potential to return to the popularity seen in its heyday. It's a great game for kids of all ages, so please explore this section, check out the rules, pictures, and stories submitted by Streetplay members. Perhaps we can create a skully revival!
If you took away all the ball games, Ringoleavio was probably the best team game we knew. It was competitive, intense and long. Really long. Games could go on for hours, even days which is just about half of an eternity when you're a kid.
Ringoleavio, Ringolario, Ringolearyo--the name depended on the neighborhood, as did some variations in the rules. Basically, you choose up two teams of any number of players. One team would be the hunters, one team would be hunted. The goal of the hunters would be to catch all the members of the other team. A stoop, bench, monkey bar or other urban landmark would be the hunters base, (AKA jail). The team being hunted would try to avoid capture and if possible, free their jailed compatriots. Not rocket science, but you did get into coordinated strategy, deception and true heroics.
Hunters would usually travel in packs, trying to trap an individual opponent and bring him or her (this was one of the better coed games) back to the jail. If a hunter grabbed you and said "Rinoleavio one, two three," then you were caught, had to submit to being a prisoner and were escorted to jail. You were then held captive until the end of the game--or if you were freed by one of your remaining teammates.
That was where the excitement really came in--trying to free your captured pals. If there were a couple of you left, you might try to work it together. You'd quietly sneak up as close as you could get and then make a run towards the base, one person drawing out the jailer, while the other busted through to free the prisoners. If they had more than one person "covering" the jail, one player might appear somewhere relatively close but seemingly running away to draw out the coverage and make he defense easier to penetrate. Making it to the base and yelling "Home free" would allow all your captured teammates to jump out, scatter in all directions and once again set the game in motion.
Where we lived the game was not over until all the players were caught or if all your team figured it wasn't worth waiting for you anymore and gave up. Ringloeavio was related to, but not a form of hide and seek. It was not considered good taste to simply disappear into some out of the way, tough to find spot for several hours. You were supposed to make frequent appearances on the field, to tease and draw out the enemy. Valor was demonstrated by agility, speed and daring moves made just beyond the grasp of enemy players. Let no one be mistaken, simple endurance was also a highly valued quality.
Ringoleavio could be played anywhere--but the city environment really gave it character. Cars, benches, fences and other urban features framed the "fields" and added excitement to the chase.
Streetplay.com: Stickball, handball, spaldeens, and more!