Walls, Balls, and Racquets

Urban spaces have a lot to offer. Having spent my childhood in rural Vermont this was an unexpected discovery. A simple cement wall, or the side of a brownstone, a smooth surface, a hand ball, add a child and a surrounding fence to keep bouncing balls from escaping, now a game of catch can commence. Throw the ball at the wall and the wall throws it back.

 

I got it!

  I got it!

 

Add another child, or two, or an adult, and a competitive game, called “homicide” at my son’s elementary school, can begin. Do they all know the definition of “homicide”? Probably not the younger ones, in fact a three year old calls it “messiah”. This game, with it’s evolving rules, created and agreed upon by the child participants, is an intense form of exercise! A fantastic way to improve hand-eye coordination, throwing strength, accuracy, agility, and if you are playing competitively, you will increase your heart rate. Basic rules: throw the ball at the wall. Catch the ball after one bounce, throw again. Catch the ball with one hand, without a bounce, you can throw the ball at any other competitor unless they reach the wall (safety) first. If you touch the ball, but don’t catch it any other participant who catches the ball can throw it at you. Again you have the option to run to safety first. Interval training at it’s best!

Bring a racquet with you, tennis balls or the hand ball, and the wall can become a fierce competitor with a rapid return. Bring two or three racquets and all sorts of games can be created.

The best part of these simple urban games is that even a six year old, a three year old, and an adult can all find a variation that is fun to play, together or separately!

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