6 Steps to Epic (and safe) Stickball Games
The game popularized in the Northeast United States during the mid-20th century is staging a comeback, here’s how to get an authentic game of stickball going and enjoy the people in your community.
For many of us who grew up in cities or apartment buildings, our neighborhoods were our “back yards”. While we lacked large yards for hurling baseballs hundreds of feet, we had sidewalks and streets that with a little ingenuity and imagination transformed into cathedrals of our local favorite pasttime: stickball!!
If you’re looking to experience the glory that there is in a game of stickball, or are looking to pass the game on to your children – here are 6 steps to epic (and safe) stickball games.
1. Grab a pouch of Big League Chew
An ample reserve of the shredded bubble gum must be on hand for any credible game of stickball. Rip open the foil pouch, take a long whiff of the sugary goodness and grab a handful. You’re ready to dominate now.
2. Find a safe place to play
It’s never a good idea to play any game in the middle of a busy street or intersection. While we long for the days when cars were few and the streets were all ours for games of stickball and manhunt, they’re not anymore. Try to find any safe surface where traffic is nonexistent or minimal with concrete on it, like: empty basketball courts, school courtyards, dead-ends or cul-de-sacs. If you do play on a dead-end street or cul-de-sac, remember to take a page out of Wayne and Garth’s playbook and respect traffic.
3. Grab a broomstick and a roll of duct tape
Leave your Louisville Slugger at home, all you need for an epic game of stickball is well…a stick! Grab an old broom or mop stick and wrap it with some duct tape and you are all set to get your Babe Ruth on.
4. Get a few high bounce rubber balls
We grew up using either spaldeen pink rubber balls or blue high bounce balls that you could find at any local convenience store. Some say the sound of a perfectly struck wooden bat and baseball is the sweetest sound they’ve heard, but few things sound cooler then a rubber ball when it’s hit spot on with a broomstick.
5. Make your home plate
Home base can be a sewer plate, but nothing can slow a game down more than having to chase after the ball after each bad pitch. The ideal home plate would be a scotch taped strike zone. This allows for called strikes and the ball should bounce right back to the pitcher whenever you take a pitch.
6. Make your own rules
The great thing about stickball is that each neighborhood can make its own rules. Kids in Brooklyn played the game much differently than kids from Boston did. Here are a few important things to consider when setting up your rules:
– Do you have pitchers or are you self hitting?
– Can you swing on a bounce or do you have to make contact on a straight pitch?
– What’s an out? Catching on the fly or does catching on one bounce count as an out?
– How many outs?
– What’s a homerun? Double? Triple?
– Are you running bases?
– – –
Well there you have it. Those are just a few of the ways you can get an authentic and epic game of stickball going. It may not be as popular as it once was, but it is a great way for local kids to get active and get to know each other. If you have any other stickball game ideas feel free to leave them in the comments!
– – –