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August 17, 2004

Nostalgia, Four-Square, and Uni High

I was happy with how this photo from the Uni High Foursquare reunion turned out. I captured father and son both in action (the father is the bearded patent lawyer with the baseball cap). It was quite a good reunion, aided mightily by having so many children running around, though the kids make it hard to stay in one place long enough for heavy-duty nostalgiazizing. Unipeople start late, but do seem fertile enough once they get started.

That new word in the last paragraph didn't quite work. Nostal-zizing? No. I can't figure out a word that works properly for "talking fondly about past people and events in the company of others who experienced them".

At any rate, the theme of the reunion was the game of Foursquare. From 1971 to 1976, when I was at Uni, Foursquare and Bridge were the two dominant games. Chess, of course, featured largely, with people like Jim Worley on the team, whose success (2nd in the state my senior year, I think?) contrasted interestingly with the performance of our basketball team (something like 97 straight losses, a national record).

Here is a synopsis of the rules from Brian Brinkerhoff, '81:

The playing field is composed of four squares that are arranged so that theyform one larger square. The Squares are lettered from A-D. Each square is occupied by a single player. The player in the A-square serves the ball into any square they choose. The serve consists of a single bounce in A-square followed by the ball being directed into an adjacent square of the server's choosing. Play continues until someone fails to return the ball into someone else's square. When a player is out, he or she leaves the Four-Square court and a new player enters into D-square. Other players move up to fill the vacated space.

Players waiting to play form a line. The player in front of the line serves as Line Judge. It is the Line Judge's responsibility to serve as a referee. The Line Judge is the final authority on calls that are contested or disputed.

Four-Square is an old elementary school game, usually played rather gently. Uni High's version of Four-Square is not. Slamming a ball into a square so that the receiving player must run it down is legal. Putting unusual spins on the ball is widely practiced, and all manner of shots that are delivered from unusual angles such as between the legs and behind the back are heavily utilized by some players. As a result, our version of Four-Square looks much more like the Globetrotter's magic circle than it does the elementary school game from which it was derived. In the pursuit of this "flashier" style of play, it has been traditionally accepted to let some palming of the ball to go overlooked, not unlike travelling in the NBA!

Posted by erasmuse at August 17, 2004 11:12 PM

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