Four Square

Four Square

Either the rules for four square have changed, or my kids don’t know how to play.

While it has been some 35 years since I last played, I vaguely remember some things about it.

  • I’m certain that square number one was not called the “peasant toilet.” It was simply square number one.
  • Square number two was “two,” not, “Knight.”
  • Squares three and four were not “Princess/Prince” and “Queen/King,” they were squares three and four.

Because there are four squares.

That’s why the game is called “four square.”

Square number one served no other purpose than simply being the first square each new player entered into.

Each subsequent square is just the natural progression of the order in the game, where the goal was to get to square four to be the server. Not to be knighted the King of Four Squareia: defender against toilets, or whatever we’re doing here.

This is what I remember about playing versus how my children are playing:

  • Square number one isn’t the “peasant toilet.” We’ve established this was never a thing nor should it continue to be one.
  • You did not hit the ball like a volleyball. That got you out because you can only pass the ball under hand.
  • You didn’t hit the line or you were out. That’s almost all games and sports.
  • You didn’t throw the ball. Especially to try and get it as far away from the game as possible.
  • You didn’t hit anyone in the face or body. That’s called dodgeball.
  • You didn’t double bounce the ball. This isn’t basketball, there is zero reason to dribble this ball.
  • You didn’t pass it to the same person over and over. That got you out.
  • You aren’t supposed to have a chicken in your square. They’ve got to get in line and wait their turn like everyone else.

I tried to teach them the game but everyone tried to continue to play the game the way they knew how while trying to learn the actual rules of the game.

For example:

  • When I said no one could hit the ball overhanded, one of them hit it underhand like a volleyball, sending it up out of bounds and into a tree.
  • When I said you couldn’t hit the lines, they almost deliberately tried to hit the lines.
  • When I said you can’t hit someone’s body, one of them decided to merge dodgeball and four square.
  • When someone double bounced the ball or hit it back to the same person twice, everyone yelled, “toilet” and started to laugh hysterically.

Then the wind started blowing and everyone started spinning because those clouds could be tornado clouds and suddenly four square became tornado four square.

I decided it was time to go inside and left them all whirling around the patio bonking each other on the heads with the ball shouting, “You’re out! Go back to the toilet, peasant!”

Four square.

Maybe toilet is a good name for whatever it was that we played.

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