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Name the Game

I loved recess in elementary school. It was all about playing games for me, and the games usually involved a bouncy red rubber ball.

Between my 2nd-grade and 5th-grade years the volleyball-sized red rubber ball was the only piece of equipment needed for several of the games that occupied most of my recesses. With it we’d play games called two-square, one-square, dodge ball, and kickball. In a pinch, the red rubber ball could also be used as a basketball or soccer ball or to play three-flies-up.

Because it could be used for many purposes, just being in possession of the red rubber ball on the playground at the beginning of recess did not give a clear indication of the game to be played. Unlike a football or basketball, which mostly spoke for themselves, your intentions with the red rubber ball had to be announced, in words or actions. You had to “name the game.”