I'm mad. I have this excellent concept in my head to celebrate this week's Illustration Friday theme ("summer"), but I simply can't execute it to paper. So I've taken a break and instead I'm gonna describe the inspiration behind the idea. And someday in the future, I'll tackle the sketch again and eventually post it.
I went to Mulvey School for grades two through six. Come recess at Mulvey, the sports of choice were this rugby-soccer-keepaway hybrid we dubbed hogball – and foursquare. I'm not certain just how common the game of foursquare was back in the day, but at Mulvey – and many other schools around Winnipeg – playgrounds featured at least one foursquare 'court' painted onto the blacktop. Simply put, the game involved a square split into four quadrants, each occupied by a player. There's a ball – one of those pock-marked inflatable playground balls somewhere between the sizes of a volleyball and basketball. The game allowed all sorts of room for personal flair, including moves like stoppers, dribblers, stompers, double-hits and the dreaded 'toilet seat'. Once a kid missed a play, he was demoted to fourth square – or to the lineup, if more than four kids were involved. Foursquare rewarded strong play with eventual advancement to square one. The player in square one dictated the rules of the round, and then it's simply a matter of hitting the ball to one another – a la handball – letting it bounce once per play.
At Mulvey we played foursquare serious – sometimes even at Olympic levels with each kid representing a nation of their choice. When we moved on to Gordon Bell High School, we left the game behind. It was a game for little kids.
Until some downtime between exams in grade nine, when a few of us had the gumption to resurrect our grade school glory-days. We stole some chalk, etched a foursquare on the concrete, nabbed a basketball and started playing again. We continued straight through the end of high school; dazzling, fast-paced games that attracted members of the volleyball and basketball teams and incorporating slick, Globetrotter-esque moves. It became a downtime phenomenon, eating up study periods and defying normal teenage behaviour. It was kickass.
And that's the memory I was attempting to invoke with this sketch, which I'm determined now more than ever to get right. Just not right now.