Wall Ball Laws

Growing up poor on the mean streets of inner city Philadelphia, us kids had a lot of time to screw around outside. I never did a whole lot of video gaming (besides NHL 95 on the Sega Genesis!), and found the greatest amusement playing outside with a friend or two down the street. I’ve written about this before, a list of games that we played that look foreign to our suburban-raised counterparts, but today I’m choosing to write about the one game that was the ultimate pick-up boredom buster.

Throw the wall against the ball?

Man, was this ever a sweet game. It required exactly three things. People, a wall and a ball. That’s it. It even had it’s own theme song! (Wall ball, wall ball…you throw the ball against the wall.  Shut up. We were like 8).  Now many places across the country play some form of wall ball or another. And of course, every neighborhood, block and barrio claims THEIR way is the REAL wall ball. But I have to clarify.

This way, our way, was the real way.

Come on, let him play too...

The game, specifically known as Suicide, or Suey, was the preferred, nay, only way to play. It has everything.  Skills such as throwing with precision, athleticism through running, and an excuse to hurt someone without getting into much trouble (unless you hit them in the eye or something).

Don't be that guy...

First, you need a ball. Specifically, an old semi-flat tennis ball that you found in the street (known as a tennie).  New tennis balls are allowed but frowned upon. Also occasionally acceptable is a raquetball. They bounce better, are harder to catch, and sting like a motherfucker when you get hit with one. Recommended for advanced players only.

Wall-E Ball would be even sweeter

Next, find yourself a wall. No windows, please, unless they’re barred/gated/fenced in, in which case TOTALLY go for the wall with windows! You get some gnarly bounces off them, and they make an awesome noise when you hit one. In a perfect world, your wall would be a school or playground building, with an open field or parking lot facing it. In reality, we used the back of an old banquet hall that faced a tiny two way street with cars on it. They just added to the excitement, therefore this situation is completely acceptable. Tennis balls will not break a car (as far as I know…). Trash cans, dogs and passersby are par for the course here.

Now get a friend. Or two dozen. You can really play with any number greater than one, although three or more usually works best.

They guy who brings/finds/steals the tennie usually gets the first throw. He throws the ball at the wall. The ball hits the wall (no bouncing first, it has to hit directly!). At this point, the crowd scrambles to catch it. If the ball bounces before it’s caught, the kid who catches it gets to throw from where they caught it, and the cycle continues. Now here’s the fun part(s). If you catch the ball in the air (no bounces), you get to throw the ball (preferably as hard as possible) at the kid who threw it. Also, if the ball touches you and you don’t catch it (missed catch, deflection, line drive, whatevers), someone can pick it up and whale on you.

Watch out for bobbles!

Don’t fret over a bobble or caught ball, however. You can defend against this by running to the wall and tagging it as you yell “Suey.” Now this isn’t to say the kid who caught your bobble didn’t already start throwing it, and you can get nailed anyways, but at least you can save face a little bit (all important to an urban pre-teen).

Now say you get the ball like two blocks away. You throw it, you don’t make it all the way to the wall. Guess what. It’s a’runnin’ time. Basically, you can get pegged for doing anything OTHER than cleanly catching and throwing. Now for the particularly wimpy kids out there, if you’re waaay down the block, a generous friend can yell “Rally” and intercept the catch for you (however, if you miss the throw to him, you’d better hit that wall). Also, the mean spirited among us can block someone’s long distance throw (making sure you tag the wall after blocking the throw to avoid getting hit with ANOTHER ball).

So summary. Throw ball against wall. Screw up, get pegged with a ball.

Now usually this just goes on until everyone’s bored, but you can also make this into a true winner-take-all event. If you’re actually looking for a winner, count each peg someone receives as an Out. After three outs you can simply declare the person out of the game, or for more grueling adventures, have them face a Wall of Shame. This is where the violence of this game really shines. The guy facing the Wall of Shame has to stand against the game wall, spread eagle. Each other player now lines up and has the opportunity to throw the ball as hard as possible at the kid’s back (very painful for large groups including older kids!). Now maybe your buddy decides just to give you a little tap, that’s up to him. Most will not do this.

Generally, aiming for the head is not allowed. It will usually result in the offending thrower needing to tag the wall.

Catching a ball in the air with ONE hand requires the entire rest of the group to tag up. Roofing the ball, or being the kid who lets it roll in the storm drain requires a beatdown.

So that’s that. Our main game. Now don’t get me wrong, sometimes we switched it up playing Chink (named after a crack in the sidewalk or wall), Wallball Baseball (with predetermined areas for single, double, etc), Wireball or Basketball-Court-Baseball-With-a-Tennis-Ball-and-Electrical-Taped-Whiffle-Ball-Bat. We never played Beeries, but I know some kids that did, and we played kick-the-Snapple-Bottlecap-into-random-shit as well as semi-tackle football in the street (like Arena Football, but with cars instead of padded sidelines).

Now while these are the OFFICIAL unofficial rules, house rules always prevail. The game can, nay, must be adapted to your setting. Make things off limits, require extra shit….but remember, most importantly, there’s no crying in wall ball.

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It’s high time….

So, fair readers, it’s been a while since you’ve heard from ole Davey. Let’s fill you in on what you’ve missed in the last few weeks or so….

Still unemployed, however, I’m now doing some part time stuff for our very good friends at Derisory Designs, based out of Good Ole Port Richmond.  Cool-ass t-shirts and such, awesome people, and great quality. If you ever need shirts or anything else printed, give em a ring. Tell em Dave sent ya.

Oh, how could I put this second? Super Dudette Michelle and I finally got married after dating for like four years. Actually, our four year anniversary was 2 weeks before the wedding, and we both totally forgot about it. That’s gotta be a good sign, right? The wedding turned out to be a pretty rad event, I think everyone had a good time (us Super Dudes and Dudettes had a blast!), great food, free booze, and a bedroom full of presents. Much thanks to the well-wishers out there.

But you, readers, don’t care as much about my personal life. You should, but you don’t. That would be INSANE.

I come to you, dear readers, today, to talk about something very important to me.  Pennsylvania House Bill 1393 (HB 1393, for short), the Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act.

May I start out raising a loud, passionate WTF before I get into my true tirade. Pennsylvania, the state that said the gay’s are not just icky, but constitutionally icky, is actually considering legalizing marijuana for medical uses. Yes, PA. The Great Southern Oasis in the North. Pennsyltucky. Pennsylbama. The great Keystone of Conservatism is actually considering something not only logical, but downright progressive. I am proud, this week, to be a Pennsylvanian.

But Dave! Think of the children! Won’t somebody PLEASE think of the CHILDREN!?!  Well, sir, or ma’am, I am, quite earnestly. I want children have their parents.

The CDC reports that from 1999 to 2004, unintentional poisoning death from prescription drugs sleeping pills, antidepressants and tranquilizers grew 84 percent  to 20,950 deaths, overtaking cocaine and heroin combined as the leading cause of lethal overdose.Read more:http://www.injuryboard.com/national-news/prescription-drug-deaths-soar.aspx?googleid=29488#ixzz0YSpXHXPN

(courtesy injuryboard.com)
The first argument many make for the legalization of medical marijuana is that there are no deaths associated with smoking it. Well, we know that’s not REALLY true, people smoke and drive, or smoke and do other stupid shit ALL the time. Inexcusable. How many people do you interact with on a day to day basis, including bus drivers, other cars on the road, doctors, bosses, etc., and how many of them do you think are taking an opiate painkiller? I would bet good money that it’s a WHOLE lot more than you think. It’s illegal and stupid. Smoking and driving should be too, just like taking Oxycontin and driving technically is. Ok, so now we’re starting to think of the children.  Let’s throw it out there that I believe driving under ANY (chemical) influence  should be illegal and punished the way drunk driving is. If it’s clouding your judgement, you shouldn’t drive. There, happy? But what about that fact up there…Ambian, Lunesta, Roserem, Lexapro, Valium, Oxycontin and all of their friends are now more deadly than fucking COCAINE AND HEROIN. Let that mull around in your head for a few minutes. Legal, “safe,” prescribed drugs are more deadly than the big H. Wow. Just fucking WOW.

Deadly

Now believe me, as much as I think marijuana should be totally legalized and taxed, that’s a different topic for a different day. And I certainly don’t think heroin should be freely sold in stores or anything (bad libertarian!). (While we’re at it, I’m listening to my iTunes on shuffle, and I don’t care what anyone says about the Smiths. Morrissey is a pussy.). Today we’re just focusing on the MEDICAL aspect of it. Let’s look back a few years. Up until 1941, marijuana was still in the US Pharmacopoeia, which Wiki describes as “an official public standards–setting authority for all prescription and over–the–counter medicines and other health care products manufactured or sold in the United States.” So until 1941, the US officially recognized marijuana’s legitimate use as a pharmaceutical. Wow.

New York, The Nanny State

There are many reasons, and speculative reasons, why marijuana was made illegal in the US. Nanny State-ism, control of the youth, desire to kill the economy of South American immigrants…even an honest desire to keep kids out of trouble. But we should have learned a simple fact from Alcohol Prohibition….making something RELATIVELY harmless illegal, after it has been legal for so long, and while it’s still readily available, not only doesn’t work, but is dangerous to users and bystanders alike. Sure gangs will still sell heroin and crack, but how much of their profit will be taken out when we legalize marijuana?  Okay, getting to be off topic again, we’re talking medical today, not total usage….

So we know prescriptions CAN be very dangerous. I’ve taken some of these “FDA APPROVED” “SAFE AND SOUND” medicines. Pain killers for various injuries and surgeries, and countless sleep medicines for various sleep disorders. Pain killers suck. They really do. They shred your stomach like glass, and they make you crap funny (if you’re lucky and CAN crap) for days. They disorient you, and leave you wanting more of them. You can died if you drink a beer and take them. Sounds really fucking safe, huh. Sleeping pills might actually be more dangerous, in my opinion. They actually leave you WANTING to go to bed so you can take your next one. They can make you SERIOUSLY depressed (ask Super Dudette Michelle about this, she told the doc that I would die if I kept taking Ambian, because SHE would kill me…).  They are bad news bears.  Perhaps the even greater danger with them is that people THINK they’re safe. Just an Ambian. Just a Lunesta. But no (and if you have sleeping problems, PLEASE see a Sleep PSYCHOLOGIST instead of asking for pills from your doctor. They really help you, far more than any pill EVER can).  Also, Ambian, for example, has a tendency to make you…well…retarded before you fall asleep, leading you to do stupid shit and FORGET THAT YOU ALREADY TOOK ONE. A double Ambian hangover is no fun, hear you me. Not to mention all of the people who DRIVE, GAMBLE, and WANDER OFF after taking the shit. In my personal experience, Ambian and most, if not all, of its little sleeping pill friends should be ILLEGAL.

Sleeping pills can make you a zombie.

Okay, so we think that marijuana is probably more safe than narcotics and sleeping pills. Isn’t that enough of a reason? If your DOCTOR says something is better than something else (last I checked, MOST government employees, let alone congress aren’t medical professionals, let alone doctors), shouldn’t you be able to access SAFELY and WITHOUT fear of the government? (and fear of terrifying side effects like sleepwalking to the casino…).

Wait, what?

So we KNOW that marijuana helps people with glaucoma. It’s a FACT. It lowers pressure in the eye, and helps people from going FUCKING BLIND. I’d say that ALONE is worth it, but WAIT, THAT’S NOT ALL! Marijuana is also the perfect thing to help people with HIV/AIDS and cancer regain their appetites so they don’t die of starvation or get vitamin deficiencies. You don’t want cancer patients to die of something else before cancer gets them, and we certainly want AIDS sufferers to last as long as they can in hopes we might actually be able to cure the damned thing.

Hey, Dave, I don’t have cancer or AIDS, why should I give a fuck? Well, friend, have you ever had chronic sleeping problems? I have. Have you ever been depressed, in physical pain or had surgery?  Okay then, you should care.

The conspiracy theorist in me has a damned good reason why the Feds have this drug illegal. Is it true? Who knows, but based on some other stupid policies Uncle Sam has (Agricultural Lobby, anyone?), it wouldn’t be hard to imagine that Big Pharma doesn’t want a drug that you can grow in you closet or backyard legal when Lunesta sells for four bucks A FUCKING PILL.
There are so many reasons why this NEEDS to happen for us Pennsylvanians. Just google “Medicinal Marijuana” and you’ll be amazed. I’m not some pothead going out there trying to legitimize use. I simply think this is something we have to do for our elderly and suffering that has been stigmatized for FAR too long.

So, dear friends, I have a simple thing to ask you….no BEG of you….
PLEASE visit THIS SITE, fill in your information to contact your PA State Representative and urge them to support this very important and progressive piece of legislation. I’ve done it, and encouraged everyone I know to do it. Post it to your facebook, twitter, crackberry, whatever you have. Let em know we want it, and want need it now.

philamaneto
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