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April 15th, 2005

Wall Ball/Suicide

When reading this recollection of a childhood game called “Suicide”, I was surprised to see that someone else had played the same game that I remember so fondly from recess at Milton H. Allen Elementary. Not surprisingly, the author of the linked piece is from New Jersey, so perhaps this was a regionally popular game that never caught on elsewhere. Or maybe everyone played it, I’m not sure.

The gist behind “Suicide” — or as we called it, “Wall Ball” — was that a group of kids grouped up facing a wall. One person would throw the ball and when the ball bounced back, someone would attempt to catch it. If they caught it without a bobble, they threw the ball against the wall again. If the ball touched someone and then hit the ground, that person had to run to the wall and touch it before someone else threw the ball there or before the runner got pegged. We had some slight variations on the game, but none quite like the ones on the aforementioned page. I particularly like the “Relay” rule.

Did anyone else play this game?

Posted in Childhood Memories

FROM: Walley Ball
DATE: Friday April 15, 2005 -- 9:38:37 am
Yeah I used to play something similar in Bern with friends. We'd have an assigned order ... and we'd spike a volleyball against a wall. It would HAVE to hit the wall first -- if it hit the wall first, you were out. Then the next person in assigned order would have to spike it against the wall...

FROM: Greg C
DATE: Friday April 15, 2005 -- 10:36:35 am
For the non-politically correct crowd, wasn't this called Smear the Queer? At least that's what we called it, and that was what, the early 80s, like 1980-1983 somewhere in there.

Not to be confused with Dodgeball, which I don't think ever had another name.


FROM: Chris [E-Mail]
DATE: Friday April 15, 2005 -- 11:24:05 am
We played a game similar to that Ryan. Can't remember what we called it though.

Smear the Queer, as we played it, was simply tackle football without the teams, points, or anything else. We simply piled on whoever had the ball until he threw it, then chased down the next guy with the ball. Repeat until somebody gets hurt.

FROM: Ryan [E-Mail]
DATE: Friday April 15, 2005 -- 11:36:21 am
Re-read the Baby in the Air Ping for more about "Smear the Queer."

FROM: Dave Walls [E-Mail]
DATE: Friday April 15, 2005 -- 2:39:59 pm
I don't like to brag, but between Wall Ball and Lawn Darts, I was quite the athletic stud when I was all of 10 years old.

When I was in Cub/Boy Scouts, we'd always play Wall Ball afterwards while waiting to get picked up. I'm proud to say that I escaped with only a few dropped tennis balls, while others...well...they are still in therapy after all these years.

Political correctness can kiss my ass...this game RULED. :)

DATE: Friday April 15, 2005 -- 8:29:51 pm
I have heard of it, there si this game that everyone likes to play in reading, ir is called spud. Well one person is the spud and has a ball, everyone else playing has to be touching them and they yell spud and throw the ball straight up as far as they can. When he or she throws the ball, the rest of the players run away and when the spud gets the ball she yells spud again and everyone must stop running. then form wherever the spud is standing they had to hit another player with the ball. whoever they hit became the spud, and if they missed, they were the spud again. I hate it, i guess it wasnt engraved into my brain young enough because all the cool people in pittsburgh didnt play it.

FROM: Ryan [E-Mail]
DATE: Saturday April 16, 2005 -- 9:25:27 am
SPUD = Baby in the Air.

FROM: phil
DATE: Wednesday October 19, 2005 -- 2:31:50 pm
Suicide was big in Philly. In middle school we played in a sunken tennis court and the steps/stands were the wall. We had 10-50 kids playing at once and used multiple ball simultaneously.

Dave October 11, 2008, 1:22 am

Just like Phil said, we had our school wall. About 20-50 boys playing. Although I was tall..I could never actually catch the ball. So I used to cheat with a baseball glove. It was all good, until somebody roofed the ball.

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