Four Square – perhaps the single most important thing in middle school. A game where some friendships are born, some thrive, and some die.
As a high schooler, I can look back on the game and recognize the true importance it had to us: it wasn’t just a game. But as soon as 8th grade ended, Four Square just stopped. Nobody played it during snack, lunch or any other time. The game stagnated and faded away, never to be played again.
But why? Why did the game of legends die the moment we became high schoolers?
In order to understand the demise of Four Square, one must understand the rules. Four Square is a four person game, in which four players stand in four different squares, with a line of players who stand just outside of the court. The four squares have designated names, those being the peasant, knight, queen and king. The positions move clockwise in importance, so the first square is the worst ranked. The point of the game is to move up and reach a high rank. Before the game is started, the positions are typically decided on a first come first serve basis.
The players have a ball, which is given to the king. The king usually serves to the square diagonally opposite to them (the knight); however, they can serve to whatever square they wish. The king can also decide the rules of the game (i.e. if kicking the ball is allowed). Once the king serves, the ball is allowed to touch the other players’ square only once, and they have to hit it to another square. If the ball touches their square twice, they are eliminated. The other way elimination occurs is when a player hits the ball into another player’s square, and that person fails to hit the ball into any other squares (this is often referred to as “killing”).
Once a player is killed, they step out of their square and go to the back of the line, and the player who has a lower rank goes into their square, and the first player in the line goes to the lowest position. There are also pre-written sets of rules, like “British Rules,” which is a well-known set of alternative rules. The rules might be different nowadays, as I haven’t played Four Square in two years, but that sums up the basic rules of the game.
Anyway, back to my point: what killed Four Square? Nay, why did Four Square die? To answer this question, I have to get near the roots of the issue. Tenth grade AISB student and Four Square veteran, Salaar Mir. Salaar, says he was originally drawn to the game because “[he] guess[es] all of [his] friends were playing it and [he] had nothing better to do.” This idea of friendship is very important to understand the game’s initial rise.
Another former player, Amit, states: “I stopped playing Fourth Square to do better things.”
In conclusion, Four Square was killed, simply because high schoolers had better things to do. Or so it seems.
I believe the real reason Four Square is not played by high schoolers is for fear of looking too childish. Some high school students feel the need to appear as more mature–whether this means playing more competitive sports, or spending time hanging out with friends.
It’s too bad, really. Four Square was/is an awesome game. R.I.P.