Loving Presidents Square (Year of the Presidential Tiger’s Heart)

After the regular Thursday night game 4SEB realized that the 2nd weekend of February contained not only Valentine’s Day and Chinese New Year, but President’s Day as well. Landing on Monday the 15th, it extended a weekend punctuated by chocolate, firecrackers and more red than the ‘commie rule’ into a full blown 3-day party. Due to recent cold (read: low) attendance at the Thursday Rockridge BART Square, 4 Square of the East Bay has decided that anytime there is a holiday (read: any non Sunday when you don’t have to pay for parking) there needs to be a Gorilla Square. Gorilla squares can happen anywhere, popping up at street fests, birthday parties, after concerts, farmers markets or on the UC Berkeley Campus. The nature of the Gorilla Square is random and is intended to raise awareness of 4SEB and it’s constant need for players.

President’s Day 2010 was the first Gorilla Square of the year and was held at Frank Ogawa Plaza on Monday, February 15th. After a weekend of online activity that plastered facebook, took over the tweetsphere and stumbled back into myspace, 4SEB showed up right in front of Oakland’s City Hall at 5pm.

After getting permission from the skateboarding middle schoolers who were using the area, 4SEB set up the square. We maxed out the roll of tape and completing the boxes with chalk. The game started with the Florendo sisters, Michelle and Arlene (who look like middle schoolers), Sam and fresh-off-the-bike Mickey. They were soon joined by Mike, the mother/daughter team of Michelle and Amina, and Lee and Gabby, who were a little woozy from just having returned to Oakland from SoCal. Big shout to Jordan and Gus who wanted to play the game, but despite their best efforts, just couldn’t get there in time.

The game play was relaxed and fun with lots of silly rules (things you can buy at a gas station, hit the ball with your feet together, animal sounds, don’t touch the ball with your hands) and when the ball bounced into the skateboarders they were totally nice and gave it back. Mickey had to leave early to catch a train but encouraged the group to attend “Singing in the Rain” (from March 6th to March 21st) starring Rich, a 4 Square expert and actor. Check out http://www.berkeleyplayhouse.org for more info!

Unfortunately, no flash mob of players came from the woodwork and the time and location was evaluated. Next time: earlier and maybe in a place that has more visibility/people. It got dark around 6 and elimination was called around 6:15. Due to the small number of players (4 remained) a double elimination was called, which means a player can get out twice before being forced to take leave of the square. After being sliced out in the first round by Sam, Lee revenged himself on Sam, Gabby and Mike for the win. Way to go Lee, you’ve got our vote for Mayor!

It was a great day for gaming and we did just that! Look for more Gorilla Squares and come to the regular Thursday night games!

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