Pancakes & a 4 Square Tournament

Sunday April 18th, 2010 was an historic day for 4 Square of the East Bay! On this day, 4SEB teamed up with Strive For ______ to put on it’s first 4 Square Tournament! This was preceded by a wonderful pancake breakfast/fundraiser for Strive For ______ which is a new organization designed to link youth in foster care with mentorship programs in San Francisco. It was a great event with good food, wonderful people and (what else) a whole lot of 4 Square.

The day started at around 10am for eating and chatting in the Adams Point neighborhood of Oakland. Cooks David, Matt and Michelle served up the hungry crowd with delicious pancakes of the vegan and non-vegan variety. Set up for the day’s gaming started around 10:45 as many eager players began weeding the small square of cracked concrete that would be the court. They swept dirt and gravel away, moved trash and compost, placed styrofoam over windows, taped and chalked out the court and started stretching.

Travis and Sam began registering players, writing down their names (and nicknames) then assigning them numbers. It was announced that the games would start at around 12:30. Regulars from the Thursday games began to mingle with new folks from Strive For and get ready for the action. Little did these new players know what was in store for them…

The competitors were…

Ben (AKA Artist), Sam (AKA Shaolin B-Boy), Phil (AKA Rasputin), Paul (AKA English), Lee (AKA Wykid Ballz), Matt M. (AKA Matt3), Hasan (AKA The Masecator), Rebeccah (AKA R2D2), Adam (AKA Booba), James (AKA Tinker), Uriah (AKA The Uriah), Jeff (AKA Teddy Bear), Matt C. (AKA Professor McPartytime), Jordan (AKA Jordanger), Don (AKA Donamite), Alex (AKA Lex), Jeremy (AKA Papa J-Flex), David (AKA Boomer), Dennis (AKA Sprout), Andrew (AKA Chief), Jeremiah (AKA The Badger), Michelle (AKA Asskickin), Jamie (AKA Lame Sweet), Kiki (AKA Milk Monster), Pete (AKA Wretched Kids), Rose (AKA Thorns) and Rachel (AKA #25). A couple more players slipped in there, but they weren’t written down nor did they get nicknames. Don’t worry, you still exist.

After recruiting the judges (Jessica, Mariela, Faye and Travis) the rules were explained. Instead of the fun parking lot rules that 4SEB usually has, tournament rules were put into effect because … well, it was a tournament.

The Rules:

If the ball bounces in your square (or hits you) you must physically put it in someone else’s square. Outside lines are in, inside lines are out. You can’t get out on a serve. No double taps. No slams above the head. You can play the ball off of any part of your body. You can play off the wall. If someone hits a ball that bounces in your square before you, interference is called and the round is done over. Conflicts are solved with a duel (two square). A Square can’t call any silly rules, the only rule A Square can call is the Commie rule (everyone has to hit the ball once before anyone can get out, serve does not count as a hit). When you get out, give the line hi-fives. Game play ends when the time is up.


Players line up in order of registration. Every time a player takes a square (entering into D square, moving up to C square etc) they are awarded a quarter point. Upon reaching A Square that player has a total of 4 quarter points or (do the math) 1 point. A player gets a point for every serve that they make. The two scores are added up to get the total points at the end of the round.

Game play is divided into two rounds. The first round lasts 1 hour. After the first hour, all the points are added up and then the 12 players with the highest scores advance to the next round. Round 2 is 30 minutes and player order is assigned randomly. It is scored the same way as round 1 with the additional category of ‘Style.’ Style points are awarded anytime a player makes the judges or the crowd go ‘Woooooo!’ or ‘Oohhhh!’

Okay, so that may sound complicated. It may sound kinda hard to process. It was. Not gonna lie, there were a bunch of bugs in the system (judges couldn’t see, people were confused, not everyone knew what a Communist was etc). We did the best we could and knowing that it was our first tournament, our first time trying to score a game that is faster than NasCar, we did pretty well. I think. This is really preparing us for the next time we do a tournament when we can get things set and get going right away. Here is what the game looked like!

The rounds were brilliant, the competition was fierce and the whole thing was hella fun! At the end of round 1 12 players advanced to the finals. They were Shaolin B-Boy, Wykid Ballz, Sprout, R2D2, Tinker, The Uriah, Professor McPartytime, Jordanger, Papa J-Flex, Chief, #25 and a mystery player (ie unregistered). The next 30 minutes were off the chains. We ditched the paper scoring system and opted for a computerized scoring program that was written by Adam while the first round was still going. Repeat: ADAM WROTE A PROGRAM TO SCORE OUR 4 SQUARE TOURNAMENT IN UNDER AN HOUR. That’s fucking cool. Thank you.

In the end, only one player could be champion, but we’re gonna run down the top ten.

10. Wykid Ballz 9. Jordanger 8. Chief 7. Professor McPartytime 6. Sprout 5. Mysterious Player 4. Papa J-Flex 3. The Uriah 2. Tinker

and the winner is….

1. Shaolin B-Boy!

Congratulations Sam, you are a sports superstar in your own right! Now get out there and defend your title!

Thanks so much for taking the time to read this recap. It’s long, but it’s worth it. Join 4 Square of the East Bay every Thursday night in the Rockridge BART Station parking lot for more games and check out for more information on how you can support their good work. Be well wonderful people!


One Response to “Pancakes & a 4 Square Tournament”

  1. […] one of the crowning achievements of 2010 had to be joint pancake breakfast/4 Square Tournament that Strive For ____ and 4SEB put together. We dabbled in keeping score and changed some of the […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: