Earthday! (recycle your beer cans)

Thursday was Earthday… how did you help your planet? 4SEB encouraged all of its participants to recycle. Or rather, we were forced to.

The games were extremely chill for a warm day in the Bay Area. The energy was relaxed as players swatted the ball back and forth, reminiscent of moving a ball of chi around between four people. Maybe it was heighten awareness about the fragile state of our world or maybe it was a residual from April 20th, but we were moving sort of slowly. More folks ambled up and by around 10 we had enough people to really get things kicked off. Rules popped out (the commie rule, countries of the world, super heroes, ultimate concentration, tournament rules and the on-deck rule) and the players played. Big props to everyone who showed up in the parking lot and much love to those who brought new people. Returning ballers were Uriah (thanks for holding it down even with the sniffles), Travis, Angie, Liz, Robert, Sam, Paul, Rachel, Adam, Jon, Mike, Mike, Vi and Gram. New faces were Conner, JT, Barbara, Josh, Pasquale and Dierdre. Hope you weren’t scared away.

As the night meandered towards midnight, the hustle kinda picked up. Everyone seemed to be having a good time and were equally as happy conversating in line as playing the game. Robert commented “What is this, some sort of post-tournament malaise?” Maybe … Adam didn’t agree so he called the 4 Square challenge and smashed all opponents. RRAAHH!

The evening ended in a strange way. First off, our 4 Square games take place in a repurposed public space, a space that isn’t being highly used during the hours that we roll through. That being said, it’s not our space and sometimes stuff that you do in your space isn’t appreciated when you do it in a space that isn’t. Since the beginning of the games, people have been known to bring bottles, cans and boxes of beer to enjoy. Alcohol has never been a problem because 4SEB does not tolerate obnoxious drunkenness (it’s just not cool and it’s totally counter-productive), but it’s really hard to stop people from sipping on a cool one between rounds to shake off crushing defeat. Usually, people are really smart about consumption at the games, but, to go along with the general feeling of the night, Thursday we just got lazy. Instead of stashing the cached cans, they dotted the parking spaces like little islands that read ‘Mickey’s’ and ‘The Champagne of Beers.’ No one knew that this would attract the attention of a most deadly authority: the BART Police.

Around 11:20, 4SEB got rolled up on by a squad car. After a quick conversation with 5iveOh, (in which it was revealed that this particular BART officer knew nothing about our 4 Square game or the Knights who’ve been in the lot on Thursdays for over 10 years) we were asked to dump the open containers and skedaddle. We don’t think that he wanted to run through the paperwork of writing us up and he looked like more of a Heinekien man than a Miller Highlife kind of guy so he didn’t take the beer. Okay BART Po, we get the message. Lesson learned. We’ll keep it in brown bags next time.

In defense of 4 Square of the East Bay, we always clean up our mess after we leave. Even with broken glass and food garbage, we always pick up the scraps and try to recycle what we can. It’s really important to us that we respect the space in order to keep our games and good times going. We know what happened to the Rittenhouse Four Square ballers in Philadelphia and we don’t want it to happen to us, even if it means capitulating and closing out early this week. But go ask anyone who has been to the parking lot and see what they think is more important to the people there, drinking or 4 Square. Hint: it’s 4 SQUARE! This game offers a different outlet for social interaction than a bar or a club and we don’t think that anyone wants to screw that up by getting super blitzed and causing drama. Nor would we want that. Like Slick Rick say’s “Lodidodi, we like to [play 4 Square]/we don’t cause trouble, we don’t bother nobody.” Or at least that’s how we hear the song.

In conclusion, the game will be on next week. We’ll be more cautious, conscious and considerate. And we’ll continue to have a great time. We just have to raise the funds to bail these players out of jail. Take ’em away officer!

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