Playground State of Mind

It’s July and it’s getting HOT in Oakland… Our town is currently debating whether to celebrate the birth of our country or prepare for social action with the looming outcome of the Johannes Mehserle trial. While the times might be trying and the sun might be shining, 4 Square of the East Bay still knows how to bring people together to play. It’s always amazing when folks of all different walks of life can gather, be competitive and still have fun. This week 4SEB had the most young players it has ever hosted. Most of these kids got hip to the square at Oaklavía and decided to show up with their parents to throw down on Thursday. As a result, there was a lot of yelling, screaming, dancing and shit talk. Oh man, to be young and have a summer vacation… wait a second, that’s just like any other Thursday night in the parking lot.

Roll call: Robert, Lee, Jordan, Chris, Reggie, Lucas, Sam, Diamond, Hana, Jazz, Cherokee, Cameron, Liz, Angie, Frank, Patrick, Arianna, Michelle, Jessica, Mike, Stephanie, Paul, Rachel, Mike, Gabby, Tori, Hannah, Phoebe, Vi, Sandy, Mickey and Alec. If you weren’t there, you were missed… What wasn’t missing was the crazy rules! Commie rule was totally in fashion, as was ‘Countries of the world.’ There was a long run of ‘Inside lines are out’ and a couple rounds of  ‘Compliment Square.’ As the night was warm and the energy was young, ‘Dance Square’ was almost a must and everyone got their groove on. Big thanks to Gabby, Tori and Michelle for rolling through with snacks and drinks to share. Yum!

The kids held it down for about 2 and a half hours before taking off around 11:30. The remaining adults promptly started swearing, smoking, spitting, swigging and scratching. Players also began to call an unprecedented number of 4 Square challenges fighting to win a spot on the blog. At one moment, each player that entered the square had a challenge going to the point where everyone in the line had called one. But in the 4 Square Challenge, only the strong survive. Congratulations Sam and Lee, you are strong!

Soon after the challenges had subsided, midnight rolled around and elimination came to the square. It was hard fought (as always) and the final match saw Lee match up against Michelle. It was a brilliant round, but Lee’s well placed hits left Michelle wishing she had longer arms with which to return the ball. You’re a winner, Lee, let the world see your face…

Thus wrapped up another exciting Thursday night in the Rockridge BART Parking lot. Remember, 4SEB does this all the time so do us a favor and bring your friends! Also, be SAFE and AWARE this weekend and in the future. While feelings about the Mehserle trial and the issues that the death of Oscar Grant have brought up have stimulated passion, conversation and action, no one who lives in Oakland wants to see Oakland tear itself apart. Fear mongering and destruction are not productive and change will not come by reinforcing stereotypes. Let’s be peaceful and organize for a better world for our children. We’ll leave you with a PSA produced by Youth Uprising featuring voices of our community. Much love, East Bay, be smart.


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