Children’s Games: Paper Football

Main Piece:

The following was transcribed from an interview between the informant and the interviewer.

“We used to play this football game when I was a kid. So, we took a piece of paper, and we folded it up to where it was like this triangular football. And we played it on a table and the table was the field. And you would hit the piece of paper, and I think you had four times, just like four downs in a football game. And if because it’s triangular, if one edge of the little football, was hanging over the table, that was a score.

And if you didn’t get it to hang over, you could kick a field goal. And what the other person would do is they would make like a goal out of their hands. They would take their two thumbs and put ‘em together and then hold their hands up and that would be the goal post. So, you put your two thumbs together to make the goal post and then you would like prop the little piece of triangular paper up, and then take your finger and like thump it through. And depending on where you were on the table it would be a long field goal or a short field goal. So you would do that and if it goes in between the goal, then you would get three points.”


I collected this piece of folklore in an over-the-phone interview. The informant, my uncle, is an African American who grew up in Cleveland, Ohio. He used to play this game all throughout his childhood, and he was taught this game by his friends.

My Thoughts:

This game is meant to be a really cheap version of the popular American game. Not only is it cheap, but it also requires no physical skill, strength, or agility in the same way that actual football does. So, this game is an easily accessible game for people of all economic backgrounds and various physical abilities to play. Since all it requires is a piece of paper, at least two people, and a table, this game was and is an easy way to pass time without a financial or physical barriers.