Recess Game: Redondo Beach “kickball” War

Text: “Living in Redondo beach, we would play Kickball all the time but it’s not like ‘actual’ kickball where you go base to base – it was like kickball war. There would be a huge field and people would line up like a war, and everyone has a ball and they all drop kick it at each other. I used to picture it like the battles in the American revolution. It was like cannon fighting but they’d call it kickball. You could use any ball, basketball and footballs included, people were playing it every day.”

Context:  “It was a man’s game, the girls would usually play house. Mostly older kids played and there was respect given to the younger kids who could ‘hang’ with them.”

The game was intense and the informant said her participation ended in a concussion from being hit in the head with a basketball.

Analysis: Children’s games are often a way for them to experiment with the adult world. In this game, the kids are exploring the idea of warfare. The informant was reminded of the initial battles of the American Revolution, a style of war the elementary and middle-school kids would have been learning about in their classrooms; two lines opposing each other launching volleys with minimal ability to aim mirrors.

The game also expressed, or possibly played a part in determining some of the social roles between the students as well. Given the intensity of the game, being a consistent part of it signified who someone was, and for a girl or younger student it helped to align them with the toughest boys.