2000s, 90s, Games
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Fond Memories of Schoolyard Activities: Red Ass


Probably my fondest memories of public school involved a schoolyard game called “red ass” (or red butt). All that was needed was a flat wall, a tennis ball, and willing competitors.

The object of the game was simply to not fumble the tennis ball in any way. The ball would be thrown at the wall and if it came to you, you had to catch it. If you fumbled the ball or it touched you in any way and you could not hold on to it, you had to run to the wall and get there before another player could retrieve the ball and throw it at the wall. If you did not make the wall before the ball, you would receive a letter beginning with “R” and working through the letters of “Red Ass” until the second “S.” If you threw the ball and another player caught it before it reached the wall, you would also receive a letter.

Once a player sucked badly enough to spell out the word in its entirety, they would be subject to a potential red ass. They would have to stand up against the wall with their posterior facing outward. In succession, every player from the game would take turns hurling the tennis ball as hard as they could at the losers ass in an attempt to make it – you guessed it – red. I did not like losing. I often acted as a referee, determining whether a person made it to the wall before the ball. I also often pissed my friend Ben off because I would routinely call him ‘out’ when he clearly safely made it to the wall before the ball. He still mentions it with disgust to this day. Good times.

Upon reflection I am very surprised we were able to get away with playing this game for 4 years. It seems rather violent for public school students to take part in an activity that yields such possible pain and injury. On that note, enjoy this picture of a true red ass.

redass 2

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