Stickball Represented Everything Great About Our Childhood Outdoors

Stickball meant easy fun for many kids in the city
Stickball meant easy fun for many kids in the city

Too few kids today understand and enjoy the connective power of a childhood spent outdoors. All the world’s potential for adventures existed beyond the walls of our homes. And childhood is the perfect time to go out and experience it all, with wonder in every eye. No sport quite embodies everything great about a childhood spent outside better than stickball.

Overall, stickball had everything that young kids need to develop into well-rounded people. The sport got them working together, staying active, getting out and about, and striving for victory. With its disappearance, we see some of those values needed a new source. But one activity had it all as an easy method of achievement that made childhood great.


Stickball existed to make legends out of anyone

Stickball holds a cherished place in many people's memories across the years
Stickball holds a cherished place in many people’s memories across the years / US Air Forces Central Command

As a sport, stickball is first and foremost associated with the streets. Pavement acts as this activity’s field, its court. Improvisation did not stop with the location, though. In fact, everything behind stickball seems designed to make something out of anything – and anyone. Professional athletes can spend hundreds upon thousands for hockey sticks, football helmets, ice skates. Those looking to get involved in stickball needed only a broom and a ball capable of bouncing a lot.

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Don’t have a towering football goal or soccer net? That’s fine. Stickball uses any recognizable landmark as a base. Even manhole covers can be part of the game. It’s lacrosse without so much of the polish, but with total accessibility for every neighborhood kid wanting to have fun and be a neighborhood champion and hero.

Finally, everyone can connect and develop

Anyone could easily play stickball, which is derived from lacrosse, in turn derived from a game among America's indigenous
Anyone could easily play stickball, which is derived from lacrosse, in turn, derived from a game among America’s indigenous / Flickr

During its most popular years until around the 1980s, stickball was very beloved, particularly in Northeastern America. The cities, specifically, such as Philadelphia and New York City, made this an unofficially official regional sport. There, kids could enjoy childhood as it was meant to be had.


Stickball encouraged them to go outside where they could use all their energy in the open air. They could collaborate with others to play an effective round, and anyone could have their chance in the spotlight. Kids developed strength physically, mentally, and communicatively. They even could vent out small acts of rebellion. Sports History Weekly writes that building managers and officers confiscated balls and sticks because of complaints about broken windows. For the most part, though, everyone just wanted to have fun. Did you play stickball or any other sports with your neighborhood?

What do you think?

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