For almost ten years, we operated a four square league for adults in the Boston area. We played thousands of rounds of four square in the YWCA and YMCA gymnasiums in Central Square, Cambridge, MA. We still see our league members in the area and they still hold fond memories of their experience with our group. Presented here on this page is a little history of our now shuttered league and our members final scores - with hopes this can serve as a model for any other group out there wishing to start their own league.
Brief League History
Because you guys always ask, here is the quick story. Sean Effel and Dana Ostberg founded Squarefour in the fall of 2003. Sean and Dana were old camp buddies from their summers at the Becket Chimney Corners YMCA in Becket, MA. Both came from a convoluted background of middle school and summer camp four square play and found Boston in great deficit of alternative sporting events. They committed to band together to bring the crazy. As mentioned on NPR's Only A Game broadcast, the two dreamed up the league idea while illegally skinny dipping in a private pond somewhere north of Boston.
Squarefour, the nation's first and finest four square league, offered competitive four square game seasons for players of all ages in the Boston, MA, and Burlington, VT, areas from 2003 to 2012. Approximately 10 2-hour games were held each season, including a series of warm-up and skill building workshops. The typical cost for each season was based on the rental rate of the space, but usually ran about $40-$50 dollars per person. Membership was as high as 45 and as low as 20 over the years.
Why did we do this?
Running a community oriented sports league was very rewarding and tons of tun. We enjoyed being the hub of so much activity and interest and thrived on being the facilitators of adult play. The league offered two really important things for adults, especially in the Boston area. It's really hard to play organized sports in the winter. This league was a great sporting environment that rode the line between athletic and social. Each of our participants got involved because they wanted the activity, or they wanted to meet interesting people, or a combination of both. Boston is a difficult place to find these things.
Squarefour aimed to create great competitive and social spaces for folks of all ages to enjoy causal sporting activities. Members approached this league from all different ages and ability, mostly concentrated in the late twenty and early thirty somethings. At any given time, Squarefour totalled 25-40 members. Sadly the league dwindled in numbers and was shuttered in 2012 due to low enrollment. Boston four square community members continue to independently attend and compete in the Four Square World Championships in Bridgton, ME, each year.
League Scoring Example
The following chart shows a typical season of league scoring for members. Taking turns throughout the season, members monitored and marked up which players entered and served from each court. Tallies were compiled into an average per game, essentially dividing the total number of times a player serves the ball from four square by the total number of times that player begins a new round by stepping into one square. These scores reflect the averages of the Ent (Entrances into one square) and Srv (Serves from four square) of each player. These numbers are a tiny sample of a whole season, but you can see more complete set historical league stats and rankings from 2004-2008 in our archives.
|Name||Srv||Game 7||Game 8||Game 9||Avg||Adj||C|
Stats from individual games are tracked for the whole season, the two lowest scores in each category thrown out to reflect only the best play. This also allows for league members to miss up to two games and still maintain a competitive edge during the season. Awards are given to each season to players who score the highest in average, clobber points, consistency of play, and most improved scores for the season. Additional prizes are awarded to teams.
- Ent: This is the total number of times a player has entered the court. This is used as a base for counting the number of times a player has played the game.
- Srv: This is the total number of times a player has been in four square and served the ball.
- Avg: The cumulative ratio of the number of Srv to the number of Ent, how many times in four square divided by the number of games played.
- Adjust: This is a second Avg score with the two lowest game scores dropped. We drop the two lowest game scores so that members can miss up to two games without losing a competitive edge. This is the number which will determine the high scores of the league.
- Clb: Clobber points! Similar to a judges merit score. A special point added at the judges discretion for ultimately 'owning' another player on the court through great play, demonstration of skill, strategery, or a carefully timed display of brute force.
What does "rejuvenile" mean to us?
Rejuvenile is a term dreamed up by some author that suggested adults are trying to escape the throes of a post 9/11 American society by playing childhood playground games. The term was threatening to catch on, but a lot of the players in our league thought it was bogus. Many of us have been playing four square since we were kids. Ultimate frizbee and kickball are all well established sporting institutions. These activities have been going on for years but only now something changed that put the word out better...
What we believe we saw was the capacity of the social web to help niche ideas like our four square league to organize. The generations of adults who saw the birth of the internet have been using online social applications to do so many things like organizing parties, registering for weddings, etc, its only logical that they may use them to organize their play times as well. And once its on the web, its real and big like never before, and everyone could finally see what these communities were all about.
We've been published before!
And lastly, we wouldn't have a solid press section if we didn't point to the tons of places that have already given Squarefour some media love.
Here are a number of other archived press details from when our league was hot:
|ESPN World Champs Coverage||1.28 MB|
|NPR's Only A Game||8.86 MB|
|The Boston Globe||125.06 KB|
|The Boston Phoenix||141.5 KB|
|The Sun Journal||276.75 KB|
|Philadelphia Weekly Online||444.16 KB|
|Northeaster News||189.1 KB|
|The Berkshire Eagle||333.93 KB|
|The Berkshire School||125.22 KB|
|Playground Magazine||625.78 KB|
|Amazing Postcard||1.15 MB|
|Press photo by Jeff Galusha||317.68 KB|
|Press photo by Jeff Galusha||361.87 KB|
|Press photo by Jeff Galusha||249.84 KB|
|Press photo by Jeff Galusha||299.15 KB|