Dear Sean,
Hello my name is Abbi and I am a sister of Gamma Phi Beta sorority at George Mason University. In November, we are having a 4 square tourament on our campus and I was wondering if you could help me haha. Is there any way that you could send me the break down of your tournaments? This is the first time we are having such an event, and everyone is excited, but confused as to how it will actually run. thanks so much for your time! Have a great day! - Abbi, 10/3/08

Hi Abbi, thanks for the note. I didn't know four square was such a hit with college Greeks but now that I think about it, it totally makes sense. Greeks invented geometry. I mean, Herodotis said that Thales was the first greek to "get" geometry. Pythagoras and Plato were Greek, and we know they were obsessed with right angles and even numbers. So Gamma Phi Beta is clearly next in a long line of Greek-ish mathematical ancestry (but you can't take credit for algebra, that was an Arabic triumph).

So if you want to run a four square tournament, here are some things you need to consider. First, what is the ultimate goal of the tourney? Is this the kind of event where its just fun to play, or do you plan on crowning champions?

If you are just running an event for people to enjoy themselves playing four square then its really pretty easy. You need a few of your Amazons on the court to keep the ball moving, like cheerleaders that get people pumped to join the game. If you need some suggestions for rules, look over ours.

If you do intend to set laurel wreaths on the heads of your champions, you need to work out a mechanism of identifying the best players. There are literally tons of ways of doing this and I can give you some advice on how we do it.

At the bottom or our Scores page, we lay out our rules of scoring. Ours is intensive and designed to level the playing field for our league. The idea is that we tally players scores based on the number of times they serve the ball from the top square. This says that they managed to climb to the top of the court and stay there for so many turns. We further complicate this by dividing the total number of serves by the total number of times that player enters the court, this way we have an average rather than a lump sum so it matters very little if a person has played 100 or 500 times.

The effort we spend keeping score is no less than Herculean. It's 40 hours of people time per season (20 games, 2 hours each, 2 scorekeepers each) to tally up 35 players. It's also a lot of math, but as we discussed, mathematics is no match for your sorority. It's up to you if you want to do it this way.

If you want a simpler method, try a double or triple elimination tourney. I gave some other folks advice on this in another post, they were running a tournament for school children and wanted a simple scoring mechanism.

So listen, good luck with your four square tournament. If you decide to do it like the ancient Greeks (naked and covered in olive oil) then please don't hesitate to forward some of the photos along to us.