Sports in your estate: The games we played as young lads
From pretending you were Ronaldo (the real one) to playing tennis with no nets, sports were a pretty huge part of our upbringing.
The street, or the local green, was all the social networking that we needed when we were kids, and once we had a football or tennis ball or anything at all really, we were able to play a game of some description, particularly if we'd just been watching one of the big sporting events of the summer on TV.
Football: There were many rules to playing football up on the green or on the street, from which trees would form the goals, how high the crossbar was and playing on the road even if the street was on a 90 degree bend. Not only that but there was the inevitable local rivalry with the other green down the road. Games would go on for six hours, and would be decided by a single goal after the call of 'next goal wins'. Then everyone went in for dinner. Games of World Cup were also popular, along with Heads and Volleys or Three and In.
Wrestling: While we knew that we weren't supposed to do it, the odd sharpshooter and a quick headlock would be dished out up at the green, in particular after Wrestlemania or the Royal Rumble. If you were organised enough, you had a tag team and singles division and a champion in each category. Titles also needed to be defended 24/7, so if you were unlucky enough to end up at the bottom of a pile on, your championship was gone. We also spent a lot of time working on our finishing move, The Fustigator.
Curbs: One for the urban dwellers this one, and to those who grew up in rural surroundings it might sound a bit grim. That said, a game of curbs was great craic after a long day spent playing football. Over the car was double points, be careful not to go busts, and if you were feeling particularly adventurous, your points could be stolen if you were hit with the ball while trying to get back from the middle. Acceptable scoring systems were 10s and 5s, or 2s and 1s, anything else wasn't part of the official rules. We still think there should be a world championship in this sport. Next stop, Olympics.
Tennis: When Wimbledon rolled around, everyone in the neighbourhood would dust off their old tennis racquet from the attic and find a tennis ball that the dog had chewed on, before heading out on the street for a game of doubles that had 36 people involved. Logistically it was a nightmare, and we were very disappointed to find out that 54000-love-15-36 wasn't an actual score, as many of the numbers didn't exist, and you can't have four teams on the court. This would also eventually evolve into football tennis, which had broadly similar rules, but with a football.
American Football: Inevitably, someone's foreign relative from America would bring back a football of some description, and although we had no idea what the rules were, that was never going to stop us. From basically playing rugby to just punting it as far as we could, we still feel that we had a future in the game, and we could have been the captain of the football team if we had lived in America.
Tip the can: A classic, this game would break out if there were roadworks in your area and you were able to get your hands on a traffic cone. That was the can, and only tipping it could free your trapped brethren from the terrible grasp of being caught. 'Tip the can I free all' was the phrase that we were desperate to hear, but there would also always be a debate as to whether you said 'I free all' or not, and then no one was free, and then an argument broke out. See the wrestling section for further details.
Hurling: Not properly organised by any stretch of the imagination, summer days after the Championship started were spent with a hurl and a tennis ball up at the green until it got dark, just passing the ball between two (maybe three) of us, a great training ground for honing our skills.
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