Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Square Peg

My first attempt to create a new entry on Wikipeadia has been banished, deleted and ridiculed by the book worms so here it is instead.

The game square peg is a Playground Game that originates from Bridgewater School, Berkhamsted and can be traced back to the mid 1980s when it featured in the physical education curriculum or when the fields were to muddy to play on.


  • One ball (this can be any type from a common tennis ball to a football. The smaller the ball the more challenging the game can become.
  • A clearly marked court. Examples include the outer lines of a painted tennis court, a basket ball court or even the centre circle of a football pitch (although this brings the name of the game into question!).

2+ (there is no upper limit in theory)

There is no time limit to a game of square peg. The more players the longer the game will generally last.

Game Objective
The object of the game is to be the last remaining player in the square peg. To become this you will have been successful in eliminating the other players as they fall to one of the following rules:

Elimination Rules

Out! - a player is eliminated if he kicks the ball out of the playing area without it touching any opponent.

Catches! - a player is eliminated if he causes the ball to leave the ground and it is subsequently caught cleanly by an opposing player.

Double Touch! - a player is eliminated if he touches the ball more than once in one passage of play with any part of his body. Players are not permitted from touching the ball with any body part until another player has touched the ball again.

You Could Have Got That! - a player is eliminated if, as judged by the first player eliminated, he was able to stop the ball from leaving the playing area with his feet but was either too slow or too inept to do so.
This rule is usually mired by controversy and subjectivity, but that makes up for much of the fun of the game. The first player eliminated (often an unlucky individual) is handed the opportunity to make and shape the outcome of the game in a fair and reasoned manner. On the playground it is not uncommon for his decisions to be openly ridiculed by other square peggers or by simply those that are bigger than him. The rapid turnover of games actually works to the game's benefit as controversial decisions are often quickly forgotten or passed over as there is only five minutes of lunch break left!

Remaining Rules

  1. The game commences with all the individual players standing in the square peg. Once the game is underway all later comers must wait until a new game commences. They are free to heckle all remaining players.
  2. The game is started by any one player throwing the ball up in the air. A suggested height is between five to six feet from the ground but some proven players might opt for higher.
  3. Any player may now kick the ball, adhering to the elimination rules above.
  4. When the first player is deemed out (as judged by common consensus) he stands on the edge of the playing area and is now the referee for the remainder of the game.
  5. All subsequent eliminated players can join him on the perimeter of the playing area to shout encouragement at the remaining players. However most players choose to ridicule and openly abuse those remaining instead. This is considerd par for the course.
  6. When a player is eliminated, the game restarts when the ball is gathered and again thrown up in the air as stated in rule [2].

The winner is the last man standing; having not broken any of the above rules.


  • Groups of players may choose to act as a team, ganging up on select players if they so wish. Remember though that what goes around comes around.
  • Players will often huddle around closely in an attempt to induce a double touch due to the confines of the playing space and the rapid movement of the ball.
  • Skilled players may from time to time kick the ball hard and fast at an opponent safe in the hope that they will be too unskilled or slow to keep it within the playing area.
  • Players can choose not to get too involved in the game, remaining on the fringes. Many a winner has started off astutely avoiding play until absolutely necessary.
  • It is not uncommon for a player to simply trap or stop the ball with his foot in order to take the sting and pace out of a particular passage of play. And then jog away with a smug grin on their face.
  • The ultra confident have been known to swap the round ball for a rugby ball.

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