In the ghetto, that esprit of carefree leisure is palpable in just about everything you do. You see it in the corner bodega, where day-after-day the old men relax so hard they challenge the very definition of the word. You see it in the lazy strays that loaf around and couldn't be bothered with the institutionalized oppression that comes with being adopted. You see it in the litter on the street that shrugs off its inability to make it to a trash receptacle. In the ghetto, standards are ephemeral, and your due diligence is not welcome. Ironically, the only time you might find a moment of corporate cutthroat tension is during recreational activities. Somehow, the games, competition, and "just having fun" command an emotional investment that galvanizes, cajoles, and ultimately makes most participants realize it truly isn't a game anymore.
Planning a Trip - The recreational games you play, and how you play them, are most affected by your age. There are three primary classifications:
Young Whipper-Snappers - The peak of passion, conviction, and creative resourcefulness. Young whipper-snappers make games out of everything because games are all they know, and their fertile imaginations can mold any environment into the playing field of their dreams. Wanna play baseball, but no bases? Home is the tree, first base is the parked car, second base is that pile of shit, and third base is kicking Quinones (the block punk) in the nuts. Use your bookbag for a bat, and rolled up pieces of paper for balls. Ready, BREAK! Any game. Any time. Any rules.
Crazy People - As you enter the teenage and young adult years, there is a loss of organizational focus, so games don't have quite the same infrastructure as they used to. You're also more self-conscious, so the pile of shit couldn't possibly be second base, it's a pile of shit. All games tend to orbit around either drugs, alcohol, or interaction with the opposite sex. So as a whipper-snapper a game of hide-and-go-seek could be an all day affair, complete with elaborate secret hideaways, someone counting down from 1000, and the police eventually needing to be contacted. But at the "Crazy People" age, a guy asks a girl if he wants to play, then he might count to three before he grabs her titties. Game Over.
Modern Maturity - At a certain age, if you're in the ghetto, you're just visiting, and all games are evasive-related (i.e. Litter/Shit Hopscotch), or you're stuck and all games carry life importance (i.e. 100-meter Gypsy Cab Dash). Act accordingly.
Public Resources -
The Pool - Public pools in the ghetto are filled with more drama and craziness than your average reality show. The experience is rife with obstacles and pitfalls, such as flimsy lockers with "Please Steal The Contents of this Locker" signs on them, and the ever-present fluid from Cooties Creek streamed all over the shower and locker-room floor. On a hot day, the reward is great — a 2x2-square-foot of space in a big warm pool of chlorinated water
and urine. Watch out for the floating condoms and cigarettes. Supplies: Antimicrobial swimsuit with UrineGuard+, Ass-Defenders (to protect against towel snappers), Total Enclosure Stainless Steel Athletic Feet Protectors, clenched fists (for inflicting damage on those who intrude on your personal space.
The Basketball Court - Basketball courts are pretty much the same everywhere, though in the ghetto it does sometime seem as if the actual apparatus came used, from some court occupied by giants who can jump on top of the rim and bend metal backboards. Supplies: Nets, pliers (for straightening out hoop), skills (many courts require a minimum standard ability level), sneakers, at least one black person. If you're of age, the ball is optional; you can always steal one from some whipper-snappers milling about.
The Park - Parks in the ghetto are often less park and more "block with no buildings on it," but they're still nice. They have benches where you can sit and look at the weeds growing in the cracks of the cement. Beautiful. Supplies: Bring grass (for the ground), leaves (for the trees), and water (for the water fountains).
The Handball Court - The word "court" here is used very loosely, as really all you need is a wall. Supplies: Wall, Insta-Callous hand toughening cr me, at least one Hispanic person (he'll have a ball).
Water Hydrants - Possibly the most fun activity to be played in the ghetto. The basic objective is to wet those who wish to remain dry, and ignore those who wish to be wet. Repeat. Bonus points for cars just out the car wash or with open windows. Supplies: Hydrant, hollowed-out can, people who don't want to be wet.
Ghetto Olympics - While the games played using public resources are fairly universal, there are some that are particularly unique to the ghetto:
• Long Turnstile Jump - Hopping the turnstile in the train station; perfect for avoiding MTA fares.
• The 100-Meter Gypsy Cab Dash - Getting out the cab and sprinting; perfect for avoiding cab fares.
• The Marathon Corner Stand - Holding down your block, all weather, 24 hours; perfect for drumming up revenue streams for that new mom & pop drug enterprise.
• Litter/Shit Hopscotch - This is how you avoid stepping in shit or on chicken bones.
• The Mr. Softee Relay Chase - The oft-documented daily chase of the ice cream man in the summer.
• X-Treme Backseat Riding - Only played by "Crazy People," this constitutes riding/hanging on the backs of buses, or rollerbladers/skaters holding on to taxis, cars, etc. ... paradoxically, these people have no actual destination.
General Tips - There are three primary "keeping it real" games played in the ghetto.
Snapping - well known tradition of playing the dozens, yo mama jokes, etc.
Dice games - also well known tradition of playing cee-lo, and other dice games
Slap-Boxing - Less well-known, and more athletically inclined, tradition of boxing with open hands and no gloves. Not for block punks like Quinones.
• Did you know Hispanics lobbied to keep Berlin Wall in an effort to make it the new Hispanic Handball Heaven?
Ghetto Terror Alert - Hate The Player. Hate The Game. Terror is a constant during recreational activities.
Slang - Slang is infinite and abundant during recreational activities, but it flies so fast and furious you can usually just play along and come up with your own and not get noticed. Good luck!