Suicide Tennis - my recollection of how the game was played. If anyone can remember different variation or other rules please let me know.
As I can recall, it involved around ten kids sometimes more.
An order was established in which a tennis ball was thrown against a section of the tall wall in the playground by the participants of the game.
The thrown had to hit the correct section of the wall, and the next thrower had to retrieve the ball and throw the ball back at the wall from where it was recovered.
If the next player either caught the ball directly off the wall or "fumbled", the recovery of the ball he had to stand in front of the wall. (This was known as being "On the Wall"???) Also, if the thrower missed the wall he had to stand On the Wall.
At the end of the game, the last one to be throwing, i.e. not On the Wall won the game.
This sounds simple enough, but it got complicated and painful when:
- How a fumbled was judged. Normally the collective shout of "fumble" would be enough, but if there was any doubt it was normally resolved by how hard the "fumbler" was. If he were a Kevin Malone or a Terry Siggins (tough lads and good fighters) as opposed to an Adrian Westlake or Tim Allman (not so tough and not good fighters), they would be much more likely to be given the benefit of any doubt
- If you were On the Wall you were allowed to intercept a throw at the wall and throw it as far away as possible thus making it impossible for the next thrower to hit the wall. Sometimes the ball was thrown over the wall, across the gardens and landed near the smokers at the far end of the playground. Whether this was done or not depended on how tough the next thrower was. (See above).
- If you retrieved the previous throw quite close to the wall and there were already people On the Wall, this meant a free throw at the boys On the Wall. I think this where the name of the game was derived from. This strategy however was quite risky as it raised the possibility of a fumble or the ball going past you. It was also risky as you had a free throw at either tough lad with the possibility of post game retribution.
- If the ball was caught by the boys On the Wall the thrower joined them.
- The more boys On the Wall generally meant that the ball had to be thrown higher risking the possibility of being caught and having to go On the Wall.
- Sometimes a "no blazers" rule would be invoked. This meant that blazers could not be used as shields when the ball was thrown from a short distance at boys who where on the wall.
(Tim Allman 75-80)
Was Suicide Tennis a later version of Murder Ball?
(Robert Sayer 63-70)