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Thread: Back Yard Sports

  1. #1
    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    Back Yard Sports

    Living in the Michigan cold has one advantage that is not often found elsewhere, water freezes outside. So I have decided to build and back yard hockey rink for my son next year. It will not be anything massive but just something small enough that he can use to work on skating and stick work. I found a very cool website that shows no limits on how professional these things can get. Kind of makes me wonder what the zoning dept. says about them.

    A guy in my hometown turned a section of his yard into mini-hockey rink in the winter and batting cage in the summer. I have seen other people put in putting greens, soccer goals, and of course swimming lap pools. However, I think the strangest (and possibly most dangerous) was some former co-workers of mine that built a freestyle ski jump in their back yard. The starting launch pad was on the roof of the back porch.

    Did you ever have any back yard sports set up when you were going up? What about for your kids?
    "A long habit of not thinking a thing wrong, gives it a superficial appearance of being right, and raises at first a formidable outcry in defense of custom. Time makes more converts than reason." - Thomas Paine Common Sense.

  2. #2
    Cyburbian WSU MUP Student's avatar
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    We used to play hockey on our pond in the winter all the time. The first year after we dug the pond was great because it had only filled up partially with water and the sides are relatively steep so they worked as a natural barrier against the wind. My nephews still play on the pond in the winter when they visit my parents.


    In my area, there are quite a few folks who put in backyard rinks in the winter, as well as some in the front yards. There are some pretty strict zoning ordinances in these communities, including regarding basketball nets, patios, exterior lighting, BBQs, etc. so I wouldn't be surprised if the communities just look the other way regarding the ice rinks since they cannot be too permanent anyway. There is one house a couple blocks away that puts in a full size rink each winter with lights on each, regulation height boards, and what looks like an apparatus to keep it frozen all winter long. All that's missing is a zamboni machine. They do seem to allow all the kids in the neighborhood to play on it though and things look to be pretty organized. I've never heard any complaints from the neighbors.
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  3. #3
    Cyburbian Brocktoon's avatar
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    We played football and soccer in the backyard, basketball on the drive way and baseball in the cul-de-sac as kids.

    In college we played slosh-wiffleball in the courtyard of the fraternity house. In the summer time games would start at 10pm or so when it was cool enough to be outdoors.
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  4. #4
    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    Growing up, our neighbor turned his back yard into an ice rink for several years. The biggest problem I found was that as ice surfaces go it left much to be desired, being somewhat 'bumpy'. Maybe if they'd a brought in a Zamboni occasionally....

    We had too many trees in our yard to make a decent ball diamond or football field but used to set up the badminton net each summer and left it up for a few weeks at a time. My brother has dedicated his back yard for a trampoline and a volleyball court.

    At my current abode I have several raised bed vegetable gardens and blueberry bushes and a stupid light-blocking maple tree (that Mrs. Maister won't let me cut down because she wants Junior to use it for a tree house) in our back yard. The thought of using the back yard as a playground for (un)organized neighborhood sports and all the collateral damage that goes with it makes me more than a little skittish

  5. #5
    Cyburbian wahday's avatar
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    I had friends that did the backyard ice rink thing (in PA). In fact, just last week an old friend posted on FB pics of his 8 year old birthday and there we all were skating around in his backyard. Pretty cool, though my parents thought the idea insane. "It will ruin the grass!" my father said. He was from Oklahoma so what did he know...

    We had a large yard growing up - about 3/4 acre. We played a lot of soccer and various short-sided soccer variants (even built mini goals). Some football, too, but I was never as into that sport.

    As a boy with my best friend three houses away, we also played a lot of nighttime hide and seek type games, usually with some sort of military-themed angle. We also had a huge leaf pile in the back and we once did hiogh jumping there or would make little villages out of sticks and leaves and such and maybe place army men in there. And then destroy it (possibly with controlled fire...). I was a boy, afterall.

    At the neighbor friend's house, there were two other brothers also close to my age and so we used to play all kinds of invented games inside and out. "Pap" was a full-contact form of tag using a nerf football. To "tag" someone, you had to hit (or "pap") them with the ball by throwing it. But the others could also team up and thwart you. It was played on a hilly yard with lots of bushes and vegetation. Great fun.

    Inside, our greatest invention was "kill ball." This friend had a great rec room and kill ball was played entirely on the knees using a tennis ball. The only rules were that you couldn't hold the ball and to score you had to get it in a little goal at either end of the room. This was a full-contact sport.
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  6. #6
    Cyburbian imaplanner's avatar
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    Some good friends of mine recently built a sand volleyball court in the backyard. They have kids- but really they built it for themselves.
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  7. #7
    Cyburbian dandy_warhol's avatar
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    Our backyard is a mud wrestling pit aka where the dogs play.

  8. #8
    moderator in moderation Suburb Repairman's avatar
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    I've always loved yard games, but in the south I don't have to deal with constructing ice rinks. We'd play soccer across the front yards of our house and the two neighbors (with permission). I've also played lawn darts (I'm trying to find the real vintage ones, but that's pretty hard these days) and a number of other "field games" in the backyard. Backyard wiffleball is actually pretty fun as an adult.

    We just finished installing a swimming pool in the backyard, so I'm pretty taken care of now as far as backyard fun. If I need space for improvised sports, I'm only 3 blocks from a large park with PLENTY of space. We don't have kids yet, but we selected this location for precisely this reason--lots of opportunity for outdoor play like we had growing up.

    "Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."

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  9. #9
    Cyburbian WSU MUP Student's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by wahday View post
    As a boy with my best friend three houses away, we also played a lot of nighttime hide and seek type games, usually with some sort of military-themed angle...
    We had about 60 acres growing up, with much of it slightly wooded and un-fenced and remember a game of combined capture-the-flag/flashlight tag being one of my favorite summertime activities. It was usually me, maybe my sister, and then anywhere from 5 to 15 other kids from the neighborhood (if you can call any rural area a neighborhood). The only rules were that you had to stay out of the barns, couldn't go past any of the fences, couldn't go into my mom's garden, and after a certain time period you had to come out when a particular light was turned on and your name was called. We would make those games last for what seemed like hours
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  10. #10
    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    A friend of mine who is a baseball junkie is always in the back yard playing wiffle ball with is kids. Well, one day his wife pointed out that he is going to wreck the grass. He looked up, smiled, and said "That's ok, we are not raising grass, we are raising boys." From that point on, I don't care what my lawn looks like as long as my son is running around on it and learning something in the process. (Like the rules to soccer, football, or baseball)

    Surprisingly, I have been told from several people that back yard ice rinks don't wreck the grass. Looks like I will find out next year.
    Last edited by michaelskis; 04 Jan 2012 at 2:03 PM.
    "A long habit of not thinking a thing wrong, gives it a superficial appearance of being right, and raises at first a formidable outcry in defense of custom. Time makes more converts than reason." - Thomas Paine Common Sense.

  11. #11
    One of the subdivisions I grew up had a vacant lot, so that's were we played football and baseball. Pretty much everyone had a basketball hoop-it was Indiana after all. We played street tennis and street hockey. There was a farmer's pond that would freeze over nearby, so we played regular hockey on that.
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  12. #12
    Cyburbian illinoisplanner's avatar
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    Backyard sports was never really big with my family. It was always more front-yard, driveway, and street sports. At the house I lived in up until age 9, the backyard was very small and odd-shaped. It was used more for card games on the deck, playing in the fort, and playing on the swingset we had back there. Otherwise, there wasn't really a lot of room for too much else. Our front yard was really big though, so we played a lot of football and some soccer on it. Football on the street was also popular, as was basketball in the driveway, baseball in the cul-de-sac, and hockey on the street.

    At the house I moved to after age 9, the backyard was a little bigger, but had a more pronounced slope. We occassionally used the backyard to play catch though, and we would also set up a volleyball net back there at big parties. Otherwise, the backyard was primarily for playing with the dogs. Again, the front yard, driveway, and street were the focal points for sports of all kinds.
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  13. #13
    Cyburbian Tom R's avatar
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    growing up we used to play PG ball. We would take the Practice Golf balls wrap electrical tape around them in a cross and get a broom stick. Sometimes we would run bases or just award bases by how far the ball was hit without being caught. We started slow pitch but it got too ease so we went to fast pitch. Some guys had fast balls and curves. I had a sinker and an occasionally functional knuckler. Great fun for small areas and few participants.
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    Cyburbian mgk920's avatar
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    (Bumping thread)

    Backyard hockey rinks appear to be gaining in popularity - the new owners of Richard Nixon's house (when he was V.P.) in northwest Washington, DC have built a hockey rink in its backyard.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/...fd5_story.html

    Interesting.

    Mike

  15. #15
    Cyburbian ColoGI's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by mgk920 View post
    (Bumping thread)

    Backyard hockey rinks appear to be gaining in popularity - the new owners of Richard Nixon's house (when he was V.P.) in northwest Washington, DC have built a hockey rink in its backyard.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/...fd5_story.html

    Interesting.

    Mike
    I remember in SE MI we all had friends with a backyard rink, until the winters got too warm and freezing wasn't guaranteed. The last year I lived there (early 80s) had one snowfall.
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  16. #16
    Cyburbian btrage's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by ColoGI View post
    I remember in SE MI we all had friends with a backyard rink, until the winters got too warm and freezing wasn't guaranteed. The last year I lived there (early 80s) had one snowfall.
    It's even worse now. They had to cancel an ice hockey tourney on Lake St. Clair last winter because it never stayed cold long enough.
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  17. #17
    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by btrage View post
    It's even worse now. They had to cancel an ice hockey tourney on Lake St. Clair last winter because it never stayed cold long enough.
    I worry that they will do that in parts of the UP as well.
    "A long habit of not thinking a thing wrong, gives it a superficial appearance of being right, and raises at first a formidable outcry in defense of custom. Time makes more converts than reason." - Thomas Paine Common Sense.

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