Toronto Mike

Games We Played in the Schoolyard


I attended primary school from 1978 until 1989.  That makes me somewhat of an authority on schoolyard games played during recess and lunch in West Toronto during the 1980s.

This entry isn't about the typical games kids play, like baseball or catch or tag, this is about two games we took very seriously at St. Pius X.  Both games required a wall and a tennis ball, and I haven't played either since I graduated to high school.

Butt's Up a.k.a. Redass

In hindsight, this was a nasty little game.  It wouldn't surprise me one bit to learn Butt's Up a.k.a. Redass has been banned from schoolyards.  Basically, you throw a tennis ball at the wall, and catch it. If you touch the ball and fail to catch it, you have to run to the wall before someone else picks up the ball and throws it at the wall. If you fail to make it to the wall before the ball does, you're forced to stand with your face against the wall while the other players take turns whipping the ball at your butt.  Now you know where the names come from.

We, being good Catholic kids who avoided swears in the names of our games, always called this game Butt's Up, but at some point a kid from another school transferred over and told us the game was actually called Redass.


Our handball was nothing like the lacrosse-like handball you see where a team attempts to score on a net.  Our handball was sort of like squash with our hands where we would hit the tennis ball so it bounced once on the ground and then hit the wall.  You could hit it on a bounce, or on the fly.  If the ball bounced twice before the next person returned it, something happened.  Here's where my memory gets a little fuzzy.  I can't remember if you got a point and the first person to six was out or if you got a letter and started spelling a word, soft of like Horse.

I do remember that we would call "no sidesies" and the better players developed an awesome topspin so it would hit the wall and die.  We would also peel the cover off the tennis ball to give it more bounce.

That's how we rolled in West Toronto in the 80s.  Does anyone else remember Butt's Up, Redass or Handball?

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