Beloved traditional games that we once couldn’t get our hands off (Part 1)

Saturday, the second day of a typical weekend. Chill, nothing too serious to committee to. Either an entire day of sticking one’s hand into his pants, giving himself a jolly, or rolling through channels and videos with a beer on the other hand. As for an average salary man, this is nothing more than a boring day where he desperately needed a plan to kill off that boredom that swirls around his head, to get him out of his mundane life.

His motivation was clear; excitement, kill time, spending time with actual human beings. He doesn’t want too much of a plan where he would be jumping off a plane without a parachute while trying to land on a bicycle seat, nor something involves in emptying his pocket for all the C2H6O he is getting to flood his brains out. But since he is working around the clock most of the week, he already said his goodbye to that fat stack of cash snugged inside his thigh pocket, with all that frustrations being piled up.

He decided to make a few calls to his friends he knew back in university, to ask them to hang out at that specific bar for no good reason other than, “it feels good”.

For those of you who lives in a larger city, like New York, Vancouver, Hong Kong, San Francisco, Los Angeles, London or even Shenzhen, this is more like a routine/habit than anything else. Even you are reluctant to be part of the loop, eventually you will succumb to the emptiness. Days after days, your soul burns down to ashes beyond resurrection. You came up with an illogical explanation to comfort yourself from all these messy games you play, “everything is just a game”.

But, when did “games” became so complicated and sophisticated?

If everything is just a game, isn’t there some other “games” that you would rather be playing. Not those that turns endless night into meaningless headboard banging, but some that actually brings people together, giving the chance to spend some quality time with those who are actually standing right next to you. Not trying to dip into the guessing game of “what does that stroke actually means”, or “was he checking me out”.

It is always easy to forget things that are important to us. We should always look back from time to time, and to treasure what was being taken for granted.

As the director and representative of the Beijing UNESCO, Marielza Oliveira put it beautifully.

is to connect the past with the future

There are more than hundreds of traditional games scattered around the globe, and they are all equally worth mentioning. I’d like to share the ones that I have came across on our journey, so that you will have something to do with your actual friends after enjoying this reading.


Frescobol made its first appearance on the beach of Copacabana with the architect Caio Rubens. It was first being played with rackets and ball of tennis at the side of the beach of Copacabana. However, the sand from the beach screws up the racket all the time, Caio Rubens suggested to improve the racket by building it with wood instead. (Joey would’ve been so proud with his Fireball game) They even remove the fur off the tennis ball like a Sphynx catto speed up the game pace. Since then, Frescobol has grown a lot and it even made its presences on the Flamingo beach.

There is more than one rule of Frescobol in Brazil. The rules are different inSao Paulo, in North East, or in Rio. Even though they are different, but they all share a great level of similarity. Think of it as the relationship between dialects and languages, but a little less politics and power plays. 
There are a number of attacks in a double’s game, because the more attacks the double make, the more points it worth. You don’t say, huh.

How to play

Frescobol game can be played in doubles or trios. The players that are in the same game as you are should not be your opponents but partners. The game is not about defeating each other but to coordinate between players with teamwork. It’s one of the sports that you play in favor of the players. When he/she (the partner) missed the shot, you have to be part of the solution by fixing it. You win the game by performing better than other teams of double.

In order to determine the winning condition of the game, teams (double) exhibit themselves in front of the judges while they perform as many moves as possible. Each team gets 5 mins to make their demonstration in front of 3 judges. 1 for each player and 1 extra judge for judging the whole team.

One rule to rule them all: Do not drop the ball.

Main moves

There are the forehand and the backhand strokes. The backhand strokes worth more points because it is more difficult than forehand strokes. There is also “the hammer” and “the hook”, They are the overhead strokes where they worth more points.

Equipment and settings

In championships, each team plays with a gigantic white banner at the back of the players so that the players do not have to squint like Koreans while looking for the ball to hit(Sorry, no offence). The size of the banner is usually 8 meters times 4 meters. Both players must be at least 8 meters apart from each other, with a line on the floor of the sand, marking the actual distance. Players do have the option to play further than 8 meters, but the further it gets, the lesser attack rallies any team would get. So, in order to have a well-speeded game, you need to perform with straight shots, not high balls.

Size and weight of equipment

Each player has their own preferences; it can be made of wood, fiberglass,carbon fiber, or even the tears and bones of your enemies. The weight of the racket also depends on the player’s personal preference and grip profile. Female players usually prefer a lighter racket, one weight between 300~320g, and 340~360g for male players. There are no rule that forbid otherwise.

What it takes to be a good player

Frescobol players are trained for strength, align with accuracy. Rallying requires high level of concentration, and also tranquility. Just, always stay in shape.

It is easier said than done, where the game requires constant and precise movements that allows players to return the ball to where it is desired. Well, I’m not going to lie, my aim is as good as an average storm troopers. (Probably that is the reason why there are more female players on the beach than otherwise. Ba dum tss.)


With a racket, a ball and a partner, you can play anywhere. You don’t have to be at the beach, court or in the center of the White House. All you need is an area with 10 meter of space and you are good to go.


Footvolley is one of the national sports from Brazil. There are a few theories that claim to be the real juice, but I believe we have found ourselves a trustworthy one.


Back in 1965, for some strange reasons, soccer were not allowed to be played around beach area. But since people in Brazil love soccer like Joey with Pizzas on Friday, the people in Brazil had to come up with a creative way of getting around with it.

At first they were using the field of volleyball as a replacement while adapting to the rule of volleyball. The net of volleyball court is 2.43 meters, which was the height of the net that were being used initially, but after the concept of Footvolley spread like wildfire, the net had adapted to a lower height to improve the pace of the game. It became 2.2 meters for men, and 2 meters for women instead of 2.43 meters.


The essential of Footvolley is the combination of soccer and volleyball, where players are only allowed to rally the ball with any parts of their body except their hands and arms. To be more specific, the most used parts are head, shoulders, breasts and feet.

There is a 3-touch rule where both sides of the players are only allowed to touch the ball no more than 3 times before they rally the ball back to their opposite team. However, tournaments applies their rules differently, where it is an exact-3-touch rule instead of no more than 3 times.

To win the game, the side who scores the first 18 points wins the game. The game deuces when both sides are with 17 points, and whichever team shall win the game by earning 2 points consecutively.

There are lots of different conditions that could create unfairness, such as sun glare and wind. To offset the effect, the two playing teams switch sides for every 6 counting points. This is the reason why Footvolley teams are constantly switching sides throughout the game.


Usually each team consists of 2, 3 or 4 people. Only difference between casual games and official games is that 2 is the magic number for both teams in official games. That’s the reason why I’d rather watch volleyball at the Olympic rather than Footvolley, the more the merrier. (You are a true gentleman if you know what I mean)

The game is simple to play, and easy to understand, which makes it a wonderful game to play while enjoying your stay at a beautiful beach. Throw in a few hot babes, a nice hammock between the shades of two coconut trees, a few boxes of Hoegaarden and a Yasmine Bleeth , you’ve got yourself a true heaven.


Many people have claimed to have invented Sand boarding. It sounds funny when people does it, because it’s like the time when you tried to tell other people the rainbow glare you’ve been getting from looking at the side of the window, and they gave you that ugly glare that pierces through your existence.

In spite of the harsh comment on other people’s claim, Sand boarding is an activity very much similar to snowboarding, or grass-boarding. It usually takes place on sand dunes rather than snow-covered mountains, mostly in desert areas or coastal areas with beach dunes.

Comparing to snowboarding or grass-boarding, sand boarding is normally available year-round as opposed to snowing seasons, or tall dunes covered with grasses. Not to mention it is easier to clean up with sands, comparing to grass dirt and snows. However, with where I consider my coming from (Manitoba, mid-Canada), I would rather have snow caught stuck in my arse, freezing up my butt cheeks, than having sand all over the places, grinding up against my skin like a polishing dish from Home Depot.


Laminex or Formica are the main components of the bottom part of the sand board, which is considered to be a much tougher build than snowboards, or a stack of paper boxes. Hardwood, fiberglass, and plastic composites are the major components of the body of the board.


This is more like a rule of thumb for those who are new to the sport: don’t break your neck, and don’t land on your head.

As a novice at snowboarding and sand-boarding, I did not have much chance to enjoy the excitement without worrying about having another concussion. Which means that I won’t be the one you should be taking any advice on such matters. Try to imagine Mr. Humpty Dumpty telling you how to sit on a wall, and you will get the picture.

Where are the rest?

The journey is still in progress, the second part of the thrilling yet sarcastic story will be continued. (As I’m burning in hell for being funny, the possibility of having a second part leaves a serious question mark.)

Stay tuned. (Sorry if I sounded like a corny 7:30 program.)

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