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Spalding Memories and the Games We Used to Play

Nicholas Balesterri’s Childhood Games Inspire a Book and (maybe) a Reality Show     

 nicky-bal-stick-ball-21By Sally Deering

In the 1960s, Nicholas Balesterri and his pals – all Baby Boomers – grew up around 7th and Brunswick Street in Jersey City and played all sorts of games on one of the greatest game boards in town – the four corners of their neighborhood.  This was back in the day before Nintendo, IBox and other electronic games that are giving our kids “couch potato syndrome.”

Balesterri remembers those street games and the fun he had with his pals when all they had to amuse themselves was a Spalding, a high-bouncing, pink rubber ball they picked up at the corner store for 19 cents.  Balesterri and his pals would use that Spalding for all sorts of inventive challenges: nicky-bal-stick-ballStick Ball, Box Ball, Stick Ball against the Wall, OUT, Point on the Ledge – games they played with sticks, cans and their own ingenuity.

 These games and others like them are the theme for the book Balesterri and his sister Amelia Fano are working on, “”The Games We Used to Play, Sticks, Balls and Cans,” that explains how the games are played and features anecdotes of Balesterri’s memories “growing up on the corner.” 


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