Objects I’ve Been Hit In the Head With: A Lot of Rocks

When you’re beaned in the head with a variety of things, you sometimes forget the lengthy list of objects that have made contact with your skull. During my 45 years on this planet, those objects include, but are not limited to: a baseball bat, a 110 camera, a really sweet platform boot, and (my personal favorite) a door off its hinges. When mentally rattling off the litany of objects I’ve been hit in the head with, I unlocked a childhood memory: The Rock Game.

How The Rock Game Came to Be

Growing up, there weren’t too many kids our age in the apartment complex where my brother and I spent our formative years. If either of us wanted someone to pal around with, we were the only game in town.

Our alliance was often a hesitant one. On the surface, you’d think our three-year age difference meant that we had some common ground. In reality, my extremely athletic little brother’s interests revolved primarily around sports and dance, but also included snitching on me in an attempt to score brownie points with Mom. On the flip side, I was more of a sedentary kid who was enthralled with books, TV, and music.

What we did share, however, was a vivid imagination and a love for glorious cartoon violence. It was this mutual interest and sheer summertime boredom that prompted the creation of The Rock Game.

Summer 1990: The Rock Game

My younger brother came up with The Rock Game. He was typically the one who dreamed up different games — usually, with an objective that spelled some sort of minor injury for me.

His latest creation was one part American Gladiators and one part Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery.”

In the lead-up to The Rock Game, we’d venture out into the apartment complex, each of us armed with a little plastic pail — the type you’d use for making sand castles. We’d fill our pails with as many rocks and pebbles as we could fit, culled from the various mulch piles and rockscaping around the complex.

large rocks by apartment

The scene of the crime: The rock formations & shallow hill where we played The Rock Game as kids.

Once we’d filled our buckets, we would head to the large rock formations situated at the edge of a shallow hill. Each rock was roughly two feet wide and four feet long. Our apartment complex was big on using large rocks — think: mini boulders — as a means of adding visual interest to areas in front of the buildings. Years before, we’d used them as makeshift space craft when playing live-action Star Wars. These stone behemoths stood in for X-Wings, TIE Fighters, and the Millennium Falcon.

The Rules of The Rock Game

The rules were simple: We would each claim one of the large rock formations as our designated stone platform, facing each other with the length of one stone slab between us. We would situate our buckets of stones and pebbles next to us on our platforms… Then PELT THE LIVING SHIT OUT OF EACH OTHER with rocks until the bucket was empty.

The only way to claim victory was to make your opponent lose their balance and fall off their rock, sending them rolling down the short hill into the well-appointed shrubberies below. The first person to step off or get knocked from their platform was the loser.

If you’d exhausted your bucket of rocks, you were screwed. If both participants had emptied their bucket, they could agree to call it a draw. If not, the combatants would have a few minutes to re-fill their bucket with rocks from around the battleground and the game would resume until someone won.

No targets were off limits. You could aim for the limbs, torso, or even the head. You could also attempt to dodge the flurry of rocks lobbed in your direction. However, given the short and narrow platform you had to stand on, you had to maintain your balance without falling off, thereby losing The Rock Game.

Rocks weren’t the only thing you could hurl at your opponent. Part of the fun of The Rock Game was hurling insults at your opponent. “You fat sack of shit!” “Go to hell, you failed blow job!” and “Go wash the shit out of your Underoos!” were some of our favorite taunts.

Yeah. I know. We were unhinged hell spawn and even notorious hardcore wrestler New Jack probably would have refused to babysit us.

Objects I’ve Been Hit In the Head With: Rocks. Lots of Them.

If you were a betting sort, you’d have probably put your money on me: the older, stockier sibling. I may have been 11-years-old, but at 5-feet tall at the time, I was roughly the size of a grown woman and strong for my age. An early growth spurt had fooled everyone into thinking I’d be quite tall by my teen years. However, Genetics, that cruel mistress, saw me top out at 5’1.”

Looking at me and my brother, it appeared to be a total David & Goliath situation. I towered over the scrawny 8-year-old. There was no way this 60-pound toothpick with a bowl cut stood a chance!

But appearances can be deceiving.

I may have had size and power, but I had a few disadvantages. I wore glasses so thick you could burn ants with them. To avoid breaking my glasses, I had to remove them when playing The Rock Game. Being nearsighted, I could still see the shape of my brother across from me, but details were a bit fuzzy.

My other disadvantage was a psychological one. I was holding back. I didn’t want to wail my little brother with a rock. Okay, I did want to hit him with a rock, but not hard enough to potentially maim the kid. He may have been a little shit, but he was still my brother.

My sibling, on the other hand, had both speed and a total lack of restraint on his side. It was this ruthless streak that made him a natural at The Rock Game.

Let the Games Begin!

The time had come. We took our positions, poised to strike.

My brother wound back like he was throwing out the first pitch of the World Series.

I readied my own rock and braced for the hit, prepared to throw my arm up like I was using an invisible gladiatorial shield.

We who are about to get clobbered in the head salute you.

The kid faked me out, hitting me right in the shin.

And it fucking hurt.

I launched my rock, landing a glancing blow against his shoulder, momentarily rattling him.

He regained his composure and threw another one, clipping me in the forearm. I could feel a bruise forming already.

I returned the favor by curving my rock, hitting him in side. He clutched his ribs, erupting in anger.

“You fucking bitch!”

In the immortal words of Yngwie Malmsteen, I’d unleashed the fucking fury.

Rocks came at me from every direction, hitting me harder and faster than life itself. My brother kept pelting me with pebbles, scoring hard hits to my shoulder, chest, and — when I attempted to duck and cover — right in the head. He had the speed and ferocity of a honey badger on booger sugar.

large rocks by small hill

Look! More rocks! I wasn’t kidding when I said the apartment complex where we grew up were REALLY big on really big rocks.

I attempted to crouch lower, instead feeling rocks thumping against my back.

Now I was pissed.

I grabbed the biggest rock I could feel in my pail, staggering to my feet and hurtling it towards him. I got him in the thigh, but mania had made him impervious to pain.

He double-fisted two sizeable rocks. One made contact with my shoulder and the second got me square in the side of the head. I lost my balance, toppling off my platform and finding solace in the cool blades of grass below as I slid down the hill.

Discarded rocks and pebbles of all shapes and sizes littered the battlefield. My brother stood victorious as The Regent of Rocks, The Prince of Pebbles, The Sultan of Stones.

He giggled and jumped in the air as I tasted the agony of defeat. I had a few Technicolor bruises emerging in vivid shades of green, yellow, and purple. Thankfully, no blood was drawn. But I’d taken a whooping.

“You okay, lard ass?” I could hear a trace of concern in his voice.

“Yeah,” I groaned from my spot on the grass. “Just give me a minute. Congrats on the win, asshole.”

He handed me my glasses and helped me to my feet.

It was sibling bonding at its finest.

The Rock Game: The Aftermath

You never forget the first time you take a hail of rocks to the cranium and other parts of the body. The lumps and bumps we found popping up on ourselves as the sun set were another reminder that lingered for days.

But that didn’t stop me and my brother from playing The Rock Game a few more times.

Although subsequent battles lacked the ferocity of our inaugural bout, we’d continued to play The Rock Game, attempting to refine the sport.

Who knows how long this would have gone on, had the apartment’s groundskeeper not seen us throwing rocks at each other. He didn’t really care that we were adolescent innovators of violence in the realm of imaginative hardcore backyard sports. Rather, he frog marched us back to our apartment, telling our mother that we were responsible for the array of pebbles lurking in the grass, making it his job more difficult and breaking the blades on his mower.

That put a stop to The Rock Game outright.

Well, that and Mom finally having an answer as to why my brother and I had amassed quite a collection of bruises after playing outside.

It was fun while it lasted. Or at least that’s what I tell myself, given the hits to the head I’ve taken through the years.

Decades later, I don’t think a Rock Game Revival is in the cards. Thankfully, my brother and I are a lot kinder to each other as adults and get along really well. But for one, brief, shining — and cartoonishly violent — moment, we made The Boys of Summer look like total candy asses as we created a new pastime, dodging rocks during the Dog Days.


  • Header photo:  Image by Petra from Pixabay
  • Photo of rocks by shallow hill: Author’s own
  • Photo of even more rocks: Author’s own
1 Comment
    April 30, 2024

    We had a walkway that was made of railroad ties on either side, and crushed purple stone filling the middle.

    And I had two brothers.

    You can be DAMN sure we had “rock fights” ALL the time. Thankfully they were small, though sharp.

    I think we had to ditch the game when we hit our parents car or something like that.

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