Or... you can read about the game here. An excerpt from The Last of the South Town Rinky Dinks.
Back to the game playing.
As a general rule, the softball games at Woodland Street School were always over by nine or ten o'clock at night, and once we got home from the ball field we'd all gather round the street light in front of my house to play kick the can.
The streetlight was a dim, yellow bulb on a tall pole in the front corner of our yard, and was the center of all our night time games. The harsh glow was a beacon that drew us together and it's hard to tell if its attraction was greater for the dozen or so kids that always skittered about on the ground, or the million or so hovering, darting bugs that were drawn to the light to feed.
For the bugs, it was a nightly ritual of kill or be killed, eat or be eaten, survive or perish. For the Rinky Dinks, kick the can was much the same. We might not have actually been quite that competitive, but most of the time we were in that same category.
Kick the can wasn't a hard game to play, there were only a few rules, and it just might have been the favorite nighttime game of the Rinky Dinks. We played almost every night, and for some reason, we never seemed to tire of the game.
We'd set a can down in the middle of the street, under the light where everyone could see it, and then one of us would be chosen to be "IT". Everyone who was playing, except "IT" of course, would get to hide. Whoever "IT" was had to hide their eyes and count to a hundred, usually by fives ... something like this.
Five, ten, fifteen, twenty... eighty-five, ninety, ninety-five, a hundred... here I come...
"IT" would then try to find where everyone was hiding, without straying too far from the can of course. "IT" would spot a hiding kid, run to the can, which was home base, put his foot on the can, and holler...
I see Jerry, hiding in the grass by the fence. You're out.
Jerry would have to come and stand by the pole, or sit in the dirt, or lay in the grass, or something like that, while "IT" tried to catch the rest of the kids.
Kick the can would have been a pretty simple game, if that's all there was too it, but of course, like all of the really great games, there's more.
There's the can kicking part.
All of the kids would be trying to run up and kick the can, which would let everyone hide again while "IT" ran and got the can and set it back in the street, and started over.
It can be pretty frustrating to catch eight out of the ten kids that were playing, and have the ninth kick the can thirty feet away.
Five, ten, fifteen, twenty... over and over, till everyone was caught, or we had to go inside for the night.