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  • John M Donovan

How to Play Piano Ball

Piano Ball is a game I like to play sometimes while I'm waiting for the chickens and ducks to retire to their shed for the night. It's easy to learn and the rules couldn't be simpler, so here's how to make your own Piano Ball court and start playing.



Step 1

Remove the lid, legs, and pedal apparatus from a baby grand piano and place what's left in your yard. Don't use a good one, obviously. Use one that's been refurbished by someone who's allegedly an expert in refurbishing pianos yet still manages to overlook the fact that this particular refurbished piano can't be tuned.


That's just one part of a long and funny-ish story about why we happen to have the remains of a baby grand piano in our yard. Another part explains why I haven't had a normal-looking left big toe for, oddly enough, the same number of days that the remains of a baby grand piano have been in our yard.




Step 2

Since the object of Piano Ball is to bounce a golf ball into the piano, give each player five balls of the same brand--five Titleists, five Top-Flites, etc. By no means should you go out and buy new golf balls for the sake of this game. Score some used ones on Facebook Marketplace or get some scuba gear and a long-handled spoon and see what's available in the water hazards of your local public golf course.


Step 3

Make sure the closest side of the piano is 27 feet from the edge of your driveway. Actually this should probably be Step One, because pianos are notoriously difficult to move. They're quite heavy, as my left big toe can attest.



Step 4

Make sure your driveway is made of asphalt or concrete, as a gravel driveway will produce some odd bounces. Actually this should probably be Step One, so there'll be enough time for the new asphalt or concrete to harden.


Step 5

Decide if your game will end after a set number of rounds or after a predetermined score is reached. Playing a set number of rounds results in a faster game.


Step 6

Now you're ready to play Piano Ball! Players take turns bouncing one golf ball off the driveway in an attempt to get it to land in the remains of the piano. Points are awarded based on the photo below.


Just like in cornhole, rings, and other backyard games, only the player who scores the most points in a turn gets to keep those points and bounce first in the next round. Let's say Player 1 gets two 20s and one 10 and Player 2 gets three 20s and two 10s. Two of those 20s and one of the tens cancel each other out, so Player 2 scores 30 points and gets to bounce first. But, full disclosure here: This will probably never happen because folks, it is damn near impossible to land a golf ball in the remains of a piano without it bouncing out. Seriously. I've made it maybe once in a hundred tries.


Step 7

Find a less frustrating and more fun game to play. Actually this should probably be Step One.





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