By Nyesha Stone
It’s a sunny summer day in Milwaukee and the kids on the block have empty soda cans and a basketball. Now one might question: “what do those items have in common?”
Well these are utensils used to play the game of “Cans.”
Cans is a two-player game that’s usually played on the sidewalk. Each member sets their can on the lines that separate the sidewalk concrete panels from one another. The two players stand face to face, but at a distance. One at a time, each player takes a turn throwing the ball across from them to hopefully hit the can with the basketball. The further the player is away from the can, the more points they earn. Each line away from the can is consider 10 higher than the one before – the starting line is 10.
If you’re from the north side of Milwaukee then you have more than likely played, or heard of the game cans. You also know it can only be played outside during dry weather. Entrepreneur Dante Banks grew up playing cans. During his teaching days at MPS, he came up with the idea of bringing the game inside.
He noticed his students loved playing the game, but they didn’t have sidewalks. So instead, chalk lines were drawn on the playground and whenever it rained the game would wash away. Banks wanted a way to make it last, so he created 7 Reign (Game of Cans). “It’s a jewel in the community,” said Banks. “This is something that was important that I grew up on and other people…we didn’t think it would make it out the hood.”
It’s the same rules of the original game of cans, but instead of a sidewalk it’s on a mat. By the game being on a mat, it’s able to be played in more locations. Banks made the first mat around 2005, and by 2014 he moved himself and his business to Texas. His father was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, so Banks packed up his life in Milwaukee and moved down south to take care of his father. With all of the festivals and events going on in Texas, 7 Reign (Game of Cans) had more chances to be seen, which lead to Banks having a better business than in Milwaukee. He immediately told his partner in Milwaukee that the business had to be moved to Texas.
He said he was happy with the progress of his business, but not satisfied. “I just want to perfect the product,” said Banks.
Banks has a few different sets of game mats, ranging from $100-$300, but he’s negotiable on the price.
This year, Banks is dedicated to producing the best quality product he can.
“I have high expectations for the game of cans,” said Banks.
More about the product and how to order it can be found at www.gameofcans.com.