At Collings Guitars Inc., break time means a game of four square



Employees of Collings Guitars Inc. take a break every work day to play four square. Photo by Kelly West/Austin American-Statesman

Employees of Collings Guitars Inc. take a break every work day to play four square. Photo by Kelly West/Austin American-Statesman

At exactly 3:15 p.m. every day, work grinds to a halt inside a high-end guitar shop between Oak Hill and Dripping Springs.

Artisans spill out of the offices of Collings Guitars Inc., where they meticulously hand-craft instruments used by some of the world’s top musicians. They grab a rubber ball and take position on a four-square court painted on the asphalt parking lot. And for the next 15 minutes, they sling balls and holler during a raucous game of four-square.

“It gets pretty intense,” says Steve McCreary, general manager of the company.

Nobody’s really sure exactly how long four square has been a thing here, or who started it. McCreary does know that they used to play basketball, but this became a lot more fun.

About 20 players show up most days, rotating in and out of the game. Photo by Kelly West/Austin American-Statesman

About 20 players show up most days, rotating in and out of the game. Photo by Kelly West/Austin American-Statesman

On a typical day, about 20 players show up – a quarter of the company’s workforce. The rules are simple: One bounce per square. Hit the ball out of bounds or hold it and you’re out and someone else rotates in. The games get rowdy.

“It’s awesome,” McCreary says. “The nature of what we do – very high-end woodworking production – is tedius, and to get out there and yell and laugh, it’s a little bit of a release. ”

Collings makes acoustic and electric guitars, mandolins and ukeleles. Lyle Lovett’s been playing one for years; Robert Earl Keene, Rodney Crowell, Charlie Sexton, the Police and the Eagles also play them.

So far, no playground fights have broken out, although the competition gets heated.

“It’s big fun. It’s kind of a nice release, a break from the business and manufacturing world and stuff we do all day,” McCreary says.

Reader Comments 0

0 comments